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Homesteading Books: Your Guide to 30 of the Absolute Best

Do you have an interest in herb gardening or preserving food? If you’re still undecided on your homesteading passion, you may need some inspiration and guidance on factors like size and budgeting.

Wherever you are on your homesteading journey, these are the books you can’t do without!

1. The Homesteading Handbook

Author Abigail Gehring lives on a 19th-century farmstead in Vermont that she has restored, and it’s there with her family that she has poured her time into keeping chickens, growing an organic garden, handcrafting items, and more to bring us this informative guide.

This is a great springboard into understanding more about each area of homesteading and presents beginners with a variety of projects to get started.

2. The Ultimate Self-Sufficiency Handbook

This follow-up handbook by Gehring focuses specifically on helping homeowners take gentle steps toward becoming more self-reliant. 

Those aspiring to live off-grid will find the step-by-step guides on bread-baking, candle-making, carpentry, and general guidance on raising animals very helpful, while intermediate homesteaders say they have gleaned new tips to try – everything from canning to starting a vineyard.

3. The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Carla Emery’s 30-year-plus experience as a homeschooling, goat-keeping, harvest-preserving mom of seven in rural Idaho has made this a richly informative manual for both beginner and advanced homesteaders.

This revised 50th-anniversary edition runs the gamut from bee-keeping and yarn-spinning to homemade herbal remedies for the whole family.

Some fans even claim that – come the apocalypse – they’ll feel assured with this book by their side. High praise indeed!

4. Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century

If old-school homesteading isn’t for you and you simply want to learn how to become more self-reliant in your current circumstances, father and son authors Dick and James Strawbridge share their tips on how to get back to simplicity in the modern world.

From making your own plant-based milk to getting comfortable with foraging wild produce and cutting back on plastic use, this is a great guide for those wanting to make impactful lifestyle changes in a smaller, contemporary homestead.

5. The Self-Sufficient Life and How To Live It

If you’d love to live off-grid but feel anxious about making it a reality, this manual could be the confidence boost you need.

Dubbed a “pioneer in the self-sufficiency movement,” author John Seymour pens this passionate manifesto on how to realistically become more self-sufficient, even if you can’t move to the country.

Seymour’s 40 years of experience covers everything from brewing beer and chopping wood correctly to raising and butchering livestock, leaving you confident you can make it on your own.

6. Back To Basics: A Complete Guide To Traditional Skills

Another one by Abigail Gehring – this time a stripped-back guide to homesteading for those wanting to learn about the fundamental aspects, such as selecting the most suitable plot of land for starting your homestead and how to power and heat your property efficiently.

Gehring also includes more bite-sized tasks and projects for the hobbyist to try with sections on practicing household crafts and skills before you take the plunge.

7. The Weekend Homesteader

Do you know you want to become a homesteader at some point but can’t conceive how you can possibly fit it all in with your current circumstances? Author Anna Hess was right where you are now.

This handy little guide is made for aspiring homesteaders with only a few hours to spare from full-time jobs and hectic schedules.

Hess details tons of exciting quick-to-achieve projects categorized by month so you can make that first step at any time without becoming overwhelmed!

8. New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency

Another valuable offering by homesteading expert John Seymour, this revised edition of his guide to green living for novice and experienced farmers alike has been described as “every bit as authoritative as it is accessible” by British chef and environmentalist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The gorgeous illustrations throughout and broken-down beginner-friendly instructions on skills like working with metal, wood, and leather and utilizing wind power are hard to beat.

9. Storey’s Basic Country Skills

The popularity of this non-revised book from 1999 is a testament to the timeless guidance on offer by husband and wife authors John and Martha Storey.

Drawing on their country roots and decades of experience, the Storeys provide an exhaustive list of essential country life skills with beginner-friendly instructions on things like leading a horse and cleaning a fish to building the best chicken coop or heating your home with wood.

10. The Homesteading Handbook: The Essential Beginner’s Homestead Planning Guide for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle

If the idea of drawing up plans for your homestead brings you out in a cold sweat, this gentle easing into the self-sufficient life by Kelly Reed holds your hand, so to speak, by outlining the best homesteading practices and advice to help you avoid as many beginner pitfalls as possible.

Reed recommends the best US states to live for forgoing off-grid, how to cope with medical emergencies in isolated areas, and much more.

11. The Rooted Life

New for March 2022, certified permaculture expert Justin Rhodes brings you his love letter to growing food organically, borne from a personal struggle with systemic illness and the desire to provide his household with wholesome food.

This beautifully detailed guide covers gardening plans, involving your children in veggie growing, and generally improving your connection with food, regardless of space or budget.

12. Homesteading by Abigail Gehring

Another great read from her Back to Basics series, Gehring presents this guide to homesteading in your own backyard with suggestions for lifestyle changes both big and small that you can implement whether you aim to go fully off-grid or would like to be greener at home.

There are full instructions on keeping chickens, starting a container garden, making your own soap, and more!

13. Homesteading by Dion Rosser

Rosser’s comprehensive guide focuses on the planning aspect and ways of getting the ball rolling on your homesteader ambitions if you’re completely new to it all.

There are no pictures or How-To sections in Rosser’s guide, but she fills the book with segments on the most essential skills, the biggest homesteading mistakes, 15 homesteading income ideas, and much more.

14. The Homesteading Encyclopedia

Author Amy Brooks’ experience of raising livestock and growing fruit and vegetables on her small-scale farm in Wisconsin has given her an insight into starting out with what you have.

Forget owning acres of land – if you live in a teensy apartment, Brooks encourages you to start with a few container plants and become familiar with gardening before working your way up to planting fruit trees and other self-sufficient projects when you have the space.

15. The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living

Ultimate Guide is right – this covers many areas that most beginner homesteading books don’t touch upon when it comes to living a more independent lifestyle – from growing a successful winter garden to making a solar oven and delivering a baby!

As an expert on food policy and sustainability, author Nicole Faires has a deep focus on long-term survival in this info-packed introduction.

16. The Essential Guide To Self-Sufficient Living

With the cute illustrations, clear photos, and step-by-step guides on everything from making yogurt and nontoxic cleaning products to the best way of repelling garden pests and developing heirloom skills, Abigail Gehring knocks it out of the park once more with this 2021 guide to self-sufficiency.

Even long-time homesteaders are bound to discover a new skill with this one!

17. The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Whether you’re still trying your hand at basic homesteading skills or you’re a committed prepper with radical survivalism on the brain, this hugely informative manual will satisfy all knowledge levels.

Author Ben Falk packs this with the right mix of practical info and graphs on things like water security and soil fertility with tips on growing rice in buckets and options for vegetable storage, plus much more.

18. Escape the City

The passion for homesteading pours out in this humorous book by novelist and self-confessed “hobo farmer” Travis J.I. Corcoran.

He lets you in on his many mistakes with homesteading, plus info about breeding sheep, farm-to-table recipes, and hundreds of other need-to-know subjects.

Be sure to pair this up with Escape the City Vol. 2 as Corcoran often refers to topics related to future segments.

19. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

There are admittedly too many homesteading volumes aimed at multi-acre homesteaders – not this guide.

Author Brett L. Markham resides on a mini-farm in New Hampshire and shares all his tricks of the trade when it comes to farming on a small scale.

Everything from suggesting inexpensive and efficient alternatives to things like composting, irrigation, saving seeds, and appropriate planting techniques is covered.

20. Backyard Homesteading, Second Revised Edition: A Back-to-Basics Guide for Self-Sufficiency

No matter how small your backyard, life-long gardener and repairman David Toht wants you to succeed in this award-winning guide to becoming a more productive and self-reliant urban homeowner.

Toht details how to raise chickens for eggs or meat and the laws and regulations for keeping livestock, plus how to produce home-grown berries, nuts, herbs, fruit, and veggies with limited space and resources.

21. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead

Another valuable homesteader’s manual by David Toht, this hands-on book contains 40 homesteading projects big and small complete with easy-to-read directions and clear pictures throughout.

From building sheds, fences, and beehives to installing hydroponics systems and solar panels, you’ll find a project suited to your budget and backyard space!

22. The Beginner’s Guide To Backyard Homesteading

With her decades-long experience running urban, suburban, and rural farms, author Lisa Lombardo has amassed invaluable tips on the best grains to grow, the best poultry to keep, and so forth, and she takes the time to explain the possible issues with each.

You’ll also find cost breakdowns and the monthly goals associated with each homesteading project to help you feel in control of your plans.

23. Backyard Homesteading All-in-One

This “homesteading for dummies” manual consists of a whopping five books in one and contains all the techniques and expert advice you could ask for on the subjects of creating a garden, preserving, growing your own food, raising livestock, and building the necessary structures.

A great introduction for wary homesteaders-to-be!

24. Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living

If you long not only to reduce your environmental impact but to embrace a slightly simpler way of life in your urban setting, this compact guide to re-learning skills we’ve long forgotten will be a refreshing read.

Lose yourself in expert tips on things like growing tomatoes in barrels, raising a small flock of chickens, and building your own composting toilet!

25. The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion

Herb growing is one of the best homesteading skills you can learn as a beginner, so if this is where you’d like to start, this beautifully illustrated guide will provide all you need to know.

Discover how to grow, harvest, and preserve your favorite herbs as well as how to use them in various recipes, essential oils, and salves and for creating a supply of holistic medicine for your livestock!

26. The Modern Homestead Garden

In this short but informative guide, author Gary Pilarchik emphasizes the importance of starting small with the landscape and resources afforded to you while you develop your homesteader’s skills.

With a background in gardening and mental health, Pilarchik makes a direct connection with wellness and living sustainably and encourages others to achieve goals at their own pace, whether this is learning to preserve food or preparing the best planting bed.

27. Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables

Learning to can and store your food is an invaluable homesteading skill, and this well-loved book from 1991 proves that traditional, natural methods of storage without the use of refrigeration are hard to beat.

Husband and wife authors Mike and Nancy Bubel detail how to build your city or country-based root cellar, which fruit and vegetable varieties store best, and the individual storage needs of over 100 garden crops.

28. Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork

If you’re serious about raising and butchering livestock, you’ll want to do it right – not only to ensure a thorough job that results in quality meat but also so that you will always do so in a humane, respectful manner.

Homestead magazines describe this comprehensive manual as containing “college course levels of depth” compared with lesser How-To style guides.

29. Preserve Everything

Homesteaders with an interest in food preservation will go giddy for this compact bible on everything you ever needed to know on the subject.

Smoking, salting, dehydrating, freezing, fermenting, pickling, and more – expert forager and preserver Leda Meredith walks you through each technique with novice-friendly guidelines and tons of simple recipes.

30. 5 Acres & A Dream The Book

Part memoir, part gentle guide – in this book, author Leigh Tate shares her honest experience of running a homestead with husband Dan as a couple of empty-nesters seeking a slower, more sustainable way of life.

This isn’t a manual in any shape or form, but to read about the many struggles, mistakes, and joys of establishing a homestead in middle age is an inspiring, eye-opening experience for homesteaders of any age and skill level.

Conclusion

Setting up a homestead can require a lot of planning and dedication – thankfully many of these inspirational project-packed guides can help the process seem a little less daunting, and even fun!

Whether you’re just starting out or want to take serious steps toward off-grid living, you’ll find the techniques and tips you need from the above companions.