Read The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I kept the patio, lost the lawn, and fed my family for a year by Spring Warren Jesse Pruet Online


When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy.She did it anyway.The Quarter-Acre Farm is Warren’s account of deciding—despite all resistance—to take control of her family’s food choices, get her hands dirty, and creWhen Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy.She did it anyway.The Quarter-Acre Farm is Warren’s account of deciding—despite all resistance—to take control of her family’s food choices, get her hands dirty, and create a garden in her suburban yard. It’s a story of bugs, worms, rot, and failure; of learning, replanting, harvesting, and eating. The road is long and riddled with mistakes, but by the end of her yearlong experiment, Warren’s sons and husband have become her biggest fans—in fact, they’re even eager to help harvest (and eat) the beautiful bounty she brings in.Full of tips and recipes to help anyone interested in growing and preparing at least a small part of their diet at home, The Quarter-Acre Farm is a warm, witty tale about family, food, and the incredible gratification that accompanies self-sufficiency....

Title : The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I kept the patio, lost the lawn, and fed my family for a year
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781580053402
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 335 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I kept the patio, lost the lawn, and fed my family for a year Reviews

  • Helen
    2019-03-09 09:56

    For me, the novelty of year-long project books wore off long before A.J. Jacobs dulled my enthusiasm with The Year of Living Biblically and Gretchen Rubin killed my tolerance completely with The Happiness Project. Happily, I didn’t notice from the sub-title that The Quarter-acre Farm is one of these very projects.In 2008, amidst mad-cow disease, sky-rocketing fuel costs, salmonella outbreaks and news reports of genetically altered food and pesticide risks, Spring Warren announced to her family that she would transform their suburban lawn into a garden from which they would eat. And thus, a hobby grew into a passionate gardening habit.The appeal of The Quarter-acre Farm, over a traditional cookbook or gardening book, is that the lessons are enveloped in story. I had made two of the included recipes before I had finished reading the book, and have since realized that I’ve never before made two recipes out of the same cookbook. It’s true, unlike Warren, I had to purchase the majority of tomatoes for my vegetable sauce, but the recipe took care of an over-abundance of squash I had on hand. And the simplicity of Walnut French Toast meant I had everything on hand to make a luxurious Sunday morning breakfast without a special trip to the store. And while I won’t ever eat the snails I find under the rotting log pile, but I don’t judge Warren and her family for having done so.The convergence of circumstances that inspired action alone, makes for thoughtful reading. Then watching someone approach a project that many discuss, but few act upon is inspiring. Warren has led by example, for I am now wondering what my small patio might look like with an apple tree instead of the redbud; grapes instead of honeysuckle; blueberries in place of azaleas.

  • Catherine
    2019-02-22 05:31

    I thought this would be more of a chronological narrative, but I liked it even more for not being what I expected. Instead Warren approached her year of growing most of her own food thematically, i.e. zucchini, tomatoes, eggs, etc. with a recipe at the end of each section. In addition to many laughs, Warren shares a lot of practical advice for producing food in your own yard, without a lot of expense or labor: mulching away weeds, connecting with local gardeners to get their cast-offs, etc. She manages to be both conversational and informative at the same time. I borrowed a copy from the library, but plan to purchase my own. Like Lauren Scheuer (author of Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens), I would love to have Spring Warren as a neighbor or friend. Well, maybe not a neighbor, considering her geese are much louder than Scheuer's "soulful" chickens. Both refuse to take themselves too seriously, unlike the younger DIYers that have been driving me crazy as of late.

  • Molly
    2019-03-18 08:47

    If you found Animal Vegetable Miracle unapproachable and preachy but liked some aspects of the book, (which I didn't but have received this feedback from people I've recommended it to), you'll probably like this book. Warren writes honestly and humorously while sharing about her year trying to grow 75% of her food for a year in her yard. My family read several chapters of this book out loud to each other on a whim during Christmas festivities this year, and I'm so glad we did. We shared many laughs and learned along the way. I have yet to try the recipes, but I'm eager to try many of them.

  • Rachel Terry
    2019-03-05 12:43

    I picked this up from the library for two reasons: I loved the cover art (shallow, I know) and I was looking for some practical gardening tips. So I was surprised when I found myself laughing out loud and reading passages to my family at dinnertime. You want to be Spring Warren's next door neighbor because she's funny and intelligent and self-effacing, and you know she would bring you zucchini when she had a bumper crop. Now I just need to find a book like this written by somebody who lives in Nebraska. Gardening in Davis, CA, seems a little like cheating.

  • Sharla Desy
    2019-03-21 10:27

    This book reminded me often of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle... the same desire to eat produce free of traces of chemicals, the same concern about the amount of petroleum based products required to get a crop from the field to the grocery store, the same descriptions of and recipes for seasonal dishes. The difference was that this one was so light-hearted and entertaining that I actually read the whole thing. The premise in Quarter-Acre Farm is that a woman living in suburbia decides to grow the majority of the food she eats for a year. It's interesting to read about the evolution of her family from tolerant spectators to grudging helpers to collaborators sharing her success. She has such a great sense of humor as she describes her challenges and how she overcomes them. Too many snails? Do enough research to determine that the pests in her garden are genetically identical to the ones sold as escargot and throw a dinner party. I love how she describes wine as an essential lubricant, rendering her guests willing to eat the snails. She talks about making tomato sauce using a Vitamix blender that she describes as "jet-engine loud." She tries to guilt her neighbors into helping her weed by mentioning that it's her birthday. Granted, this is not fine literature. It is very entertaining, pleasant reading.

  • Liz
    2019-02-23 08:32

    Of the books I have recently read about urban/small scale farming, Quarter Acre Farm has been my favorite. The author, Spring Warren, presents her experience in a way that is very relatable to those of us who are more "urban" and less "farmer". It has the conversational tone of Farm City, the delicious recipes of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, as well as lots of practical advice for starting your own mini-farm. Spring has inspired me to begin the hopefully not impossible quest of turning my black thumb into a green one.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-07 07:41

    Really enjoyed this book!! Funny and informative, the author explained what worked, what didn't and if she knew - why. She included lots of recipes (many looked very basic but delicious) and she was quite candid in how her family felt as she marched along in her adventure. I enjoyed the book so much I've decided to add it to my personal library!!

  • Julie
    2019-03-22 11:36

    This was a really interesting memoir. I decided to read this book after attending a discussion where the author came to speak at one of the Sacramento area libraries. The author lives in Davis (which is only about 20 minutes from where I live) and I thought it would be interesting to read about what someone close to me was able to do to successfully grow most of her own food. I am trying to grow more of my own food and was looking for information on how to accomplish this. There were some informative parts of the book. It wasn't really a how to like I was looking for though. I was more like reading a person's journal about their experiences over the course of a year. Reading this book was like sitting down with someone and talking over a cup of coffee. It was enjoyable, but at times felt long winded since I was trying to glean useable information out of all her story telling. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that I never felt talked down to or that growing my food was something I need a PhD to do. Great read if you are looking for a memoir. Not the book for you if you want more of a how to manual.

  • Karen
    2019-03-19 05:35

    I gave this book three stars because I actually did learn a few things. In general, I think the audience would be city dwellers, not Eastern Oregonians (or any place in which growing a garden is no big whoop!) I agree with the concept of trying to grow as much of your own food as possible, but I don't think that it's some 'crazy idea' - which is how the author cast it. Maybe it was crazy where she lives, but for my area, it's the norm. Physically, I would give the book NO stars. It's shaped like a cook book, not a novel, and it is really awkward to hold. It annoyed me throughout the reading process. I wonder what made her go with a big book?

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-08 11:40

    This book works best if read as an "year in the life" type memoir with a focus on gardening. It has a few interesting and instructional tidbits but is primarily a pretty entertaining description the author's quest to grow 75% of her food for a year. At one point she collects the snails from her yard and cooks up some escargot. It's a fun read and has some pretty good recipes interspersed.

  • Dan
    2019-03-02 10:43

    If you are interested in gardening and need a bit of motivation, this is the book for you!

  • Beckiezra
    2019-02-22 05:39

    This was a very enjoyable read that made me wish it was gardening season here rather than snow season. Also living in California would probably help because I just don't feel like Pittsburgh has the same garden growing options. I'm jealous of her year-round gardening and all the fruit trees she already had growing. The writer had a very approachable style, even though she was doing this "crazy" project she made herself seem like a normal person with junk food desires and bad gardening skills. She made everything seem very doable; she didn't hide the problems, but also showed how she overcame or accepted them. They put a ton more work into their garden than I am willing to, but she wrote in a way that made it all seem possible for the reader.The recipes at the ends of chapters were nice to see, but generally not ground-breaking new ideas or things I'm actually likely to try even if I enjoyed reading about them. Sometimes I wished she'd decided to give a recipe about something else she talked about in the chapter. I also found myself wanting more information about things while she seemed to be becoming more vague as the book went on. The tangents on non-gardening topics started to take away from my enjoyment. Did I need to know the history of the freezer or canning? I could've enjoyed some information on growing greens more. I'm unlikely to ever try to eat 75% of my food from my own garden, but it's a nice thought and makes me want to make a better garden. This year I let most of the things I picked from my garden just rot on my front porch rather than cooking it or eating it raw. Even more of it was never picked at all. I still have beets and carrots, and possibly radishes, in the ground, I never picked any lima beans or peppers, and none of my brussels sprouts or cauliflower actually made something edible. Her garden planning and journaling ideas at the end of the book might be helpful, unfortunately I'm likely to have forgotten all about them by our frost date in May. What I really need is a plan for actually cooking or storing the things I grow rather than letting them go bad on the vine or porch.PS This was my first ebook. It was a good experience and I think I'll try reading more things on my phone like this.

  • Rachel Kramer Bussel
    2019-03-20 07:30

    I picked this memoir up on a whim, even though, as a very city-loving New Yorker, I have no intention of growing my own food. I was surprised and delighted by Warren's humorous voice, the way she walks readers through her adventures (and misadventures) in gardening, and the random, fascinating asides (such as the one about Santa's reindeer and psychotropic mushrooms). Her voice is engaging and she'll throw at you something that will certainly make you want to run out and eat your veggies, even if you haven't quite gotten around to growing them yourself. This is part cookbook, part primer on gardening, and part family memoir about why she decided to start the Quarter-Acre Farm and the lessons about gardening, nutrition, pesticides and more that she learned.This is not a manifesto about why self-gardening is best and it doesn't wrap up uber-neatly, the way a lot of "I tried this for a year" memoirs do. Warren offers up practical tips and lessons on which vegetables thrived, which didn't, and why, and what she did with both the food and how she composted and tried various ways to increase her yield. The chapter where a "real" farmer comes and inspects her farm is especially interesting. I recommend this even if, like me, you have pretty much no thumb at all when it comes to gardening. Of course, if you do have an inclination toward growing even a small amount of your own food, you'll appreciate Warren's tips and especially her voice, but you don't have to have ever though about gardening or farming before to get a lot out of this book. The sheer respect Warren shows for the animals in her yard (geese!) and the plants and land she is using made me take a look at how easily I consume and dispose often prepackaged foods. Though, again, this is not a manifesto and Warren isn't condemning how others eat, her critical look at the true impact of our modern consumption should certainly prompt more than a little introspection when it comes time to grocery shop or choose what to eat next.

  • Janie
    2019-03-01 10:33

    This was refreshing. I am getting rid of my lawn, too, and keeping my patio (at least, part of it). Warren's method is not my brand of "permaculture" because she relies very much on a few annuals from a few families [taxonomic families, not human families]. I am gung-ho for perennial polyculture. But much of what she's doing I love: she's learning a lot and making mistakes and writing them down being gracious toward herself and the Earth. She wrote about it in a very funny, relaxing way. I have been reading permaculture gardening books for two months now and it was great to read one that is structured in the comforting counterpane of a narrative.I am totally impressed that she ate the snails out of her garden. She did state a goal of growing 75% [by weight] of her own food, and I might be reaching the end of my tolerance for "I did this weird thing for a year" hoopla, because if you're going to make the claim I want to see how it all added up, and that doesn't seem to be a requirement these books are meeting anymore. Did she make it? Was she even close? What did she actually grow (besides tomatoes and potatoes, zucchini and chard) and how much did she actually buy? Show me two months of weights and measures! DATA. I AM HUNGRY FOR DATA. I envy her her lemon and fig friendly climate. OH to be a Californian.... At least my climate is the best for berries!

  • Stacy
    2019-03-01 07:56

    This is the story of a regular mom who decides to start growing her own food on her quarter-acre of land for environmental and health reasons, as well as for a challenge. As the title implies, her husband insisted on keeping the patio; she won the battle over the lawn though, and soon she is growing edible crops in beds that used to make up her front yard. Her goal: To have 75% of her diet come from her own farming efforts for one year.Each chapter focuses on a different topic that she learned about during her experiment, like weeds, watering, what to do with an overabundance of zucchini, etc.Perhaps you noticed the lovely cover art for this book, with green foliage and snails crawling around. Yeah, chick actually ate homegrown escargot. And that is one story I will not soon be forgetting.This was just an enjoyable read, like sitting down with a down-to-earth, sometimes lazy or absent-minded, local gardener who tells great stories and makes you laugh. Best of all, her plot is located within a 30-minute drive of my own house, so I found many of her plights very relatable and much of advice helpful for my own gardening endeavors. I loved this one!

  • Helena
    2019-02-28 06:51

    The subtitle is a little misleading, as the author decides--at least at the beginning--to feed *herself* 75% of the food she eats from her garden. Since her husband and son aren't really on board with this project, they aren't allowed to eat the garden produce since she "has" to eat a certain amount of her food from the yard. By the end of the book she's making references to cooking family meals from the garden, so I guess she eventually grows enough that she'll share with her family, but it wasn't clear in the book when they arrived at that point. I make this point simply because it's a lot easier to feed one person out of a garden than it is a family. That said, I admire her efforts, and really, cramming that much livestock (mostly poultry, but I think also some pet rabbits) and garden space onto a quarter of an acre is pretty awesome.

  • Dana
    2019-03-03 11:29

    We are planning a vegetable garden and have been reading quite a few gardening books. This book is written more like a memoir than a how-to book, but it contains a lot of good how-to information about gardening. I enjoyed the how-to information and found quite a bit of it useful. I was not as excited about the memoir parts and I would have liked to see photos of the garden and animals. It sounds like her garden is not very photogenic, but I like photos in gardening books. I did get some really good ideas from the book - like looking for free mulch and other gardening supplies on craigslist and freecycle. There is a wealth of other good info. about how to grow and cook a variety of vegetables and fruits and some nice recipes.

  • Literary Mama
    2019-03-07 06:56

    Spring Warren's The Quarter-Acre Farm is both a chronicle and a how-to of her adventure in suburban farming at her California home. Motivated in part by the spate of food-borne illness in the summer of 2008, Warren committed herself to growing 75% of her food (by weight) in her front and back yards, which she soon christened the Quarter-Acre Farm. Her husband and younger teenage son were not entirely on board (but her older son, a line chef who lived on the other side of town, was enthusiastic). Her solo quest to win her household over -- and prove they'd not subsist on zucchini alone -- is at times engaging. Read Literary Mama's full review here:

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-02 05:35

    Full disclosure: The Quarter Acre Farm is in Davis. I used to live in Davis, so immediately I was warmed to the book. Spring Warren has written a very pleasant book about living off your own (city) footprint, and she's managed to do so without overwhelming a new convert or condescending -- two things that seem challenging in this genre! I appreciate the honesty (not turning the compost out of laziness) and the simplicity - she doesn't profess to doing *everything*, but just to doing quite a bit of something. I admit that I'm curious why she doesn't make her own wine (it's Davis!!!) and why she doesn't keep bees, but that's just nosy me. Oh! Each chapter has a fun recipe with it, and the illustrations are divine!

  • Laura
    2019-03-02 08:43

    Less of a guidebook and more of an inspirational memoir, this book is the perfect read for any urban gardener who would like to step up their game and produce more food for their table. This woman made it a personal goal to grow at least 75% of her own food from her garden. This challenge did not extend to her family, but in the end, they benefitted as well and also ate a large portion of their meals from the garden. The author lives in California and has a longer growing season than I do in New England, but even so, I found it fun and inspirational. I liked the additional touch of recipes sprinkled throughout the book. Cooking and gardening go hand in hand! A nice touch.

  • Dawn
    2019-03-21 13:28

    I read this book while embarking on my homesteading adventure under the airport. It was a 10K square foot lot that I planted on every time my husband turned around. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the commitment from my family that Spring got, but I tried to grow what I could just the same. This book will inspire you to do just a little bit more than you're doing now. I loved the recipes, background, and motivation behind this book. Truly, we don't need pesticide-laden grass as much as we need a nice tomato and salad. Put this book on your homesteading shelf. If you don't have one, you should.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-05 13:40

    I loved this one - great gardening advice, recipes that I actually wanted (and did) try right away, all written in a way that makes you feel that you too could grow most of your own food, even if you don't live in California! And the icing on the cake - Spring Warren is a fellow graduate of Black Hills State! Very recommended.*Great advice on planting onion seeds rather than sets - presented in a way I hadn't considered before.**I'm definitely going to try dehydrating pears - they sound SO good.*

  • Kristin
    2019-02-28 13:31

    Enjoyable read. I was expecting more of a how-to guide, explaining the process she underwent to convert her yard to food production. In reality, the book is a really amusing memoir, chronicling the issues she faced. I felt like I was having a chat with a kindred spirit (yes, I too hand pollinate my pumpkin vines). While the goal of the book wasn't instruction, I definitely learned a few things that I'm going to put into practice in my own garden!

  • John
    2019-02-25 09:27

    Poorly organized, light on actual hard data an info, but entertaining and a bit inspiring none the less. I just wish she'd spent less time talking about how her garden made her feel and more time actually detailing the specifics.

  • Malia Walter
    2019-03-01 13:31

    Fun and lighter than what I have been reading lately, this book offers gardening advice, interesting stories from her year-long, living from the garden experiment and recipes.

  • Kristina Seleshanko
    2019-03-19 05:44

    A really delightful book about how one woman began growing most of her family's food. Part memoir, part how-to, with plenty of humor.

  • Lindsey
    2019-03-10 05:40

    I really appreciated the humor that Spring threw in to her tales. Several times I chuckled out loud ("taste opacity" will be adopted into my vocabulary, I assure you). While I wasn't gripped by the story, I am impressed with the feat itself, and will use some of the wisdom from her anecdotes in my own gardening adventures. I think probably my biggest complaint is that it was really difficult to tell, from the way it was written, and chapter to chapter, what the timeline was. Several times, I started thinking that some of these garden tales came about from previous years' experience and resulted in success during the actual experiment year.... but, I think (again, can't say with much confidence), that everything in the book happened within the year. I will probably recommend this book to people who generally enjoy gardening and memoirs (and especially if they like both!).

  • Tina
    2019-03-10 05:50

    This book will probably inspire you to have a backyard garden like it did for me. I can't have one right now, but it was still fun to read - except for the chapter on snails. I'm not generally squeamish, but I had to skim that chapter!

  • Su
    2019-02-28 10:44

    As stunt journalism books go, this one may be my favourite ever, at least in part because of the tonnage of useful info contained within. It has made me sad that I don't have so much as a patio for gardening right now. The recipes are great!

  • Caron LeMay
    2019-03-04 11:45

    An entertaining story of one inexperienced gardener's (sometimes stumbling) trip into growing more of her own food. (Almost a "what not to do" at times!) Humorous rather than particularly informative; this is a fun and funny read that will sometimes make you hungry. (recipes included) Recommend.