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There are so many amazing books about homesteading, background farming, micro-farming, urban farming, vegetable gardening, and raising backyard farm animals. Over the years I’ve read so many and kept a bookshelf of reference books to go to when I have questions. Below is a list of some of the my favorites and what I consider the best homesteading books. If you are looking for recommendations for specific topics within homesteading, you can find them in the articles throughout this site.
Am I missing a book? Leave a comment with your favorite book about homesteading or best backyard farming book
The Best Homesteading Books
This is truly one of the best homesteading books and one that I come back to again and again as a reference. It gives a good overview of many different aspects of backyard farming. In addition to information on gardening and raising animals they is also information on preserving the harvest. This book was also the starting point for a whole series and you can find additional books on animals, gardening, planning from Storey Publishing. If you are looking for a good beginner book to get you started this is a great one, but if you have very specific questions or want project plans or specifics about a certain part of homesteading, you may need to get some of the companion books or look for something more specific below.
Another great overview book loaded with information to get you started homesteading. If you are new to these ideas and trying to set up a backyard farm, this book give a great overview on so many topics. I don’t think anything is missing and you learn everything from seed starting to chickens and more in the 400+ pages. After I read through this book, I’ve kept it on a shelf as a quick reference and have gone back countless times for reference.
This book is all about self-sufficiently AND keeping production high in a small space. If you have just a small backyard, or urban space to work with, this is the book for you. It goes into all the topics of backyard farming including raising chickens, gardening and more but doesn’t get into some of the larger animals. It is another good book for providing an overview and a great resource to getting started. If you are looking to go deeper into specific topics, you will need to find a book on one of the specific topics.
This is another great overview of small scale homesteading and provides information on growing vegetables, fruit, and raising backyard animals including chickens, goats and bees. My favorite part of this book is the abundant and good illustrations which is great for us visual people. It has loads of information to get you started and covers things like checking local ordinances for raising chickens that isn’t always covered in other books. Like the last few books listed above, these introduction books are great for opening your mind, giving an overview of the possibilities of backyard homesteading and getting you started on your journey.
This book helps you plan all the aspects of your backyard homestead and helps you avoid some of the beginner mistakes. There is a a lot of information about how to get started backyard farming legally, where to homestead and more that is really helpful when you are just starting out. This is another great reference book although the title of ‘encyclopedia’ is a bit misleading in my opinion since it is not a 1,000 page book written in a reference format. I would definintely recommend adding this to your homesteading library.
This is hands down my favorite book about growing food in your backyard and definitely makes the list as one of the best homesteading books. This book is not an overview or introductory book for backyard farming, but rather a detailed and information packed book for growing your own food. Gaia’s Garden focuses on the idea of gardening with nature and creating a food forest. The permaculture principles in the book dive into creating healthy soil, attracting pollinators and other beneficial animals, collecting water and more. Read this book, then read it again and keep it on your shelf as a constant reference.
The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
If Gaia’s Garden is my favorite book about backyard food gardening, The Holistic Orchard is my go to book for growing fruit in your backyard. This book looks at creating healthy system for growing fruit trees and bushes and includes detailed information about care throughout the year, pruning, grafting, soil health, varieties, planting, and orchard design. Despite diving deep into some complicated topics, the book is easy to read and well organized. We often find ourselves pulling the book off the shelf with each changing season and following the advice through each of the sections.
Urban Homesteading explores how to grow food and increase sustainable practices in the urban setting. This book is slightly different from the books listed above as it is really about using the most of an urban space and focuses on the skills needed to put these practices into action. It is really a whole life approach that includes community building as well as transforming your backyard into a homestead. There are many practical ideas to get you started and even more general ideas to help you with planning your homestead.
This books covers many of the topics in the books above about homesteading and backyard farming, but unlike taking an overview approach, Back to Basics focuses on building towards self-sufficiency and learning traditional skills. The books is packed with practical skills and information and projects to get you moving towards you homesteading goals. The book includes building projects for your home and so many homesteading skills to practice inside your house. This book is especially good if you are limited on outdoor space, yet still want to practice traditional living.
This book gives a wonderful overview of how bring backyard farm animals onto your homestead and is part of The Backyard Homestead series of books. You can find information about raising chickens, ducks, cow, goats, and more with basics on animals care, housing, and breeds. Depending on your homesteading goals, you can use this as a reference book when it’s time to add more animals to your backyard farm.
If you need one more book suggestion, I had to add this book – it doesn’t fit into the category of ‘Best Homesteading book’ since it is more of a story format. It follows the story of Helen and Scott Nearing who leave the city and move to the country in Vermont and then Maine on a journey towards simple living. It won’t tell you how to start a backyard farm but is a great book with some inpsiration!
There are so many other fabulous homesteading books out there that just didn’t quite make the cut on one of the best homesteading books! Please and link to your favorites in the comments!