Modern Solutions for Busy People

The Suburban Micro-Farm

Yield abundant harvests from your own yard!

Turn your garden dreams into reality with this book about reclaiming the lawn and growing a stress-free garden using permaculture techniques!

Available Wherever Books Are Sold
Distributed by Chelsea Green

Award Winning

Easy to Read With Beautiful Illustrations

Make Your Lawn Work For You!

Amy's strategies, such as the 15-minutes-a-day garden, will have you growing a bountiful garden that is fun and rewarding.

In this book you'll learn:

  • Why the suburbs are primed with food-growing potential.
  • Why you don’t need the perfect yard to have a micro-farm.
  • Why gardens don’t have to be relegated to the backyard.
  • How to choose the best crops for success.
  • How to squash garden overwhelm.
  • How to develop and nurture soil to produce healthy crops.
  • How to use easy permaculture techniques for abundant harvests and increased biodiversity.

Get Answers to Questions Like These:

Can a suburban garden be as productive as farmland?

Where is the best location for a compost bin?

When is the best time of day to water?

Which vegetable crops are deer resistant?

How can I prevent pests naturally without using chemical pesticides?

When are sweet potatoes the sweetest?

Should I remove spent plants from the garden at the end of the season?

What types of plants will a low-maintenance edible landscape include?

When setting up a permaculture garden, what is essential to consider?

Which herbs can help you grow vibrant and productive fruit trees?

Which plants can help build soil and improve biodiversity?

Bonus Materials

In this world of many books, I'm grateful for your purchase. To show my gratitude, I’ve included FOUR bonus downloads that will help you on your micro-farming journey!

If you're quickly overwhelmed by your garden, or you're new to gardening, these simple tools will help you track your progress and reach your goals confidently.

Seed Starting & Planting Worksheet

Just add your frost dates and - voila! - planting dates relevant to your location will appear.

Monthly Checklists

Prioritize your gardening tasks and record observations.

Monthly Calendars

Schedule garden time around your busy life.

Harvest Logs

Keep records to improve over time.


"Those who live in the suburbs would likely agree it offers many advantages, such as proximity to schools, workplaces, and other amenities. But how about its food production potential? In The Suburban Micro-Farm, Amy Stross makes the case that all sorts of small spaces can yield a surprising amount of food, and it can be done without sacrificing every spare moment. The secret is thinking like a farmer, but on a micro-scale."

Mary S. Chadduck, The American Gardener
The Magazine of the American Horticultural Society

"A suburban micro-farmer myself, I love Stross’s no-nonsense advice, colorful pictures, and detailed organizational planning. From creating rich soil to composting, planting vegetables to growing fruit trees or kitchen herbs, The Suburban Micro-Farm is jam-packed with information and deserves a spot on your bookshelf."

Jennifer Melville, San Francisco Book Review

"I just finished reading The Suburban Micro-Farm and I can say without reservation that it’s the best book of its kind I’ve read yet. My verdict: 5 out of 5 stars. Get a copy and get another copy for a friend."

David Goodman, Mother Earth News

"…this book takes a permaculture approach to starting a micro-farm in the suburbs that speaks not just to a stay-at-home mom or dad, but to all busy people. Indeed, it is one of the few gardening books that is aware that you may not have a lot of time to start a garden, and shows you that it’s still possible anyway.”  

Jesse Frost, Hobby Farms

"Bored with the lawn? Learn how to turn your suburban yard into a suburban micro-farm with Amy's concise, detailed and well organized how-to garden manual."

Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, authors of: The Urban Homestead and Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World 

"Amy Stross has not only written a helpful book, but an important one too. Suburbia is ripe with healthy and delicious food-growing potential. Amy shows us how to tap this potential by sharing practical tips gleaned from her own experience as a micro-farmer on one-tenth of an acre. Get ready to feel both empowered and inspired!"

Roger Doiron, Founding Director of Kitchen Gardeners International

About the author

Amy Stross is a permaculture gardener, writer, educator, and author of The Suburban Micro-Farm, with a varied background in home-scale food production.

As a professional gardener and permaculture designer, she specializes in ecologically regenerative and productive landscapes. Her own (former) 0.10-acre micro-farm was a thriving example, including berry bushes, fruit trees, herbs, flowers, and vegetable gardens.

Amy’s current adventure is transforming a 3-acre property into a micro-farm with her husband and mischievous farm cat. She reaches millions of people with her adventures and expertise in small-scale permaculture gardening on her website,

I Know, I Know. You Already Have a Gazillion Books About Gardening!

My bookshelf is full of gardening books that have barely been cracked. I was so desperate to learn in my early days of gardening that I bought a bunch of books I didn’t even touch. Sometimes I would buy a book, read Chapter One, and get so busy I wouldn’t finish it. I felt like a gardening book junkie, yet my progress as a gardener certainly didn’t reflect the number of books on the shelf.

If you’re wondering why you need another book on your shelf, believe me when I say I’ve been in your shoes!

In my early days I was much better at thinking about gardening (Read: procrastinating) and joining gardening groups on Facebook than actually growing food. I would read a good chapter in one of my books and get started, only to find my motivation fizzle out shortly after.

That’s because none of the books on my shelf could address how I used my time, where I should start, and how to stick with it to maintain my garden throughout an entire season, especially when I got busy and lost focus. There was no road map to help me incorporate a garden into my life.

If you’re like me, then I wrote The Suburban Micro-Farm with you in mind: A road map to create a beautiful, productive landscape that meets your needs, and the life hacks to help you see it through to harvest.

In The Suburban Micro-Farm, I’ll guide you in being fully engaged in the process, so you’ll never have to buy a another book about growing food that ends up as a paperweight! I’ll share tips like how to be your own troubleshooter, so you can push through those moments when you feel like the only way to move forward is with the help of a professional garden consultant.

I’ll also show you how to turn your brown thumb into a green thumb. There’s actually no such thing as a brown thumb; only ‘beginner’ thumbs. No more using the color of your thumb as an excuse to quit! :-)

The Suburban Micro-Farm will empower you to move forward!


"For new gardeners, the biggest problem is often simple overwhelm. In The Suburban Micro-Farm, Amy Stross breaks the giant topic of ‘gardening’ into bite-sized tasks to help readers, no matter their experience level or space limitations. The information and guidance offered in this book will put you well on your way to a productive backyard oasis."

Kris Bordessa @ Attainable Sustainable

"What a valuable resource! The Suburban Micro-Farm is full of practical information from an experienced gardener. Not only will you learn how to build soil and grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently with Amy's time-saving tips. And she will keep you organized, too. This author has thought of it all!"

Susan Vinskofski @ Learning And Yearning

"Amy Stross digs deep into restorative gardening techniques such as permaculture, showing how to develop healthy soils, edible landscapes and food forests. A must-read for suburban growers, The Suburban Micro-Farm will inspire you to make the most of your small yard and empower you to grow more food than you thought possible!"

Teri Page @ Homestead Honey

"The Suburban Micro-Farm should be the go-to resource for the time-crunched suburbanite foodie. This is the book that will turn any yard no matter how large or small into a homegrown food oasis all while allowing you to have a life too. Loaded with practical advice - The Suburban Micro-Farm covers it all in down-to-earth, easy to apply fashion."

Kathie Lapcevic @ Homespun Seasonal Living

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this book for beginners or more advanced micro-farmers? While this book has everything a beginner needs to get started, there are plenty of tips and nuances to help experienced growers take their gardens to the next level. Part 3 of the book is dedicated to “Advanced Micro-Farming Techniques”, including chapters on edible landscaping, permaculture, and making money on the micro-farm.

I don’t live in the suburbs. Can I still use this book? In this book, the word ‘suburban’ is used loosely. The techniques and strategies could be used in any small space, whether urban, suburban, or rural. Even those with large properties may wish to design a compact micro-farm that is easily manageable.

My yard is too small or I don’t have a yard. Is this book for me? Amy shares what she learned from her adventures in community gardening, as well as recommendations for container gardening.

My yard is too shady/sloping/wet/dry. Is this book for me? Most homeowners didn’t purchase their property based solely on its farming prospects, and therefore must make do with challenging land. You won’t be disappointed with Amy’s recommendations for working around these problems from garden design to crop selection.

My soil is too clayey. Is this book for me? You’ll find tips for breaking up clay, building soil tilth, and ideal watering tips for crops grown in clay soil.

Farm crops are ugly and I don’t want them ruining my view or making the neighbors mad. Is this book for me? Amy got her start in the world of professional landscaping, and has a soft spot in her heart for beautiful and tidy landscapes. A beautiful herb spiral or container garden may be just the thing you need, or find her favorite tips for a beautiful edible landscape.

I have a full-time job and kids to chauffeur. Is this book for me? This book was written with you in mind! You’ll enjoy “Life Hacks for the Busy Micro-Farmer”, low maintenance crop suggestions, and tips for ensuring the size of your garden is commensurate with your level of time and experience.

I’m retired and don’t want to work myself into the ground. Is this book for me? You may not have the biggest garden on the block, but doggone it, your garden is still going to be fun and productive. You’ll enjoy the sections on “Perennial Crops” and “Annual Crops with a Long Season” for crops that are easy to take care of. See the chapter on “Micro-Farming Fruit” and imagine the joy on your grandkids’ faces as they bite into those fresh, juicy strawberries and raspberries.

I’m a dude. Do I have to talk about my feelings and pink, frilly things to use this book? Amy’s writing at has a strong male readership because of her no-nonsense, no-frills style. While she has an eye for aesthetics, she also firmly believes that a garden should first and foremost be engineered to be highly functioning and efficient. She thinks you might enjoy the “manly” chapters on “Developing Healthy Soil” and “Digging Deeper: Permaculture & Micro-Farming”.