I wrote at the weekend about getting ready to plant your veg, or plug plants, ready for having crops of your own later in the year. It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine can inspire you to do! So for this week’s Friday Five, here are 5 books to help you towards self sufficiency, from all out to just a little bit at the weekend! Happy digging!
1. The Self-Sufficiency Manual – may as well start with a classic text! This is an updated version of John Seymour’s classic text which is, as it says, for dreamers and realists. Need to know how to milk a cow or plough a field? It’s in here. Not just for those of you with a spare 100 acres of land, John Seymour believed you should aim to cultivate whatever you had, even a windowbox. You can always dream!
2. The Self Sufficient-sih Bible – if you’re not going to go all the way, then this might be better reading, particularly for those living an urban life, but that just want it to be bit more green. It’s probably a bit more realistic for most of us, as true self sufficiency takes not only lots of land, but a big time commitment too. But just doing a bit will be rewarding, and give you some tasty stuff to take back to the kitchen!
3. How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self Sufficiency – there’s no point growing lots of great stuff only to watch it turn green and mouldy in the corner and end up straight back in your compost bin! This little gem of a book will help you maximise the life of your fresh produce by ensuring you know how to preserve it for added longevity. From canning to bottling, stringing onions and even finding something interesting to do with marrow (I fail to be convinced however) then this book covers it all.
4. Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things: A Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes – not so much how to grow them, but what to cook with them when you have them. Once you start down this road, you will find dealing with gluts becomes an annual event, and this is a good standby to inspire you when you’re faced with more tomatoes than you know what to do with! Once you’ve given away as many as you can, then try turning to this before you resort to doorstep courgettes. Trust me, if you don’t know what it is now, you will!
5. Self-sufficiency Hen Keeping – keeping hens has to be next on the list for foodies who want to be a bit self sufficient. Even if you can’t bring yourself to dispatch them to the oven or pot, then they can at least keep you eggs on a daily basis. This is a great straight-forward guide, telling you everything you need to consider before you turn some of your garden over to chickens. And maybe even move on from there to bees.
If you want to work out if it’s for you or not, maybe an afternoon catching up on The Good Life will let you know if a life of nettle wine is for you!