Summary: First published in 1977, this book—from one of America’s most famous and prolific agricultural writers—became an almost instant classic among homestead gardeners and small farmers. Now fully updated and available once more, Small-Scale Grain Raising offers a entirely new generation of readers the best introduction to a wide range of both common and lesser-known specialty grains and related field crops, from corn, wheat, and rye to buckwheat, millet, rice, spelt, flax, and even beans and sunflowers.
More and more Americans are seeking out locally grown foods, yet one of the real stumbling blocks to their efforts has been finding local sources for grains, which are grown mainly on large, distant corporate farms. At the same time, commodity prices for grains—and the products made from them—have skyrocketed due to rising energy costs and increased demand. In this book, Gene Logsdon proves that anyone who has access to a large garden or small farm can (and should) think outside the agribusiness box and learn to grow healthy whole grains or beans—the base of our culinary food pyramid—alongside their fruits and vegetables.
Starting from the simple but revolutionary concept of the garden “pancake patch,” Logsdon opens up our eyes to a whole world of plants that we wrongly assume only the agricultural “big boys” can grow. He succinctly covers all the basics, from planting and dealing with pests, weeds, and diseases to harvesting, processing, storing, and using whole grains. There are even a few recipes sprinkled throughout, along with more than a little wit and wisdom.
Never has there been a better time, or a more receptive audience, for this book. Localvores, serious home gardeners, CSA farmers, and whole-foods advocates—in fact, all people who value fresh, high-quality foods—will find a field full of information and ideas in this once and future classic.
I originally read this book almost a decade ago through a digital library. It was around the time that I had just started getting into the idea of sustainable living with a more clear focus. The copy I read was the first edition (whereas it is now in its second edition), but almost all of the information was interesting and useful.
As I recall, what had inspired me to pick the book up had been my reading of Root Cellaring, where they listed the amount of grain one needed in a given year. It seemed like a waste to do all sorts of things on my own land and not at least try to grow some grain as well, but I didn't have any interest in massive fields. At the time, I couldn't find any books on the matter of small scale grain growing, so finding this had me jumping for joy.
The author goes into details about the different sorts of grain and the techniques for growing them. I love that the guide felt down-to-earth despite being written about organic growing in a time where so many other books had a 'far out' tone to them. It is a good book to have, but mostly if you are interested in growing grain for yourself. I don't know that it will do much for those who aren't interested in harvesting their own grain or who don't really have the space to spare on a small patch of grain. That said, it might still be a pretty good read all the same.
David Miller wrote:Can anyone provide feedback on the books content on processing. Currently I'm dissuaded from diving further into grain until I can find a processor to de-hull/husk that is fit for my small scale.
I'll get it out from the library again and write a review. I've used this book several times, and it goes especially well with the book Homegrown whole grains by Sara Pitzer. These two books complement each other and fill in what the other misses.
There was a bit about de-hulling in both books, but how good it was, I can't remember. Another resource that might help you is Island Grains.