10 Must-Have Homestead Books for Beginners

Jane Marsh - March 6, 2023

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What comes to mind when you think about going back to the basics? For many people, homesteading is dream living. Amid rising climate change awareness, increasing food recalls, and a global pandemic, more individuals are packing their bags, investing in a few homestead books, and moving to a farm. 

Books are an excellent resource when you’re transitioning to homestead life. Here are 10 must-have homestead books for beginners to get you started.

1. The Backyard Permaculture Homestead for Beginners by Laura Garrett

Permaculture expert Laura Garrett has laid the foundation for creating a self-sufficient, sustainable homestead right outside your back door. The Backyard Permaculture Homestead for Beginners covers the homesteading principles, how to grow your food, reduce your carbon footprint, conserve resources, and create a habitat for local wildlife.

Regardless of the size of your homestead, this book provides helpful tips and inspiration to turn your backyard into the homestead you know it can be. 

2. 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead by David Toht

You’re living on a homestead — now what? Now it’s time to get to work with these 40 neat projects for building a homestead in your backyard. David Toht breaks down various projects — from constructing raised garden beds to building chicken coops to installing a hydroponic system — in a straightforward step-by-step guide.

Toht approaches this homestead book with simplicity and budget-friendliness for every beginner homesteader. You won’t find better homestead books than this one when getting your homestead off the ground. 

3. The Homestead Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

Save money and learn the basics of canning from a professional cook and master of food preservation with The Homestead Canning Cookbook. 

Georgia Varozza shows you how to can your produce, meat, sauces, and soups correctly, including what equipment you need, instructions on different canning methods and ways to work the process into your schedule. 

4. The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals by Gail Damerow

Poultry was associated with 1,772 Americans with salmonella poisoning in 2020 — 24% were of children five and under. Uncertainty around the safety of our food system had more people investing in backyard chickens.

Of course, raising farm animals on your homestead is a challenging feat. Cows can eat six to 11 hours daily, while horses, goats, and sheep are also significant grazers — that means you need to monitor your land carefully. 

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals details everything beginner homesteaders need to know about having animals on the farm, from selecting suitable breeds to producing fresh milk, eggs, and protein to feed their families.

5. Beekeeping for Beginners by Shawn Baxter

Climate change, inadequate farming practices, and human activity have hindered bee survival — yet, bees are crucial for a healthy planet and people. Bees produce honey — one teaspoon contains 5,000 protective enzymes that protect you from infection.

Bees are also pollinators, ensuring abundant agricultural yields to feed a hungry population. Needless to say, you’ll want plenty of bees on your homestead. 

In Beekeeping for Beginners by Shawn Baxter, you’ll learn the basics of raising healthy bees on the farm. From how to build a beehive to tending to bees safely and harvesting honey, this book has everything you need to become an experienced beekeeper. 

6. The Family Garden Plan by Melissa K. Norris

Pioneer living is a family affair, which is why you can’t collect homestead books without including The Family Garden Plan by Melissa K. Norris. Norris is a fifth-generation homesteader and podcast host that guides you through planning, planting, and harvesting a sustainable garden to feed your household.

In addition to your garden guide, Norris provides customizable worksheets, charts, checklists and monthly task reminders to ensure you grow impressive yields. 

7. Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living by Rachel Kaplan

Even eco-friendly city dwellers can dip their toes into homesteading with Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. Although urbanites may lack the traditional farm setting, this book delivers helpful tips and real-life stories about urban farming and reducing your food footprint. 

This homestead book covers sourcing foods locally, self-reliance and sustainability with a guide to implementing a homestead practice in a small space. 

8. Forget The Pharmacy – Grow Your Own Medicine by Jenni Rempel

Your homestead will do more for you than supply food — it also provides a source of medicine and health. Jenni Rempel provides a simple step-by-step guide to growing 65 medicinal herbs in Forget the Pharmacy – Grow Your Own Medicine.

Homesteaders will be treated to 10 herbal medicine recipes they can create in their kitchen, while each purchase comes with a downloadable chart depicting each herb and its common aids.

9. Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills by Abigail Gehring

Few homestead books have been as popular as Abigail Gehring’s Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills — probably because it details every essential homesteading skill imaginable for the beginner farmer.

Back to Basics contains hundreds of guides, project ideas and illustrations to inspire your adaptation to homesteading. Examples of various projects include the following:

  • Raising chickens
  • Using plant pigments to dye fabrics
  • Basic carpentry
  • Farm-to-table recipes
  • Constructing a log cabin

Of course, urban homesteaders will also find practical tips and exciting projects to try in his book as they aspire to farm life and eco-friendly habits. 

10. The Seed Saving Bible by Remo Gentry

Beginner farmers may not fully grasp the importance of seed saving on their backyard homestead. Considering your harvest becomes your primary food source, it’s best to be prepared for uncertain times — meaning you’ll want a stash of seeds to continue growing healthy plants for your family.

The Seed Saving Bible by Remo Gentry walks you through the basics of seed saving, including propagating plants, proper harvesting techniques, fertilization, seed storage, and indoor and outdoor planting.

Gentry also defines hybrid seeds and explains the advantages and disadvantages of using hybrid seeds on your homestead. You’ll also learn the characteristics of healthy seeds to determine what’s worth saving. 

Homesteading Guidance With Homestead Books

These 10 must-have homestead books were created with you in mind — a beginner homesteader eager to learn sustainable farming techniques and self-sufficiency. Purchase these books and start preparing for a fulfilling life on the farm.

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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.