Questions come up daily on a homestead.
You need solid advice on how to build, grow, and manage your land. Luckily, you aren’t alone. There are tons of books available for homesteaders, covering everything from organic gardening to home medicine.
Remember, information is power. No matter where you are in your journey to self-sufficiency, you can develop your skill set and improve your quality of life with these 17 homesteading books.
Gardening and Growing
How to Create Your Garden: Ideas and Advice for Transforming Your Outdoor Space
By Adam Frost | 256 pages
This book is an excellent reference for those starting a garden from scratch. Rather than focusing on inspiration or ideas, Frost lays out actionable plans for designing and constructing garden space.
You’ll discover step-by-step instructions for mapping, layout, materials, and strategies for building hardscapes and raised beds. With full-page photographs and detailed drawings, the book helps transform homesteading daydreams into food-producing realities.
The Family Garden Plan: Grow a Year’s Worth of Sustainable and Healthy Food
By Melissa K. Norris | 224 pages
This book aims to teach beginner homesteaders how to grow a year’s worth of food sustainably. It’s chocked full of tips for choosing what to plant, when to plant, how to harvest, and even how to protect your garden from pests. It features charts and worksheets for a practical approach, including region-specific details and outlines on how to keep soil healthy for next year’s garden.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead
By Ben Falk | 368 pages
This comprehensive guide to whole-system permaculture designs is based on Falk’s real-world knowledge and hard practice of sustainable gardening. It gives detailed explanations on building and developing regenerative agriculture anywhere, including colder climates where many deem it impractical or impossible.
You’ll discover concrete plans and solid advice in these pages, coming away with a hopeful outlook for your homestead and our planet’s future.
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible
By Edward C. Smith | 352 pages
This practical handbook covers productive food gardening across every region of the US. It lays out a roadmap to achieve high-yield results in any growing zone, advising on soil depth, timing, temperature, germination, and best practices for over 70 herbs and veggies. You’ll learn how to design, arrange, and work your garden for maximum results, discovering top tools and nourishment strategies along the way.
Wild Food and Preservation
Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More
By Leda Meredith | 272 pages
This book explores all the different ways to preserve food for times when your garden may not be as productive. It covers traditional methods like water bath canning, pressure canning, pickling, salting, dehydrating, and smoking.
You’ll get simple breakdowns of complicated processes like fermentation and cheesemaking, discover helpful tips about the gear you need, and learn many mouthwatering recipes for delicious preservation.
Foraging for Survival: Edible Wild Plants of North America
By Douglas Boudreau and Mykel Hawke | 208 pages
If you plan to incorporate foraging on your homestead or are thinking about cultivating native plants, this book provides safe and vetted information you need to know.
It delivers facts about common edible plants, gives pictures for easy identification, and explains how to prepare and cook wild food. You’ll even learn about edible insects and poisonous plants to avoid, which will be helpful in a homestead survival scenario.
Livestock and Animal Husbandry
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals
By Gail Damerow | 360 pages
Raising animals is an integral part of self-sufficiency for many homesteaders, but it can be daunting when you’re just starting. This guide is a great place to learn about the different types of commonly kept livestock, including poultry, bees, beef, rabbits, goats, sheep, and pigs.
It delivers helpful information about choosing breeds, sizing your herd, and providing daily care. With this book, you’ll know how to prepare for the animals’ arrival and introduce them into everyday life, walking away with a solid outline for animal husbandry on your homestead.
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens
By Gail Damerow | 424 pages
Chickens are a go-to livestock choice for homesteaders everywhere, but few realize what raising poultry really entails. This book goes into all the details, helping you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes on your quest to make daily eggs — and occasional drumsticks — a reality.
You’ll learn about different breeds, coups and enclosures, feed, medicine, and more. The guide even goes over chicken communication and behavior, so you can become more in tune with your flock and make decisions based on science.
Polyface Designs: A Comprehensive Construction Guide for Scalable Farming Infrastructure
By Joel Salatin and Chris Slattery, Foreword by Justin Rhodes | 568 pages
This book is for serious homesteaders hoping to make money with their livestock. While it’s a pricey read, it will save you money in the long run with a litany of projects, materials lists, and step-by-step instructions that break down complicated concepts into DIY guides that everyone can understand.
You’ll learn about building enclosures, feeding and watering systems, and more. Combined with inspiration and encouragement from the authors, this knowledge will help you utilize your own land in true homesteader fashion.
Construction and Building
The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects
By Spike Carlson | 296 pages
This book is perfect for homesteaders seeking DIY plans to build their own chicken coops, root cellars, raised garden beds, and other small-scale projects. It breaks everything down into bite-sized chunks of crucial information with enough flexibility to customize a project to your own needs.
These projects are laid out with pictures and diagrams in a compelling and empowering way, making DIY more accessible for homesteaders of any skill level.
Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors
By Chris Magwood | 464 pages
If you’re interested in sustainable building techniques for traditional structures, this book is for you. It gives beginners a clear understanding of different green materials and procedures for building a foundation, frame, roof, and other elements.
The author breaks down each method logically and includes sections on environmental impact, cost, and labor intensity. Ultimately, you’ll walk away with a clear understanding of what will work for you specifically and why it’s most sustainable.
Medicine and Remedies
Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
By Rosemary Gladstar | 224 pages
If you want to achieve tangible results with medicinal herbs, this book is the perfect place to begin. You’ll discover 33 potent plants and how to wildcraft them into medicine with actionable steps. The book is easy to read and doesn’t overload the reader with information. Instead, it outlines specific preparation techniques in a clear, concise manner you can use across multiple herbs.
Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook
By David Werner, Carol Thuman, and Jane Maxwell | 446 pages
This book is an outright necessity for people living on remote homesteads without access to critical care. It outlines illnesses and conditions like shock, snakebites, abscesses, and more, describing how to treat them in a non-medical setting.
It assumes nothing about your knowledge, breaking down emergency procedures in a way anyone can understand and emulate. I would know — I have performed two procedures from this book, saving my partner’s leg in the process. If you want that kind of agency and power on your homestead, pick up your copy ASAP.
Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book of Simple Living and Happiness
By Gary Collins | 192 pages
This book is suitable for anyone who wants to reduce or eliminate energy consumption, explaining simple strategies for achieving your energy goals via small steps. You’ll get a rundown of various alternative energy solutions and the pitfalls of each one, learning how to buy your land, build your off-grid home, and integrate all the modern comforts you crave in a self-sufficient way.
Off Grid Solar Power Simplified
By Nick Seghers | 319 pages
Solar systems are one of the most accessible ways to bring renewable energy onto a homestead. There’s a lot you need to know for designing and building your own system, and this book gives you a digestible breakdown of all the basics.
You’ll come away with a wealth of knowledge on solar configurations, inverters, batteries, and wiring as you discover scalable plans to power everything from a boat lift to a cabin.
The Self-Sufficient Backyard
By Ron and Johanna Melchiore | 266 pages
Not everyone has access to hundreds of acres. This book teaches you how to maximize time, space, and efficiency on a small homestead. You’ll learn how to grow a garden, create rainwater collection systems, generate off-grid electricity, and more. An excellent resource for comprehensive homestead planning, this book is a well-known and thoroughly enjoyable bible for those who aspire to self-sufficiency.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living
By Carla Emery | 928 pages
The Encyclopedia of Country Living is a must-read for anyone preparing to take the homesteading plunge, and many find themselves referencing it daily, years into the process.
Here you’ll find tips on buying your land, making money, and even handling a loss of life on the homestead — among more commonplace cares like planting and cooking. The book features contributions from people all over the country, providing a wealth of knowledge on living remotely and utilizing your own resources to thrive.