Are you looking for homestead inspiration or wondering how to have a backyard homestead? This list of my favorite homesteading books have been very helpful to me during the last few years. I’m a firm believer that you can homestead anywhere if you have the right resources and these books belong in your homestead library!
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My Favorite Homesteading Books for Your Reference Library
Homesteading doesn’t have to be living off grid with no running water. It certainly can be if that’s what you want, but it doesn’t have to be. My family of six is homesteading in a modern house and enjoy a lot of electronic luxuries. I consider homesteaders to be responsible stewards of the earth, right?! People who are taking steps toward self-sufficiency,, no matter how small. If you want to take more control of your own life, these favorite homesteading books will help you!
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!, edited by Carleen Madigan
This is one of the very first books I bought when we moved out to our five acre homestead. With sections on growing veggies, fruit, grains, herbs and more, this book provides garden layouts for lots that are one-tenth of an acre, a quarter acre, and a half acre too. It tells you how many garden beds should produce x amount of food!
I love the practical tips it gives for growing fruit and vegetables, and also for raising a chicken flock and bees as well. There’s even a section on foraging in the wild! You might think you need a lot of land to be self-sufficient, but this book provides knowledge and inspiration for producing a lot more food on a lot less land than you might think possible! I highly recommend this book be in any wanna-be (or veteran) homestead library!
The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner written by Ann Larken Hansen
Arranged by season with room for personal notes, this spiral bound book offers lots of lists and tells you exactly when to do what regardless of where you live! I love the Backyard Homestead series and I’m excited to have this planner in my library of favorite homesteading books.
The handy spiral binding of this book make it super easy to use and reference. It is a new staple in my homesteading library.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living written by Carla Emery
The Encyclopedia of Country Living gives you all the information you need to live off-grid, if you want! With practical tips on bee keeping, goat milking, butter churning, food preservation and more, this almost 1000 page book is considered by some to be the Bible of country living.
If you’re looking for a book to tell you how they did it before electricity and running water, The Encyclopedia of Country Living is your source! But don’t let that description scare you. You certainly don’t have to live off-grid to find this book useful.
My Favorite Gardening Books
Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden, written by Deborah L Martin
Rodale has long been a trusted reference in the organic gardening arena, and this book is a go-to source for any organic gardening. I reference my Rodale books all the time to help with pests, planting, and soil management.
I also like my Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening book, edited by Pauline Pears, as well. It helped me be successful with no-dig potato growing!
Biodynamic Gardening a DK book
Last spring I was able to visit a gorgeous biodynamic farm called Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California, and fell in love with the concept of biodynamic farms. Biodynamic gardens take organic one step further. It looks at the land in a more comprehensive way – how can all living creatures work together to help the garden? Compost, animal manure, organic practices are all tenets of biodynamic gardening and something that I would really like to implement better on our own acreage.
I’m excited to implement some of the ideas in this book and add it to my homesteading library.
Weedless Gardening written by Lee Reich
The last few of years I have had such weed infested gardens that it really prohibited me from growing much. There has got to be a better way, and I learned about this book thanks to my friend Jami at An Oregon Cottage.
Last year, I started using raised beds and they cut down immensely on the weeding. I also covered my beds this year with tarps and cardboard. I’m excited to use the principles in this book so I can keep gardening, because let me tell you, I just don’t have time to spend 2-3 hours a day in my garden breaking my back to keep the weeds down! This book also helps you reduce water consumption, and I think that’s going to be more and more important in our home gardens.
Carrots Love Tomatoes written by
One key to successful organic gardening is companion planting. The right companions provide nutrients to the soil, repel bad bugs, and also help attract good bugs. I have long touted the importance of companion planting here on SimplifyLiveLove, and this book called Carrots Love Tomatoes is the best explanation for how to companion plant!
If you aren’t currently companion planting in your garden, you need to add this wonderful good to your library! You can also read companion planting tips in this helpful post too.
My Favorite Books on Backyard Chickens!
Because what homestead is complete without chickens? 🙂
Best Books on Raising Chickens written by Gail Damerow
Not only are chickens great for eggs and meat (if you want to go there), but they are also some of the funniest birds you can have around. Watching my flock of free-range chickens can keep my occupied for a long time. And I love that they scratch up my garden and leave their nutrient rich poop in it as well!
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens is a great reference book to have on hand. From basic care and feeding, to housing, to first aid for chickens, this book will be an invaluable reference book for your homesteading library!
Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard written by Jessi Bloom
While chickens are great for your health and garden, they can also be problematic. All of their scratching can destroy a carefully planted garden bed! No one want that, so this beautiful book talks about how to get incorporate your chickens in a positive way at your house.
Blooms provides lots of advice for how you can pamper your chickens – crops to plant that they will love, beautiful pictures, garden layouts, and a lot of practical advice for having a fun and mutually beneficial relationship with your chickens.
Chicken DIY: 20 Fun-to-Make Projects for Happy and Healthy Chickens written by Samantha Johnson
If you have a backyard chicken flock and you’ve thought about building things for them but don’t know where to start, this is the book for you. I received an advance copy for review purposes and think this book is a lot of fun. From DIY coops, to roosts, incubators, and an egg collecting basket, this book as a wide range of projects that you might enjoy making for your chickens!
Complete and easy instructions, plus a lot of pictures make this book a winner for the DIYer interested in saving money!
The Most Inspirational Gardening Book Ever
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle written by Barbara Kingsolver
This book is beyond a shadow of a doubt the one book most responsible for my gardening endeavors. I first read it years ago. And I continue to re-read it every now and again when I need inspiration.
If you haven’t read this book, you’re in for a treat. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is Kingsolver’s account of her family’s quest to only eat locally grown food for an entire year. And they followed the calendar and started in January. Think for a moment what’s growing in your garden in January and that might give you pause! This book is funny as well an motivational. If everyone would take such care to eat locally, I think people would be better off, don’t you?
Homesteading Book Giveaway!
How would you like to win a few of my favorite homesteading books? Up for grabs in this giveaway is one copy of Animal Vegetable Miracle, one copy of The Backyard Homestead, and one copy of Chicken DIY! Winner takes all. To enter, simply use the rafflecopter form below. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the US. Good luck!