I picked Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre up a year or two ago, and it’s been a useful companion as we figure out this gardening thing. While I suspect we’re never actually going to achieve self sufficiency on a quarter acre, because life is too short, it’s nonetheless handy for people wanting to learn organic growing methods and soil amendment.
There is one problem though. Markham’s writing is dry. Really dry. Dry like California in fire season. I mean, the man even manages to make compost seem boring, somehow. Compost is a fascinating and complex ecosystem, and yet I found myself trying to doze off during his explanations.
But if you can get past the dry writing style and forgive yourself for not achieving food and financial independence in your back yard, Markham provides a wealth of information useful to gardeners of all skill levels and with all sizes of garden. To take advantage of some of his methods, such as preparing a bed through double-digging, you will need a fair amount of physical strength and endurance. He does not, however, require any exotic tools, just your basics and a willingness to get your hands dirty.