Are you dreaming of getting started on your homesteading journey?
Maybe you’re eager to start growing your own food and pursuing a more self-sufficient life. I believe the best way to learn to homestead involves just doing it.
Yet during these cold winter days, the best homesteading books provide inspiration.
Here are my thoughts on homesteading books for beginners to help you succeed when you’re getting started homesteading.
Homestead Books on Growing Your Own Food
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
We’ve been interested in food production and trying to secure our food supply for years.
First, with a backyard garden, as well as indoor gardening. We’ve saved tomato seeds, struggled with gardening in a cold climate, and experimented with cold frame gardens too.
Yet each winter, I review my dog-eared gardening books and glean more practical, step-by-step advice for growing our own food to feed our family.
I’d suggest you do the same, whether you’re a weekend homesteader, apartment homesteading, or hoping for an off grid homestead like ours.
Books About Raising Homestead Animals
Every year, we hear about more and more people raising chickens. And back in 2020, we took the plunge and built a DIY chicken coop on our own homestead. Yes, that’s right.
Here in Canada’s subarctic.
Before ordering our first chicks (10 Western Rustics and 10 Barred Rocks), we read up on the best chicken breeds for backyard coops and keeping chickens in general.
We ended up with meat chickens as well as layers - almost 40 in all.
And we did get help from a friend in butchering our chickens at home. Yet first, we read the step-by-step instructions in one of our favorite homesteading books.
We also turned to our books about homesteading for beginners when we ran out of chicken feed. And then again, when we were trying to figure out which chicken supplies we really needed.
The following year, when we decided to raise turkeys, we reviewed our farm and homesteading beginner books once more.
We’ll do the same thing before we add meat rabbits and quail. And if we try our hands at raising farm animals again, I’m sure!
Homestead Books for Beginners
Now, I know that if you’re starting out on your homesteading adventure, you might feel a little overwhelmed.
And maybe even a little lost as you start thinking about the homesteading and survival skills you want to learn.
There are so many things to do to start and maintain a homestead. And finding a good place to start can be difficult.
So if you’re new to homesteading, I’ve put together a guide of my favorite homesteading books that are great books for beginners.
These books break down everything you need to know in order to start homesteading right where you are.
Some of our old favorites include the reference book Encyclopedia of Country Living. A great read, it also includes a wealth of information on self-sufficient living in general.
I also like Storey's Guides to homestead animals.
Our new favorite Joel Salatin title, a comprehensive guide called Polyface Designs is a great book full of DIY projects.
Practical Advice on Backyard Homesteading
These good books are full of practical advice to help today’s backyard homesteader. No matter your experience level, I’m confident you’ll find something on this list to help you get started as a homesteader.
Some of the titles are personal experience pieces and are more reflective of the modern homesteading movement.
Others focus on practical advice for the new backyard homesteader trying to organize their homestead projects.
They include information on basic skills, traditional skills, and general tips on the homesteading lifestyle.
And by the way, if you're trying to get your children interested too, you might like this post on the 15 best children's books about plants.
Whether you have a small farm, just a quarter acre, or you're just dreaming about farm life, there IS a book on this list that can help.
Grab one good book at a time - this is a great way to build your homestead library.
21 Best Homesteading Books for Beginners
Here's our list for 2022 - we'll update it each year if we find new titles that could help in your homesteading journey.
Polyface Designs: A Comprehensive Construction Guide for Scalable Farming Infrastructure
This was one of Dan's Christmas presents and we're going through all the plans and instructions carefully - especially the chicken tractor!
The Women's Heritage Sourcebook: Bringing Homesteading to Everyday Life
A good book to gift the women homesteader wannabes on your lists.
Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides)
One of two well-known homesteading books by Abigail R. Ghering, it's a must-have for beginner homesteaders.
Homesteading From Scratch: Building Your Self-Sufficient Homestead, Start to Finish
Inspired by From Scratch magazine, I particularly liked the fiber arts section. Another good reference book.
The Farm Girl's Guide to Preserving the Harvest: How to Can, Freeze, Dehydrate, and Ferment Your Garden's Goodness
I know her as Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making, and I was thrilled to find her book on preserves - including 30 recipes.
The Complete Beginner's Guide to Raising Small Animals Everything You Need to Know About Raising Cows, Sheep, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, and More (Back to Basics: Farming)
Published under the Back to Basics Farming label, this is a comprehensive beginner guide to getting started with typical homestead animals such as chickens, ducks, cows and rabbits.
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees
One of the five-book-series Backyard Homesteading, this volume covers farm animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, and goats.
The Homestead Canning Cookbook: •Simple, Safe Instructions from a Certified Master Food Preserver •Over 150 Delicious, Homemade Recipes •Practical ... Lifestyle (The Homestead Essentials)
Another gorgeous canning cookbook with practical step-by-step instructions for canning and preserving your garden and orchard harvest.
The Do It Yourself Homestead: Build your self-sufficient lifestyle one level at a time
Tessa Zundel was one of the first homestead bloggers to catch my eye. Her straightforward and direct approach to building a self-sufficient lifestyle has kept my attention over all these years!
The Homesteading Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Handbook Series)
Another of Abigail R. Gehring's homesteading books, I find this one is more of a "skim it over coffee" kind of book - and a good gift option for anyone interested in self-sufficiency too....Plus there are a couple of good soup recipes!
The Ultimate Homesteading Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide (for Beginners) to rearing your Livestock, Growing Your Own Food, making your cleaning and Laundry Supply and more, All-Year-Round!
While the Ultimate Homesteading Handbook includes similar basic information to the other homestead books in the list, I especially liked the addition section on oils and drying herbs.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 50th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual for Living off the Land & Doing It Yourself
This is THE classic reference book that has inspired thousands of people to live a more self-reliant lifestyle homesteading and living off the land. Originally published over 50 years ago.
The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook (Old Farmer's Almanac (Paperback))
When you're serious about growing your own food and maximizing production naturally in your backyard vegetable garden, The Old Farmer's Almanac is your best bet. Word of advice: get the flexible binding shiny cover version. Doesn't show the dirt and the pages stay open better.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
As far as I'm concerned, this is the Bible of home canning. In fact, I love it so much that last summer I wrote a book review about The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre
Want to homestead in a really small space? Grab this book to learn self-sufficiency on ¼ acre or less.
Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden
Even if you're living in a downtown townhouse with a postage-stamp-size yard, you can grow your own food by planting vegetables in raised beds.
The Beginner's Guide to Backyard Homesteading: Step-by-Step Instructions for Raising Crops and Animals
I was delighted to see my homesteading blogger collaborator friend Lisa Lombardo's book show up on several "best homesteading books" lists - for good reason. Practical, direct, no-nonsense and actionable tips from the blogger behind The Self-Sufficient HomeAcre.
Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills (Back to Basics Guides)
If I had a dime for every time I've referred to this book. Mine is a dog-eared second-hand copy from Winnipeg's Value Village. You can grab a new copy here!
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
Another classic title from the Back to Basics series - this deserves a spot on your homesteading for beginners book shelf.
40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Creative Homeowner) Fences, Chicken Coops, Sheds, Gardening, and More for Becoming Self-Sufficient
As we soon learned after moving to our own off grid homestead, there's a potentially never-ending list of homestead building projects to keep all of us busy. Here are plans and cheat sheets for 40 of them.