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"Small-Scale Grain Raising" by Gene Logsdon, 1977, ISBN 0-87857-134-5 Rodale Press, Inc.

This book is an excellent read for anyone with a garden. The author goes into great detail on a number of grains and soybeans, spelling out for the uneducated (such as myself) all the little details you wouldn't get if you asked a professional farmer to tell you about grain. Things they might take for granted as not needing to be said to anyone with common sense. The author also goes one step further, giving low cost alternatives to the expensive enterprise of growing grain as a business. The reader can grow adequate grain for family needs, livestock, and to make useful byproducts - straw, brooms, sorghum, etc. This approach would be suicide for someone in business to make money from the farm, but for the small homesteader with limited resources, the goal is attainable.

Here's an abbreviated table of contents:
1) Homegrown Grains: The key to food security
2) Corn: America's Amazing Maize
3) Wheat: The Source of the Staff of Life
4) The Sorghum Family
5) Oats: The High-protein Cereal Grain
6) The Soybean: Key to An Independent Food and Fertilizer
7) Rye and Barley
8) Buckwheat and Millet
9) Rice: The Oldest Garden Grain
10) Some Uncommon Grains, Old and New
a) Wild Rice
b) Triticale
c) Spelt
d) Beans
e) Flax
f) Cotton, Sunflower, Safflower
11) Legumes, Grains, and Vegetables: Partners on Organic Acres Rotations
12) Feeding Grains to Animals
13) An Illustrated Glossary of Grain Equipment and Terms
a) Planting
b) Weed Control
c) Harvesting
d) Feed Grinders
e) Household Gristmills
f) Sprouting

Each of the grain sections have subsections on Types and Varieties, Cultivation, Insects and Diseases, Harvesting, Storing and Eating.

I came across a reference for this on the web. The book is out of print and used copies are commanding in excess of $100 through the usual channels - I saw one going for over $200. But I was able to locate a free electronic copy through the Soil and Health Library, an Australian outfit. I have come across the S&H Library on searches before, but this is the first time I have ever used them. They emailed me a link where I could download the book, then displayed a nag page about contributing to their library - along the lines of what you get from PBS or NPR. I will make the contribution in the future, having proof they deliver what they promise. The $16 lifetime membership would be money well spent.

While learning about this book, I checked out the author to see what else he had written. He's a cantankerous old flantlander from Ohio, lifetime farmer and has a number of books to his credit. One, a collaboration with other folks, seems to be one of the original chicken tractor books. While he's not a tree hugger or granola head, he does have simple methods of organic farming suitable for small scale production and self-reliance. I can't recommend this book enough, though the biggest drawback is the electronic format. I HATE READING AT THE COMPUTER for any length of time. The pdf can be printed, but you can't copy or paste from it. I may get a hard-copy made - would be nice to keep as a reference and lend itself to underlining, margin notes, etc.

You can download a copy free at:
The book is 238 pages and too approximately 15-20 minutes to download on a dial-up connection. With the cost of corn rising all feed is going up. Most of you folks with farming experience may find this a little on the elementary side, but for someone like me this has put control of feed in my hands.

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