Homegrown & Handmade

Second edition — 2017

homegrown and handmadeFood recalls, dubious health claims, scary and shocking ingredients in health and beauty products. Our increasingly industrialized supply system is becoming more difficult to navigate, more frightening, and more frustrating, leaving us feeling stuck choosing in many cases between the lesser of several evils.

In this full updated and revised edition of Homegrown and Handmade, author Deborah Niemann offers healthier, more empowering choices, by showing us how to reclaim links in our food and purchasing chains, to make choices that are healthier for our families, ourselves, and our planet. Along the way, she shows how making things from scratch and growing some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more authentic life.

Whether your goal is increasing your self-reliance or becoming a full-fledged homesteader, it’s packed with answers and solutions to help you rediscover traditional skills, take control of your food from seed to plate, and much more.

…buy this book, read it and then go do something, You are not alone. Mentors to help you along the way are out here.
~~Joel Salatin, from the Foreword

Dreaming of a mindful life? Niemann’s advice on gardening, cooking, orcharding, raising livestock, and much more demonstrates that it’s possible to begin the journey in your own backyard.
~~Rebecca Martin, Managing Editor, Mother Earth News

Wherever you are on your journey toward a more self-reliant lifestyle, Homegrown and Handmade provides practical guidance and gentle encouragement to help you make the choices that work best for you.
~~Victoria Redhed Miller, author, Pure Poultry and Craft Distilling


First Edition — 2011

H&H coverOur food system is dominated by industrial agriculture and has become economically and environmentally unsustainable. The incidence of diet-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart disease, has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Whether you have forty acres and a mule or a condo with a balcony, you can do more than you think to safeguard your health, your money, and the planet.

Homegrown and Handmade shows how making things from scratch and growing at least some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more authentic life. Whether your goal is increasing your self-reliance or becoming a full-fledged homesteader, it’s packed with answers and solutions to help you:

  • Take control of your food supply from seed to plate
  • Raise small and medium livestock for fun, food, and fiber
  • Rediscover traditional skills to meet more of your family’s needs than you ever thought possible

This comprehensive guide to food and fiber from scratch proves that attitude and knowledge is more important than acreage. Written from the perspective of a successful self-taught modern homesteader, this well illustrated, practical, and accessible manual will appeal to anyone who dreams of a simpler life.

Praise for Homegrown & Handmade

“This is my new favorite book for so many reasons.  Not only does the
author offer quaint recipes like caramel apple butter, castile soap and
homemade cheese, but she thoughtfully outlines how and why she lives the
homesteading lifestyle.  Her encouraging words don’t intimidate the
reader; rather, she kindly reminds us that mistakes will be made on the
path towards more sustainable and self-reliant living.  In many ways, it
is a user’s manual for living a simpler, healthier and more thoughtful


“Deborah and her family were a great inspiration on my own journey from urbanite to homesteader, and over the years I’ve turned to her often for guidance. Homegrown and Handmade is a wonderful collection of her wisdom, and when it’s not propped next to the stove or the milk stand, this approachable reference belongs on the shelf with the homesteading classics.”

—Margaret Hathaway,
author of The Year of the Goat
and Living with Goats

“Deborah Niemann has written a straight-forward, down-to-earth book to get us back to our nation’s independent, self-reliant roots. It covers all the bases – from the soil to the supper table, and from birth (or hatch) to butchering. This is the perfect book for the conscientious omnivore, or for anyone seeking a practical map to a sustainable, delicious future.”

—Terra Brockman,
Founder and Board President of The Land Connection,
author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, speaker, food and farm advocate.

“There’s never been a more practical guide written for making the ‘simple’ life simple.”

—Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell,
founders of Beekman1802.com

“Homegrown & Handmade a smart book for today’s modern homesteader. In this book, Deborah Niemann promises practical guidance for a more sustainable and inspirational lifestyle. From growing and using your own vegetable and fruit crops to creating and managing your own dairy, raising backyard poultry, and harvesting your own fiber, Homegrown &Handmade more than delivers!
“Niemann offers compelling reasons for becoming active in understanding the foods (and chemicals) that families are consuming unchecked everyday. Homegrown & Handmade puts you in the control seat of what is considered fresh and healthy food by offering detailed explanations on providing food and fiber their purest form for yourself.

“Homegrown & Handmade is simply the right book at the right time — a book after my own heart.”

—Chris McLaughlin,
author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Heirloom Vegtables
and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small-Space Gardening

“Deborah Niemann has penned the book that will turn homesteading dreamers into doers. From sustainable gardening to animal husbandry, she’s got the farm covered. Homegrown & Handmade explores, illuminates, excites, and inspires. “

—Ashley English,
author of the Homemade Living book series
and the voice behind small-measure.blogspot.com


Table of Contents


  • Health
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Ethics
  • Sustainability
  • Frugality
  • Entertainment
  • Personal pride
  • Getting started

Part one: The sustainable garden
Chapter 1: Planning the Sustainable Garden

  • What do you need
  • What will you grow
  • How much will you grow

Chapter 2: Growing the Sustainable Garden

  • Composting
  • Vermicomposting
  • Vertical gardening
  • Organic solutions
  • Seed saving
  • Growing herbs indoors
  • Growing sprouts
  • Extending the tomato harvest
  • Winter gardening

Chapter 3: Cooking from the sustainable garden

  • Tomatoes
  • Recipe: Creamy Heirloom Tomato Soup
  • Recipe: Gazpacho
  • Step-by-step canning
  • Recipe: Pizza Sauce
  • Recipe: Canned Salsa
  • Peppers
  • Recipe: Pickled Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Recipe: Pickled Green Beans
  • Herbs
  • Recipe: Iced Lemon Spearmint Tea
  • Root cellar vegetables
  • Recipe: Homemade Ginger Ale

Part two: The backyard orchard
Chapter 4: Planning the backyard orchard

  • What do you need
  • What will you grow

Chapter 5: Growing the backyard orchard

  • Planting
  • Watering
  • Mulching
  • Pruning

Chapter 6: Cooking from the backyard orchard

  • Freezing berries
  • Canning fruit
  • Recipe: Caramel Apple Butter
  • Recipe: Canned Pears

Part three: The backyard poultry flock
Chapter 7: Planning the backyard poultry flock

  • What do you need
  • What will you raise

Chapter 8: Raising the backyard poultry flock

  • Brooding
  • Coop management
  • Laying
  • Feeding
  • Injury prevention and treatment

Chapter 9: Raising the Backyard Poultry Flock for Meat

  • Chickens
  • Turkeys
  • Ducks and geese

Chapter 10: Cooking from the Backyard Poultry Flock

  • Eggs
  • Recipe: Quick Quiche
  • Recipe: Crème Brulee Pie
  • Recipe: Mayonnaise
  • Recipe: Brioche
  • Recipe: Noodles
  • Meat
  • Recipe: Chicken soup
  • Recipe: Turkey stroganoff

Part four: The home dairy
Chapter 11: Planning the home dairy

  • Cows
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Herd animals
  • Pasture or dry lot
  • Bedding
  • Feeding
  • Minerals and supplements
  • Breeding males
  • Babies
  • Veterinary care
  • Milking equipment
  • Breeds
  • Buying dairy animals

Chapter 12: Managing the Home Dairy

  • Natural dairy management
  • Training a milker
  • Milking by hand
  • Milking by machine
  • Health basics
  • Natural parasite control
  • Birthing
  • Pasteurization

Chapter 13: Producing from the Home Dairy

  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Recipe: Chevre
  • Recipe: Queso Blanco
  • Recipe: Ricotta
  • Recipe: Easy Mozzarella
  • Recipe: Feta
  • Soap
  • Recipe: Castile soap
  • Recipe: Gardener’s scrub bar
  • Recipe: Facial soap

Part five: The home fiber flock
Chapter 14: Planning and managing the home fiber flock

  • Choosing fiber animals
  • Rabbits
  • Goats and sheep
  • Llamas and alpacas
  • Bedding
  • Shearing
  • Breeding
  • Veterinary care
  • Feeding and supplements

Chapter 15: Producing from the home fiber flock

  • Processing fiber
  • Felting
  • Project: Felted soap
  • Spinning
  • Knitting
  • Project: Scarf

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