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The Weekend Homesteader

The Weekend Homesteader is organized by month-so whether it's January or June you'll find exciting, short projects that you can use to dip your toes into the vast ocean of homesteading without getting overwhelmed. If you need to fit homesteading into a few hours each weekend and would like to have fun while doing it, these projects will be right up your alley, whether you live on a forty-acre farm, a postage-stamp lawn in suburbia, or a high rise. You'll learn about backyard chicken care, how to choose the best mushroom and berry species, and why and how to plant a no-till garden that heals the soil while providing nutritious food. Permaculture techniques will turn your homestead into a vibrant ecosystem and attract native pollinators while converting our society's waste into high-quality compost and mulch. Meanwhile, enjoy the fruits of your labor right away as you learn the basics of cooking and eating seasonally, then preserve homegrown produce for later by drying, canning, freezing, or simply filling your kitchen cabinets with storage vegetables. As you become more self-sufficient, you'll save seeds, prepare for power outages, and tear yourself away from a full-time job, while building a supportive and like-minded community. You won't be completely eliminating your reliance on the grocery store, but you will be plucking low-hanging (and delicious!) fruits out of your own garden by the time all forty-eight projects are complete.
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A woman, her husband, cats, chickens, rabbits and honeybees taking a stab at urban farming one weekend at a time-now you can join her!

About the Author

Anna Hess dreamed about moving back to the land ever since her parents dragged her off their family farm at the age of eight. She worked as a field biologist and nonprofit organizer before acquiring fifty-eight acres and a husband, then quit her job to homestead full time. She admits that real farm life involves a lot more hard work than her childhood memories entailed, but the reality is much more fulfilling and she loves pigging out on sun-warmed strawberries and experimenting with no-till gardening, mushroom propagation, and chicken pasturing. Visit her at


As food self-sufficiency awareness grows, books appear to support such efforts. Hess is unique in her recognition of the practicality of weekend-only attention to these pursuits. A 12-month structure helps a variety of readers, from multiacre farm dwellers to suburbanites and high-rise residents, start with short projects. Springtime planning includes acreage, backyard and urban container plantings, rooftop and community gardens via mapping, record-keeping, and planting tips (okra, squash). Hess segues to summer and fall plantings (leaf lettuce, turnips, carrots), advising on seed and food preservation and season-extension using hoop-supported protection. Colder weather means planning crop rotation, soil testing, and planting fruit trees and berries, and March allows the planting of cold-tolerant veggies (beets, onions). Hess provides a list of goals, costs, times, levels of difficulty, and kid-friendliness for each project, and illustrations, photos, charts, and diagrams throughout. --Booklist

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