Five Acres and Independence by M. G. Kains


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This book was originally published in 1935 and revised in 1948, it is being reprinted here in its entirety by Sportsman’s Vintage Press.

From the Introduction:

People who think they “would like to have a little farm” naturally fall into two groups; those who are sure to fail and those likely to succeed. This book is written to help both! Its presentation of advantages and disadvantages, essential farming principles and practices should enable you to decide in which class you belong and whether or not you would be foolish or wise to risk making the plunge. In either case it should be worth many times its price because, on the one hand it should prevent foredoomed failure, and on the other, show you how to avoid delay, disappointment, perhaps disaster, but attain the satisfaction that characterizes personal and well directed efforts in farming.

No matter in which of the groups mentioned you place yourself, it is natural that you should ask whether I am a practical man or merely a professor or a writer! Though I must confess to having held professorial and editorial positions, these were because of my familiarity with practical matters. My experience began before my earliest “little red schoolhouse” days and, barring interruptions, has continued until the present.

At various times I worked on five farms, on one or another of which the leading features were dairy cattle, sheep, grain, hay, fruit, vegetables and bees. As the owners of these places were good farmers and communicative I learned much from them in addition to how to handle tools and implements effectively. At one time I owned a fruit farm with poultry as a side line, at another I managed the fruit department of a produce-raising concern, at still another planted about fifty acres of orchard and vineyard for a commercial orchardist. As occasion has presented I have also worked in greenhouses and nurseries.


1. Introduction
2. City vs. Country Life
3. Tried and True Ways to Fails
4. Who is Likely to Succeed?
5. The Farm to Choose
6. Where to Locate
7. Lay and Lay-Out of Land
8. Windbreaks, Pro and Con
9. Essential Factors of Production
10. Part-Time Farming
11. Capital
12. Farm Finance
13. Farm Accounts
14. Water Supply
15. Functions of Water
16. Drainage
17. Frost Damage Prevention
18. Live Stock
19. Poultry
20. Bees
21. Greenhouses
22. Coldframes and Hotbeds
23. Soils and Their Care
24. Manures
25. Commercial Fertilizers
26. Green Manures and Cover Crops
27. Lime
28. Compost
29. Cropping Systems
30. Soil Surface Management
31. Tools
32. Fruit Tree Pruning
33. How to Avoid Nursery Stock Losses
34. Vegetable Crops to Avoid and to Choose
35. Seeds and Seeding
36. Transplanting
37. Plants for Sale
38. Something to Sell Every Day
39. Strawberries
40. Grapes
41. Bush and Cane Fruits
42. Small Farm Fruit Gardens
43. Selection of Tree Fruits
44. Home Freezing
45. Essentials of Spraying and Dusting


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