Are you looking to become self-sufficient and live off the land? Whether you’re living on a plot of land, have a suburban backyard, or have an apartment patio, you can make your dream of homesteading come true. The best homesteading books can give you detailed information, tips, and tricks you need to become more self-sufficient while saving money and living sustainably.
Luckily, there are dozens if not hundreds of homesteading books and resources out there, from comprehensive guides to specific topics like composting or raising chickens. In this list, I’ve focused on beginner options that will provide a comprehensive overview of homesteading alongside clear steps for getting started.
So, if you’re ready to begin your homesteading journey, choose one or two of these excellent books to help get you started!
7 Best Homesteading Books
These 7 books all offer a comprehensive overview of homesteading and practical advice for getting started. However, they have different focuses that may be more or less suited to your goals and needs.
Choose the book that feels the most applicable to your homesteading dreams, and you’ll have an invaluable resource for getting started.
1. The Backyard Homestead Bible: How to Start your Mini-Farm and Quickly Become Self-Sufficient
The concept of the “mini farm” is at the heart of this book, enabling people to start their own sustainable systems at any scale. Author and 80-year-old homesteading expert Tom Harving provides a comprehensive collection of 5-in-1 books on all things sustainable.
The Backyard Homestead Bible will guide you through the entire process of how to start your mini-farm and achieve a self-sufficient living off the land. If you want to grow your food with a budget-friendly investment this book is the perfect pick for you.
It delves into teaching the proper ways of growing organic fruits and vegetables, raising chickens, juicing, and milking goats in your very own backyard. The book also highlights essential techniques required for food preservation such as canning, fermenting, and pickling.
All in all, it is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to transform their organic homesteading journey from a dream to a long-lasting reality. And since there are 5 volumes in one, it’s a fantastic value, and can even function as a whole homesteading course.
2. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 acre
Two NBA basketball courts could fit on a one-quarter acre, and this book hopes to show that you can maximize your yard space to achieve both your personal and professional homesteading goals.
The book Mini Farming provides a creative solution for home gardeners to improve their physical and financial health by activating their land. Author Brett L. Markham is a third-generation farmer who runs a successful mini-farm on less land than the traditional homesteader needs.
He is well aware of the space restrictions faced by new homesteaders and highlights ways to efficiently use your plot of land to achieve your homesteading dream.
If you are in search of learning agricultural techniques that can produce a majority of your household’s food, this book will provide you with all the right answers.
As a beginner, you will also get access to information on different materials and techniques through which you can earn up to $10,000 annually in cash.
If you are new to homesteading, Mini Farming will help you on your journey to self-sufficiency with easy-to-follow diagrams, illustrations, and tricks to keep your production costs low.
3. The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-to-Basics Guide
The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour is an essential book to understand the homesteading lifestyle. You will find step-by-step instructions on how to start homesteading with information on a wide range of topics.
John Seymour has been an advocate of a sustainable lifestyle for more than 40 years. In this book, he gives practical advice on how anyone with a passion for a green living can homestead with less space.
From growing fruits and vegetables, harvesting, baking bread, and preserving food to taking care of farm animals, The Self-Sufficient Life is a comprehensive book amalgamating all the essential details to become a successful homesteader.
4. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead
40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead gives readers detailed and descriptive ideas to create homesteading projects. If you want to homestead but are afraid that you may not possess the required creative skills, this book is a great place to start on your homestead journey.
The author, David Toht very successfully emanates his passion for gardening and construction in this book with easy-to-create DIY projects and clear, pleasing, retro-illustrations. You can follow step-by-step instructions and visual aids to build beehives, coops, and garden structures from scratch.
The book also provides the necessary techniques and tools to install solar power and windmills to generate a safe energy source.
Whether you’re an accomplished gardener or a newbie, 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead is a must-have book to add to your bookshelf. With easy-to-follow guidelines, you can enhance your self-sufficient lifestyle and provide your family with a better healthy life.
5. The Encyclopedia of Country Living
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery is a comprehensive guide to obtaining a self-sustaining lifestyle.
The book has been assisting homesteaders for more than 50 years with its wealth of information. Similar to other top picks it covers all the necessary tips and tricks to grow your farm and goes beyond that. It gives guidelines on how to become more self-sufficient by making skincare products and how to treat your family with home remedies.
The book also covers the subject of cleaning and offers cleaning recipes that are effectively used in the countryside.
It is one of the best books to add to your homestead library and practice tried and tested ways to transform to a greener cleaner lifestyle.
6. The Backyard Homestead
The Backyard Homestead is one of the best homesteading books for beginners as it provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to grow and preserve your self-cultivated produce.
The author Carleen Madigan lived on an organic farm outside Boston, Massachusetts from where she obtained the love and passion for homesteading.
The book’s layout is very clear to understand with step-by-step instructions and visual aids to guide homesteaders on basic garden skills. The garden planning chart with tips on succession planting ensures that you continue to receive maximum produce even through the changing seasons- an essential strategy that not all beginners are aware of.
The book provides answers to a very common issue faced by the average person. Which vegetables to grow and how if you don’t own a yard? It highlights the best bunch to grow on your balcony according to the available space.
Through this book, Carleen Madigan focuses on another essential skill, Homestead cooking. It can open your mind to new ideas on how to pair different ingredients together and create a delicious meal for your loved ones.
7. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook
The Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by The Old Farmer’s Almanac is one of the best gardening books to add to your collection.
The book provides techniques, tips, and advice on how to choose the best plant to grow in your garden with the available resources in hand.
The handbook is the best reference book for any prospective gardener. It lists vegetable groups that pair perfectly together and the plants that can hinder their growth. The guide also lists the importance of testing your soil to start with a solid foundation for your farm life.
The book is one of the best homesteading books to visually motivate readers with its high-quality photos of fresh produce and essential illustrations.
My Favorite Homesteading Book Is…
The above list of books features some of the best homesteading books you need to polish your homesteading skills. However, if you don’t have time to go through several books, I’d recommend you read The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan to kickstart your homesteading journey.
This book covers everything you need to know about starting your own mini-farm and is part of a series, so you can dive in deeper as you refine your skills.
You can find instructions and guides on how to grow your vegetable garden, plant fruits, raise farm animals, and grow grains and herbs to live a self-sufficient life. With these comprehensive instructions, you can transform into a greener cleaner lifestyle.
Additional Homesteading Tools for Getting Started
1. Online Courses: There are many online courses available for homesteaders, ranging from beginner to advanced levels.
2. YouTube Tutorials: Watching tutorials on YouTube can be a very effective way of learning about homesteading techniques and tips.
3. Podcasts: Listening to podcasts can provide an in-depth look into the experiences and knowledge of others who have gone through the process of homesteading before you.
4. Workshops & Seminars: Attending a workshop or seminar gives you access to experts who will provide valuable information and advice, as well as one-on-one help if needed.
5. Mentorship Programs: Many organizations offer mentorship programs in which experienced homesteaders share their knowledge with new learners and help them become successful farmers themselves over time by providing ongoing support, guidance, resources, and encouragement throughout their journey together.
6. Local Meetups & Events: Joining your local meetup group or attending events related to sustainable living is a great way to not only learn but also network with likeminded individuals who have similar interests and passions when it comes to sustainable living practices such as gardening or raising farm animals for food production purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions on Homesteading
What are some homesteading skills?
You can gradually transform into a homesteading lifestyle by learning some basic skills such as:
- Growing your vegetable garden (indoors, on a patio, or in your backyard)
- Taking care of farm animals- milking goats, handling and storing eggs, raising animals for meat
- Learning food preservation techniques
- Cooking food for your family and loved ones
- Baking Bread
- Making Cheese
- Building fencing
- Using home remedies to treat minor injuries
- Creating crafts and handmade items- candle making, soap making, skincare products
Do homesteaders make money?
One of the primary goals of homesteading is to generate enough produce that minimizes spending money on commercial food and products. Once that is achieved they can move forward to their secondary goal- earning money through their mini farm.
The plots of land can be used strategically to formulate homesteading projects that offer a regular stream of income. One way to ensure consistent earnings, no matter how small or large, is to invest in both short-term and long-term ventures.
You can earn money as a homesteader by selling:
- baked goods- bread and biscuits
- honey from your farm bees
- cheese and/or butter
- handmade crafts and candles
- excess fruits and vegetables
- excess dairy items
- fresh herbs
- skincare products
- excess compost
How do you do modern homesteading?
Homesteading originally began in 1862 when an Act was passed to grant citizens a portion of public land. The homesteaders could make a living off the land in turn for a small registration fee.
Since then the term homesteading has adapted to the increasingly fast-paced world with modern homesteading emerging as a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Skills that were once considered necessary for survival have faded in the past decades. Modern homesteading aims to revive these methods along with using renewable energy resources to create a greener future.
The installation of windmills and solar panels has paved the way to a completely off-grid homestead where self-reliance is considered the key to success.
The Bottom Line: Best Homesteading Books
If you want to grow your own food, preserve it, and make your own products, then homesteading is the way to go. Learning the basics of homesteading can be difficult, so it’s important to find reliable resources that give you detailed instructions and tips on how to get started.
The best books for learning about homesteading are those that provide clear step-by-step instructions and resources for new homesteaders.