The 10 Best Homesteading Books to Have Handy

Homesteading can be a fun adventure for some and a lifestyle for others. It involves a personal journey of exploration where you learn what homesteading means to you and your family. Growing your own food, raising your own meats, dairy, and eggs - homesteading comes in many different varieties.  Unfortunately for those looking to explore homesteading and self-sufficiency, the skills required a no longer common knowledge to most. Finding the best homesteading books to keep handy can be vital to your journey.

Why Keep a Homestead Library?

As you explore homesteading and possibly even off-grid living, you will find that good quality reference books on advanced homestead topics become invaluable resources.

Sometimes finding the answer to your question could take hours to find online, but only minutes with the right resource book. That's why a library can be vital to your journey.

Also consider the joy of researching by candle light instead of the glow of a phone screen. There is just something about the printed word as you seek a homestead lifestyle. Having the best homestead books handy is food for the country soul!

11 Best Homestead Books to Get your Library Started

1) The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery (link)

A very useful reference, this book covers everything you need to know about living off the grid – from how to generate electricity and produce clean water to how to raise livestock and keep bees for honey. If you are living out of your house for weeks or months without power, there is no better guide to how to make the best of an off-grid lifestyle.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 50th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual for Living off the...
  • Emery, Carla (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 736 Pages - 12/03/2019 (Publication Date) - Sasquatch Books (Publisher)

2) 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead by David Toht (link)

This is a great resource for those who love step by step guides including pictures. Beehives, chicken coops, wind and solar power systems are all covered in this handy guide. The project guides are thorough and varied to cover many interesting topics for your own homestead. Worth a read, and very handy to scroll through as you begin your homestead journey.

40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide...
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Toht, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 08/06/2013 (Publication Date) - Creative Homeowner (Publisher)

3) Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham (link)

This books is great for those looking to have more with less. Some of us may not have acres of property at our disposal. For those with limited space, or looking to maximize your yield - this book is great. The book goes through the process of planning, preparing, selecting, timing, managing and many other topics pertinent to small gardening. Easy read with good illustrations and pictures to drive the point home.

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
  • Mini Farming Self Sufficiency on 1 4 Acre
  • Markham, Brett L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 04/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Skyhorse (Publisher)

4) The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals by Gail Damerow (link)

Nothing is better from your own homestead than a complete meal raised from your own yard. Think eggs, bacon, and honey for breakfast all harvested from right outside your back door. Gail covers topics including how to raise your own farm animals, select the right breeds, and how to become more self-sufficient with just a small plot of land. For the beginner, this is a great resource to get started.

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space...
  • The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages - 03/23/2011 (Publication Date) - Storey Publishing, LLC (Publisher)

5) The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward Smith (link)

The go-to reference book for anyone looking to get deep into vegetable gardening. Edward does a great job describing his methods including wide rows, organic material, raised beds with deep soil. Learn to grow any vegetable imaginable with this handy guide - even if you live in an area that is more difficult than others. Each page includes details on various vegetables and all you would need to grow it properly.

The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, 2nd Edition: Discover Ed's High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North...
  • The Vegetable Gardener s Bible
  • Smith, Edward C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 12/02/2009 (Publication Date) - Storey Publishing, LLC (Publisher)

6) The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour (link)

At over 400 pages, this book covers EVERYTHING! With tons of illustrations to help - anyone looking to become self-sufficient will find this to be a great resource. The author takes time to explore many different situations that you may encounter – patio gardens, 1-acre gardens, etc. A must have for those looking to start self-sufficiency.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Seymour, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 408 Pages - 08/17/2009 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)

7) The Beekeeper’s Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses by Richard Jones (link)

For those looking to keep bees in your backyard, this book is your go-to resource for all thing’s bees! A very useful reference book, Richard lays out highly detailed pictures and drawings and covers everything you need to know about beekeeping. More than just instructions, the book also covers the history of beekeeping, how to manage hives safely to harvest honey, and ideas for how to use the honey and beeswax around your homestead.

The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
  • Beautiful hardcover
  • 412 pages
  • Extensive Index
  • Bibliography
  • Hardcover Book

8) Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry (link)

The experts at Ball helped compile this treasure trove of resources for anyone looking to can and preserve what grows in your own backyard. With 400 recipes and detailed instructions on how to properly can – this book has become the go-to guide for the aspiring homesteader.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
  • Comprehensive guide to home canning and preserving
  • Manufacturer warranty: 1-year warranty
  • 448 pages total
  • Authors: Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine
  • Can be used by rookies and pros

9) Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth (link)

As your gardening skills expand – it only makes sense to keep seeds for yourself to start next year. Instead of constantly purchasing seeds each spring, why not save some of your best from the prior year to start things fresh? This guide describes the proper techniques for saving seeds from a variety of different vegetables. Anyone looking to impress their friends with topics such as flower structure and hand-pollination – then look no further!

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, 2nd Edition
  • Seed, Propagation, Vegetables, How To GARDEN
  • Ashworth, Suzanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 228 Pages - 03/01/2002 (Publication Date) - Seed Savers Exchange (Publisher)

10) The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin Fortier (link)

Instead of using chemicals and other additives on her garden, Jean-Martin has produced astonishing results with low-tech, high-yield production methods. Learn how she feeds more than 200 families on just 1.5 acres on her micro-farm in Eastern Quebec. This guide covers crop system designs, the best hand tools and machinery to maximize yield and minimize tilling, and proper weed and pest management to ensure success!

The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming
  • New Society Publishers
  • Jean-Martin Fortier (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/01/2014 (Publication Date) - New Society Publishers (Publisher)

Homesteading Library Reference Books

With these top homesteading books you will be sure to find something that interests you (for me its all things bees and honey)! Just make sure to take your time and use lots of trial and error.

Homesteading can be a difficult but rewarding challenge. Make sure you have the best homestead books to guide your journey!

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