Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Urban Homestead: A Book Review

Spring has sprung, the spring grass is sprouting, and the Purple Martins flew in last week. That means a woman’s fancies now turn to digging up the yard so she can plant a garden. But if you don’t have a yard, no problem. There’s a book available that tells you all about “self-sufficient living in the heart of the city,” namely, The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.

I loved this book. The minute I glanced through it, I received about six different ideas for planting up our yard with good things to eat. There are dozens of ideas in here, some of which I have yet to get to. If you’re into sustainable living, or becoming a tad more self-sufficient in light of the coming collapse of the dollar and all the attendant troubles, this book will instruct you in many of the basic techniques of food production in your own yard.

The major idea I gained from the book was the concept of raised beds. You buy treated 2 x 6’s, or 2 x 8’s, nail them together to form a rectangular box, and fill it with topsoil. You don’t even have to dig up the ground beneath it, which is a huge plus! I got so excited, I rushed out and bought lumber and hundreds of pounds of topsoil, so much topsoil that the tires of my pickup truck were flattened considerably. I built a grand total of 6 raised beds, all in my front yard, because our backyard is too shady and none of the trees shading it belong to us. I filled those beds to the brim with soil, to the detriment of my back and knees, and grew bumper crops in those beds for the past two years. That idea worked!

This book covers a lot more than growing crops where you never thought you could grow them before. They cover alternative sources of power and transportation as well, not to mention alternate sources of water. If you are worried about possible shortages and chaos when the government and the Fed finally destroy the dollar, you can learn a lot about homegrown survival techniques, besides how to compost and other organic gardening techniques.

The Urban Homestead is a great book to have on your shelves, especially if you enjoy saving money by not having to buy your fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.

1 comment:

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I garden, except I do flowers. We don't have much of a yard to work with since I live in a townhouse community. I can't really dig up my front yard, though. The homeowners association would have a cow! But I think I could dig up the back for veggies if I wanted to, especially if I had a fence built around my back yard.