Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Small-Scale Grain Raising



Gene Logsdon is one of the most prolific alternative agriculture writers today.  This book is a second edition of the original first published in 1977.  The content is probably more relevant today considering the larger number of people desiring, and actually attempting, to raise their own food and the increased ease of obtaining high quality grain seeds through the internet.

This book covers most aspects of raising and using many grains: barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, spelt, sorghum, triticale, wheat, as well as non-grains as soybeans and field beans.

I think this book blurs the line between real home-scale grain raising and farming.  It is inspiring to read.  I am strongly considering (in the future) a patch of barley for bread and beer.  Wheat, as well as some of the older uncommon grains, may be a hearty food source that requires less work than I originally imagined.

Logsdon does rely on tilling more that I feel comfortable due to my Permaculture indoctrination, but I think there are two options for this: first, small patches of tilled land that are frequently rotated and managed intensively could still easily be incorporated into a larger Permaculture system; and second, I wonder what no-till options are available, and how successful they would be, for grain growing.  This also brings to mind the research being done on perennial wheat, which Logsdon does mention in his book as well.  While still in the research phase, it is an amazing concept that would mesh beautifully in Permaculture design.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  Logsdon is, as always, an entertaining, motivational, and educational writer.  If you have the chance and the topic interests you, I would highly recommend this book.

3 comments:

  1. I've been interested in home scale grain growing too, and I definately want to avoid the need for a tiller. I do wonder if it would be efficient enough to make some 'mega' beds 100 feet long by 5 feet wide. It would need to be sown by hand and then probably raked in, but it would be nice to cut the machinery out.

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  2. This is exactly what the book talks about. While there is a lot of mention of tiller use, I think much of the work could be done without it at the size levels he (and you) are talking about.

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  3. YOU NEED TO READ " THE ONE STRAW REVOLUTION" BY MASANOBU FUKUOKA. HE GOES INTO DETAIL HOW TO RAISE GRAINS WITH NO TILL PRINCIBLES. GREAT SHORT READ WITH LOTS OF PERMACULTURE CONCEPTS BEFORE PERMACULTURE WAS AROUND. BILL MOLLISON REFERENCES THE AUTHOR SEVERAL TIMES IN " INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE"

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