Resource Books for Small Farms & Homesteads

This list of recommended books for small farms and homesteads makes a great start to your library.

Ashworth, S., and Whealy, K., Seed to Seed
Subtitle for this book: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners details how to save seeds for over 160 vegetables, including detailed information about each vegetable. All techniques are thoroughly researched and tested.

Bartholomew, M., All New Square Foot Gardening
If you desire to grow more vegetables--and flowers in less space then the All New Square Foot Gardening is for you. The author takes you through his proven Square Foot Gardening method adopted by satisfied gardeners for more than twenty-five years. Now in the All New Square Foot Gardening, the author unveils ten new improvements that save you more time and more money—all with a lost work.

Bubel, M. and N., Root Cellaring
The authors outline simple, step-by-step advice for creating winter storage for vegetables and fruits.

Coleman, E., Four-Season Harvest
The author asks, “Why stop gardening at the end of summer?” With the techniques and strategies outlined in this helpful book, you can extend your gardening season significantly, no matter how far north you live.

Damerow, G., Barnyard in Your Backyard
This book covers the basics on raising chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, and cattle (both dairy and beef). It's a great introduction to a variety of animals. For more in-depth information on a specific breed, the Storey Guide for that particular breed might be more useful.

Ekarius, C., Small-Scale Livestock Farming
This book is great for farmers just getting started. With a heavy emphasis on determining what you want from your farming life and planning your farm enterprise, it helps small farmers build a strong foundation for their farm. It also covers choosing livestock, understanding housing, fencing and feeding needs, breeding, and market strategies. This book takes a grass-based, grazing approach to farming.

Emery, C., The Encyclopedia of Country Living
This classic book covers many aspects of basic farm life, including gardening, food preparation, and buying land. Also included is information on keeping bees, culturing yogurt, baking bread, and artificially inseminating a turkey.

Jeavons, J and Cox, C., The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, A backyard guide to healthy soil and higher yields
This book presents basic principles of gardening and classic in concise, easy-to-understand terms accessible to even a beginning backyard gardener. You’ll learn to view your garden as its own mini-ecosystem and to foster the soil’s life-giving cycles of nourishment and replenishment. Sustainable gardening is an essential environmental solution for the new millennium, and this book helps you contribute to that solution—in your own backyard.

Kilarski, B., Keep Chickens!
This is an excellent introduction to keeping chickens for eggs, especially appropriate for the urban or suburban farmer. Feeding, coop and henhouse design, and egg collecting and washing is covered.

Lodgson, G., The Contrary Farmer
The focus of this book is on cottage farming for enjoyment as well as profit. The author serves as an antidote to "traditional" family farming on a large scale. This book is inspirational while teaching some basics, and is an entertaining and worthwhile read for anyone getting started with a farming venture.

Salatin, J., You Can Farm
Subtitled "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise," this book is by the acclaimed owner of Polyface Farm in Virginia. The author describes his own experience with the focus on a profit-making enterprise, but there's also a lot of great information for small farmers who don't want to bring products to market.

Seymour, J., The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It
Through a British lens, this book covers the basics of homesteading and small farming for urbanites new to rural living. Topics covered include: food from the garden, animals, the fields and the wild; in the dairy; in the kitchen; brewing and wine-making; energy and waste; and crafts and skills. This book also shares information about many aspects of the homesteading and self-sufficient lifestyle.

Smith, E.D., The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible
The author outlines his high yield W-O-R-D system for all North American Gardening Regions to growing organic vegetables. The (W-O-R-D)… Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, and Deep soil techniques are outlined.