Winter Reading List for Aspiring Homesteaders and Farmsteaders

Winter Reading List for Aspiring Homesteaders and Farmsteaders

Winter is the time for preparing for the year ahead, and it’s a great time to catch up on your reading, too. If you’ve been dreaming about starting your homestead or farmstead, this reading list will arm you with the knowledge and inspiration you need to get started!

Curating this selection of books was challenging because there are so many that I love from our shelves. But I made a concerted effort to choose those that I found myself reaching for most often over the years. You know, the books that really stick with you.

{ Related: Going From Homestead to Farmstead }

I’ve organized this collection into four categories:

  1. Inspiring Stories of Homesteaders/Farmsteaders: These are real-life stories written by folks who have followed their dreams and built the life they wanted. If you want to be inspired, any of these is sure to do the trick.
  2. Growing Vegetables: Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been growing for years, these titles are helpful for creating an abundant garden. You can grow a few hobby crops or an entire farm full of produce with the guidance in these books.
  3. Growing Flowers: Create a backyard cut flower oasis, or start a profitable flower farm–the choice is yours! These books will help you increase your knowledge of growing, harvesting, arranging, and (if you like) selling cut flowers.
  4. Practical Homesteading Advice: It doesn’t matter if you’re in the “dreamer” stage, or you’ve already taken the leap of faith to start your own homestead, these selections offer expert advice and step-by-step guidance for how to live a simple life of self-sufficiency.

Winter is the perfect time of year to consume books and knowledge that will help you build and create exactly the life you want to live this year.

But, beware!

The knowledge you will acquire from reading books is helpful, but it’s no substitute for diving in and getting your hands dirty. Use these books to help you understand the basics, but then, take the leap and start experimenting!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, and I have received no compensation for sharing anything that follows. Some links within this blog may be affiliate links, and I might earn a commission if you make a purchase through that link. This usually amounts to cents, not dollars, and helps to support the projects featured on this blog. I only recommend products from companies that I have found to be trustworthy. Read my full disclosure here.

At Home in the Woods by Bradford and Vena Angier

At Home in the Woods: Living the Life of Thoreau Today

By Bradford and Vena Angier

In this true story, two city dwellers from Boston decide to leave the comforts of their life for a remote area of British Columbia in 1947. With just some books and a few tools, the couple taught themselves how to build a homestead and live off the land. This book is sure to inspire you to follow your dreams!

The Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing

The Good Life

By Scott and Helen Nearing

The Nearings left their economically comfortable lifestyle in New York City in the 1930s to create an organic farmstead in Vermont, and later, Maine. From constructing stone buildings to growing nearly all of their own food, this real life duo are commonly considered the originators of the “back-to-the-land” movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They have inspired generations of people to pursue simple living and a rural lifestyle, and they are sure to inspire the same for you.

The Growing Season by Sarah Frey

The Growing Season

By Sarah Frey

This is the real-life story of a young woman who saved her family’s farm through grit and resilience. Once on the brink of foreclosure, Frey Farms is now one of the largest produce growers in the country thanks to Sarah’s ingenuity and courage.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener's Handbook

The Old Farmer’s Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

By Old Farmer’s Almanac

Whether you’re a beginning gardener, or you’ve been growing for years, this handbook is packed with expert advice to grow your best garden. Containing in depth guidance for growing 32 vegetables, as well as charts, tables, and pages to track your own garden details, this is a must-have on your bookshelf.

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

All New Square Foot Gardening

By Mel Bartholomew

This is THE book for the home gardener! In just a 4×4-foot space, you can grow food at home all season long, and Bartholomew will teach you exactly how to do it. Expert advice and detailed step-by-step instructions make it easy to grow, even if you have no previous experience. Even if you’ve been growing for years, you will find that Mel’s techniques can increase your yields and reduce your effort, leaving more time to enjoy your garden.

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron and Jennifer Kujawski

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

By Ron and Jennifer Kujawski

If you would like step-by-step instructions for exactly what to do in the garden and when to do it, this is the book for you. The Kujawskis are a father-daughter duo who have years of experience growing. Their practical guide includes weekly to-do lists, charts, and how-to illustrations that will help you complete every garden chore right on time.

Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler

Cool Flowers

By Lisa Mason Ziegler

If you want to grow a cut flower garden with ease, hardy annuals, or “cool flowers”, are the way to do it. This book summarizes generations of knowledge about flower gardening in an easy to read book. Featuring in-depth details for 30 flower varieties, you will be able to grow an incredible flower garden that will bloom all season long.

Growing Flowers by Niki Irving

Growing Flowers

By Niki Irving

For anyone seeking more knowledge about creating and tending a flower garden, this book offers a wonderfully inspiring introduction to the world of floraculture. Irving shares advice from her own 9-acre flower farm for growing naturally and sustainably, as well as harvesting and arranging your blooms.

The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski

The Flower Farmer

By Lynn Byczynski

If you think you might want to grow flowers as a cash crop, this book will become your flower farm bible. Considered THE guide for growers to turn their love of flowers into a profitable business, you’ll find information for everything from crop selection to growing, harvesting, arranging, and marketing your blooms. This book is required reading for anyone considering growing flowers for profit.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

The Encyclopedia of Country Living

By Carla Emery

This is the 50th anniversary edition of this 1,000-page book covering basically any topic you might possibly need to know to live off the land. If you could only buy one homesteading book, this is the one you would want.

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

The Backyard Homestead

By Carleen Madigan

Imagine being able to grow all the food you need on just one-quarter acre of land. This book will teach you how to do it! You don’t need a whole lot of space to provide for your family, and even the urban homesteader will find valuable advice and guidance in this book.

Country Wisdom and Know-How

Country Wisdom & Know-How

By the Editors of Storey Publishing

Covering a little bit of everything from gardening to crafts, and cooking to herbal remedies, this book contains advice and instructions on 200 topics related to self-sufficiency and DIY living. This is the handbook for living off the land and building your homestead lifestyle!

A vignette of books and vintage decor

Let these books inspire you, but…

I love to read, and I love that books can help us grow our knowledge about every part of life. But the thing is, they’re not a substitute for actually living.

You can read every book every written about swimming, but until you jump in the water, you know nothing.

The same is true for starting your homestead or farmstead. I curated this collection of titles in hopes that it would give you inspiration and basic know-how for the life you want to create.

But I hope you won’t stop there.

If there’s a life you’re dreaming about building, start now. Start small if you have to. But just start. These books should only be a jumping off point for the real life adventures that you are meant to have.

Ready to dig in and grow something beautiful?

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The Top 12 Must-Read Books for Every Aspiring Homesteader or Farmsteader

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