It’s been several years since I left the rat race behind to pursue a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle on the farm.

It’s a decision I’ll never regret—almost immediately, I felt my blood pressure and stress levels lower.

But not everything was a walk in the park at first.

Like when we tried our hand at growing a small fruit orchard… but then, cedar rust and thieving squirrels had other ideas.

Or when I planted tomatoes and cabbage in rows next to each other, excited for growing my own fresh food… but then my tomatoes yellowed with blight and disease.

Something that could have prevented our mistakes—research! Learning from others’ wisdoms (and errors) is a great way to ensure success in your own gardening and homesteading journey.

To help you avoid the same mistakes, I’ve compiled a list of 6 books that every gardener should keep on their bookshelf.

For Gardening Beginners

Rodales Basic Organic Gardening

Deborah L. Martin

From planning to planting, growing to picking, this book covers every last question a beginner gardener might have. With this in your backpocket, you’ll be growing the garden of your dreams in no time. Deborah does a great job of teaching newbies all the steps to have a successful first garden.

View the book on Amazon.

For Raised Bed Gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Mel Bartholomew

Learn to grow more food with less space with the third edition of this long-loved work. Mel has been around for years, so be sure to buy his latest edition as he is always honing his craft and adding interesting new topics. His Square Foot Garden Method, in my opinion, is the most productive and easiest to follow of any gardening method.

View the book on Amazon.

For Small Acreage Gardening

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

Brett L. Markham

You don’t need acres of land to grow your own healthy food—and this book will show you how to do it, all on a quarter acre of land. You will not believe how much produce you can gleen off of a ¼  acre—it’s incredible!

View the book on Amazon.

For Easy, Organized Gardening

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

Jennifer Kujawski

Ever wish you could have your weekly gardening tasks listed out, step by step, all growing season long? This book is the uber-organized gardener’s dream come true.

View the book on Amazon.

For Greenhouse Gardening

A Beginners Guide To Growing Fruit and Vegetables All Year Round: Everything You Need To Know About Owning A Greenhouse

Jason Johns

A greenhouse is an invaluable addition to any homestead or farm. We build a temporary greenhouse every year where we grow our spring seedlings prior to planting them in the ground. If you’re interested in adding a greenhouse to your own gardening repertoire, this book is your go-to guide. 

View the book on Amazon.

If you would like to build your own temporary greenhouse, take a look at our Youtube video. Olin shows you, step by step, the best way to build a simple, sturdy and affordable greenhouse.

For In-Ground Gardening

Dirt Rich: How to Experience More Joy & Less Stress Through Sustainable Farm Living

Leigh & Olin Funderburk

And last (but not least, in our minds!)… our own book, Dirt Rich. In it, we tell our story of leaving the corporate world behind for a life of more joy and less stress on our farm. We offer the secrets behind our own methods of in-ground gardening, as well as the ins and outs of sustainable living. If you’ve dreamed of leaving behind the stresses of the 9-to-5 world for a simpler life, this book will inspire you to take action steps to make that dream a reality.

View the book on Amazon or on the online farm store.