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Essential reading for the wannabe Smallholder
on 15 December 2005
This is an essential book for those of you thinking of running a smallholding or looking to exploit a large garden for home grown produce.
It is chock full of useful practical data; there is no fluff or non essential padding. This may make it seem like pretty dry reading. Not a bit of it. The style is engaging and easy to read. I read it in chunks on my daily commmute, and it lends itself well to this approach.
The book falls down on the index which is much too brief and is not all that useful. The glossary could do with expanding as well, since there were some words that get an explanation in the body of the text, but when you see it, for example in a seed catalogue, you can't remember what it means (e.g. F1 type)
The title is also slightly misleading. The book would have to be about five times the size for it to be truly a manual, since although pretty much every subject is covered, the coverage is not as deep as I would have liked.
This is not a problem really, since after reading this book you will probably want to break out into more specialist books that cover specific subjects in more detail anyway. It thus gives you a good grounding in the basics of running a smallholding, and an idea of where to go next.
This was the second book I read on the subject, the first being "Starting with a Smallholding" by David Hills, which is a slim volume, giving an overview of the subject. Katie Thear takes this to the next level and was a thoroughly worthwhile buy.