Hobby Farming (the joy of) – a Book Review

Thirteen months have passed by and we’re still sitting happily on our 1 acre of land- and to tell you the truth- it hasn’t done all that much for me… yet.  BUT, I’ve got big plans, big plans I say!  One of the plans this year is to watch food prices rise and plant a vegetable garden.  I was given the opportunity to review a new book published JUST this year- its called the joy of hobby farming, -grow food, raise animals and enjoy a sustainable life by Michael and Audrey Levatino.

What I think of the joy of hobby farming

Now, I’m not the greenest mom out there (although other writers for AOM live that life, I’m just not there yet) but I do KNOW that food grown in your own garden tastes the best, and food labeled organic usually has WAY more flavor, so I cracked open this ‘sustainable’ book.  About 200 pages long, with plenty of color photos, the joy of hobby farming is a pleasurable jaunt through the recommendations of a couple who have sought after the hobby farming life. I have really read the book (well, 2/3rds through it so far) and really enjoy reading it (so has my husband, my kids even flipped through to see the colorful pictures).

picture of Joy of Hobby Farming
Joy of Hobby Farming

My family enjoys gardening, we are eagerly awaiting putting in our garden. My kids are excited about the vegetables we will grow. We missed out last year due to moving and remodeling. Here is a picture the year before with zucchini from our garden. My kids love helping with gardening, even eating the broccoli right out of the garden!

picture of Kids love Gardening
Kids love Gardening

Their recommendations are descriptive enough for you to lay out a decent plan for what it takes to maintain a ‘mini farm’  from a 1000 foot high view.  Mind you this is about HOBBY farming – which means you can grow food for others- but that you can’t quit your day job.  I found it cute that they mentioned the ‘don’t quit your day job’ idea SEVERAL TIMES in the book.  The point is to enjoy the experience, work with the land (and the harvest and the animals) and use simple, reasonable and what seem like time-honored techniques to make the most of your soil, choose the best plants to grow, and how many animals to raise.

I really found the book to be honest.  It mentions the authors’ pitfalls, and how they’ve succeeded despite them.  This is a really endearing part of the book which makes you feel you are there WITH them.

Now, I’m not going to be buying a herd of sheep (although the Spicy Lamb farm in Peninsula has done so!) but the gardening concepts are a real treasure trove.

Where to buy the joy of hobby farming

You can buy the joy of hobby farming on their website for $14.95 or Amazon.com.

Win the joy of hobby farming (5 giveaways!) (Closed)

Updated: 4-25-11 Winners Announced: Laura, Mary Gardner, Amber, Rachel Benson, and Anne

5 lucky winners can own their own copies of the joy of hobby farming.

30 Day winning rule does not apply to this contest. For complete contest rules, please see our Contest Statement and Blog Disclosure.

Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on April 19, 2011 when a winner will be drawn at random and announced the next day. When commenting, please include your email address (not visible to public). I will notify the winners and they will have 36 hours to respond!

This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to The Joy of Hobby Farming who provided the product for review and giveaway.

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152 thoughts on “Hobby Farming (the joy of) – a Book Review

  1. brian e. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway…the book looks to be a great resource for contemplating starting a small farm; the author’s experience provides useful knowledge to avoid costly “amateur” mistakes.

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

  2. CA Monkey Momma says:

    I learned that they also make fun crafts you can buy on Etsy! They have an adorable selection!! This book sounds awesome! I’ve just recently gotten chickens so I think this would be an excellent read =D Thanks for hosting!

  3. Angie B. says:

    From reading an excerpt, I found that hobby farming is the idea that smaller is better. Better tasting foods, both plant and animal, come from small farms that don’t use intensive cultivation methods to increase profits.

  4. Lauren Presutti says:

    I loved the website~the archives of information is awesome. Without having the book, I can still learn lots from the website. And being an amateur gardner myself, I want to have an awesome garden and then learn how to preserve all the items to use through out the year :-)

  5. Marisa Nitz says:

    I learned that llamanure is a very beneficial thing for our garden. I know there are some llama farms in this area, so now I’m off to see if any of them are selling it.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

    My husband and I have had a garden for 4 years now and we love having the fresh produce in our backyard. Any seeds that we buy, we buy locally from Pettitis.

  6. Jessica says:

    I learned that llama manure makes an amazing fertilizer! I’ll be moving to a rural area of PA in early summer and would absolutely love to get some ideas from this book.

  7. william mckinley says:

    we need a garden to occupy the catts time chasing mice and birds. we will have to have it portable the summer sun in az tends to vbe rough and this is the best guide i’ve spotted speck135les at yahoo i learned that llamma manure may be the best but i can get horse local annd compost it with local caught fish so to sustain the enviroment i’m going that route.

  8. Rachel Benson says:

    I learned that they “We’re proud to be a vegetarian hobby farm that does not breed farm animals, but we do have a few chickens for their eggs, and donkeys and llamas for our special homemade compost. ”

    I myself hope to have chickens someday.

  9. Cindy says:

    Just don’t buy too many plants, they do expand and grow bigger and it’ll just be a mess if you try to put too many plants in one spot. Then, just keep an eye on the weeds and you should be just fine. With garden tables, you probably won’t have many weeds. Get a good soil and compost and you are all set! Good luck! Check back and let us know how it goes. :)

  10. Christie Timmons says:

    My husband, son and I are starting our first garden this spring. Because we rent and are unable to alter the landscaping at our house, we have built 3 Garden Tables. I have been looking for practical gardening books for my hubby for his Birthday and this one is PERFECT! Love that you suggested it. My biggest fear is that we will not have time to maintain our garden. This book has a section about balancing gardening with the rest of your life. YAY!

  11. Danielle says:

    I learned that Michael Levatino and Audrey Blecha met in Boulder, Colorado, in the late 90’s while both working at the Boulder Book Store.

  12. Marie Collins says:

    Posted on House Remodel Post to get kids to stop slamming toilet seats
    gwuclass at yahoo dot com

  13. Marie Collins says:

    I learned that for Cats are the environmentally friendly and est-tested rodent control for mice, moles and voles . Never really thought about it before.
    gwuclass at yahoo dot com

  14. John Bryson says:

    We’ve thought about raising chickens for eggs, it would be interesting to see what else this book suggests.

  15. Deborah R says:

    I learned that “A cat is the only environmentally, and most would agree humane, way to control rodents.”

  16. alycep says:

    Didn’t see any workbooks on the site but this book is just what I have been looking for as I want to get to a more sustainable lifestyle. With the price of food I want to be able to grow at least 30% of what we need.

  17. christa says:

    i went to the website too, didn’t see the workbooks, but still would love to read the book, i am going to grow my own veggies this summer!

  18. Diana Setzer says:

    I think the Joy of Hobby Farming would be a delightful resource to have in my personal library.

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