I was thrilled to take a look at Gene Logsdon’s updated 2009 edition of an old favorite of mine, Small Scale Grain Raising. Now in its second edition, the book is even more apropos today than the first edition was in 1977, when I was a budding young agriculturist. I devoured the first edition in the lab between analytical chemistry procedures and dreamed of growing all kinds of grains on a small-scale level. When I obtained a copy of the second edition, which was released last April, I devoured it in five evenings, between chores and bedtime. Actually it kept me up late one night – apologies to the GRIT staff for my fatigue the other day.
Small Scale Grain Raising is a stellar work that will inspire gardeners, farmers, dreamers and just about anyone else who cares about good food, good flavors and asking questions. Most small-scale agriculturists and gardeners never even consider adding grains other than corn (maize) to their crop rotation. This is in part because producing small grains like wheat and barley, or even pseudo-grains like buckwheat, is considered to be an arduous task at best that requires seed drills and combines to accomplish. Heck, the capital outlay for equipment is enough to turn off even medium-sized farmers who are tapped into the corn-soybean rotation. But it doesn’t have to be so. And Logsdon shows you how to make it happen on a backyard scale. Did you know that you can grow sufficient grains to feed your family and many of your animals all year on less than an acre of land with just a few hand tools?
Logsdon’s out of the box approach to farming is as fresh and informed today as ever before. He has bothered to ask, and answer, many of the questions that paralyze gardeners and farmers when faced with the expense of some conventionally recommended production practice. And he does all of this, while respecting and understanding how those recommended practices came into being. The book is filled with anecdotes, advice, stories of success and failure – all steeped in the author’s delightfully wry sense of humor.
Worried about what to do with all that backyard grain when harvest season rolls around? All you need to know about cutting, curing, threshing, cleaning, hulling and eating grains is laid out on the pages of Small Scale Grain Raising. I recommend that you pick up a copy today. Who knows, you may start a small-scale grain project of your own, or perhaps you can convince your favorite market farmer to put out a spelt crop for you next year. In any case, you will be a lot smarter about all things agriculture if you spend any time with the wisdom-filled pages of Gene Logsdon’s Small Scale Grain Raising.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.