1. Home

Top 10 Must-Read Small Farming and Homesteading Books

By

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

1. The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

This classic book covers many aspects of basic farm life, including gardening, food preparation, and buying land. In true encyclopedic fashion, you'll find information on keeping bees, culturing yogurt, baking bread, and artificially inseminating a turkey. If you had to get just one book on how to farm, this would be it.

2. Barnyard in Your Backyard by Gail Damerow

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 breed might be more useful.

3. Keep Chickens! by Barbara Kilarski

An excellent introduction to keeping chickens for eggs, especially appropriate for the urban or suburban farmer. Kilarski's writing is engaging and funny, but still chock-full of useful information. Feeding, coop and henhouse design, and egg collecting and washing is covered.

4. You Can Farm by Joel Salatin

Subtitled "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise," this book by the acclaimed owner of Polyface Farm in Virginia is just that. Salatin describes his own experience in this book, teaching by example and inspiring readers. The focus here is on a profit-making enterprise, but there's lots of great information for small farmers who don't want to bring products to market. There is a lot here that will challenge your ideas and assumptions about farming and agriculture.

5. Small-Scale Livestock Farming by Carol Ekarius

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.

6. The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour

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; crafts and skills. Similar to [i]The Encyclopedia of Country Living,[/i] this book seeks to share information about many aspects of the homesteading/self-sufficient life.

7. The Contrary Farmer by Gene Lodgson

Focusing on cottage farming for enjoyment as well as profit, Lodgson's book 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.

8. Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman

Coleman 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.

9. Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel

Simple, step-by-step advice for creating winter storage for vegetables and fruits.

10. Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy

Subtitled: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners. This book details how to save seeds for over 160 vegetables, including detailed information about each vegetable. All techniques are thoroughly researched and tested. [i]Seed to Seed[/i] is the quintessential reference book for learning how to save seeds from your garden.
  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Small Farms
  4. Reviews and Resources
  5. Essential Small Farm Books - Top 10 Must-Read Small Farming and Homesteading Books

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.