Yesterday, I shared some of my favorite blogs. What would we do without them now that we’re used to online information at our fingertips? Yet, although I do a lot of research online, I still love the feel of a book in my hands. Most of my library (now at over 900 books) contains non-fiction books, and I am adding great homesteading and gardening books to my shelves. Today, I’d like to share with you a few of the books I’ve referenced quite a bit over the past two years while beginning my homestead, as well as a couple of books that are waiting for me to take my next step.
This list of books doesn’t contain all my homesteading and gardening books, but they are some of my favorites.
MY FAVORITE HOMESTEADING BOOKS:
Country Living & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land by the editors of Storey Publishing’s Country Wisdom Boards. A gift from my best friend, who knew my heart’s desire, this was my first homesteading book. Given to me while I still lived in an apartment on the outskirts of the city of Charleston, this book helped me keep my homesteading dream alive. Now that I’m living on my own land, I’ve pulled this book from the shelf many times to look up information on canning and preserving, baking home-made bread, making pickles, etc. Everything you’d like to know about homesteading is in this book!
The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Want on Just a Quarter Acre edited by Carleen Madigan. When I first moved into my new home, my beau gave me this book. My house sits on a third of an acre, so I figured this book was just perfect. I have used this book to plan my crop rotation, learn the best ways to get the most food from the space I have, and get ideas for my future chicken coop. The book also includes recipes, information on raising farm animals on a small plot of land, how to make your own cheese and ice cream, and more. My cover is beginning to look worn from taking it off the shelf so often!
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow. Another gift from my beau, this book is helping me realize that it is possible for me to raise my own backyard chickens. A best-selling classic on chicken raising, this book contains everything you need to know about chickens – from building a coop to feeding to health management to egg laying and more. This is on my shelf as I await my next big step in homesteading.
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally by Lisa Steele. Yesterday, I pre-ordered this book written by one of my favorite bloggers. (See yesterday’s post and Fresh Eggs Daily.) If this book is anything like her site, I will have a fantastic resource on my shelf for raising chickens! It comes out October 15th, so I’m looking forward to receiving it.
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte. Most gardeners know that planting marigolds around tomatoes and peppers is beneficial for those vegetable plants. But that is just one example of companion planting. This book gives information on flowers and vegetables that go well together as well as what vegetables to plant together for maximum insect resistance and growing aid. The author also notes what plants do NOT go well together. A proponent of crop rotation, the author has great advice on what plants should and should not follow each other in the garden.
The Fruit Gardener’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit and Nuts in the Home Garden by Lewis Hill and Leonard Perry. Besides my vegetable garden, I’m growing raspberries, figs, and pomegranates. On the list for next month’s planting are apples and possibly grapes. In the spring, I want to plant strawberries and almonds. As you can see, I needed a handy reference guide for growing fruit and nuts, and this is it. It has great photos along with information on growing, harvesting, pruning, cultivars, etc. If it’s a fruit or nut, this book covers it.
Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy. After attending a webinar the author did for Seed Savers Exchange, I ordered her book. (See my review of that webinar here.) If you want something that will kick your imagination into high gear for your urban homestead, this book is it. The author gives ways to grow food beautifully all over your property, not just in the backyard. I never would have thought to grow certain vegetables with flowers, yet she makes a great case for it being beneficial as well as pretty. The author also shows how to design your landscaping using recyclable materials. With great ideas, before and after photographs, and a plant and flower reference guide in the back, this book is worth every penny of its purchase price! (Stay tuned for updates on how I use some of her ideas on my own homestead.)
The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, and Don Mercer. As the title suggests, this is a great resource for learning how to dehydrate the bounty from your garden or farmers market. With over 400 recipes included, this book also teaches you how to rehydrate your food and how to cook with it. This is another book that will be dog-eared and worn very soon.
What are your favorite homesteading and gardening books? Let me know in the comments below. I just may add that book to my expanding shelves.