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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2003
The book is aimed at established smallholders and those just starting out. For the estabalished smallholder you would bo hard pushed to find any new information. for those just starting out this book will provide good information on finding a smallholding . It gives good advice on the things you might overlook such as the buildings, boundaries, water and electric supply. While good on these subjects, the rest of the book aimed at growing crops and raising livestock, looks like it has taken the useful information from specialized books and thrown it away,and used the rest to fill up the empty pagesof this book.
If just starting or an experienced smallholder an essential book to own would be The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour. This book is the real "Smallholders Manual". The book has high levels of information on growing, livestock, feeding (you and livestock) and storing. and for those with a smallholding I would recommend The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This book will tell you what to do with your produce.
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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.
RK
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on 16 March 2006
This is a much more practical and detailed book than anything else currently available on the subject. It's up to date and based on real experience which is more than one can say for some of the trendy television-linked books. If you're a smallholder, intending or existing, this is the book you need.
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on 17 July 2009
Not bad. I was expecting a bit more practical detail though.

This is really targeted at people with no knowledge and are starting from scratch.

As someone who has already started along the smallholder's path I guess I was looking for a bit more depth on the smallholder's year... a calendar of activities on a month by month basis. A 'how to' section would be useful as well - perhaps some plans for a chicken ark, how to build a fence / stone wall, the practicalities of hay making pasture maintenance, how to generate income from your produce.

This is not a criticism, it is excellent for an overview of different animals and the basics of rotation and land manegement and well suited to the 'City Dreamer'.
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on 11 January 2010
I read the other reviews before buying this book and agree with a lot of what they, it's not a manual and you will need to buy more specialized books, thats not the problem. This is a North American book and while it does have merits, none of the information on legislation and suppliers is of any use the anyone in the UK; so look elsewhere if thats what you need.
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This is a fabulous book for someone starting off. It gives plans of how to lay a small holding or even a large garden out. It is clear, easy to understand and does everything the title says. For the more experienced smallholder, I would suggest something a bit more in depth.
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on 30 April 2014
this book arrived a week after id bought it .it covers everything although maybe it goes through each subject to fast.it was a really nice book to help you get ideas on what a smallholding might do for you
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on 17 July 2010
I own several smallholding type books and this is the one I found the best. It covers many topics in reasonable detail, although I did need to buy further books on specific topics once this had whetted my appetite.
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on 27 January 2013
Good book, discriptive and interesting. Good to have on a smallholders bookshelf but not as good as John Seymours Book of Self-Sufficiency.
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on 16 November 2011
I can't say an awful lot about this book, but what I can say is that the delivery was excellent and arrived in pristine condition. It was a present for a friend and I can tell you what she thought. She was absoutely delighted and said that it covered everything she did need in one concise book and that it was exactly what she actually wanted.
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