A book, cup, and flowers on wooden table outdoors

At the core of homesteading, the ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle is growing your own food. Today, even those living in inner-city apartments can rent their own garden plot or participate in community garden programs. Gardening for personal consumption is an eco-friendly and healthy movement sweeping the nation.

Food grown au naturel is always preferred — organic gardening establishes exceptionally fertile soil and is otherwise great for the planet. Growing food organically focuses on sustainability, removing synthetic fertilizers, and avoiding toxic pesticides. Organic gardeners use natural materials like compost and techniques such as crop rotation to create a flourishing garden.

Are you itching to put your green thumb to work this spring? Both experts and novices will find inspiration and guidance in these five organic gardening books:

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener

By Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis, and Ellen Phillips

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningWhen in doubt, grab Rodale’s. This book belongs on the shelf of any proficient organic gardener. Novices will love its accessible advice on all things plants, and those already adept will find inspiration in the photos of the latest garden trends.

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia has earned its title — it’s the go-to resource for organic gardeners everywhere. All your burning gardening questions will be answered in just one volume.

The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens: Simple Steps for Healthy, Happy Hens

By Kathy Shea Mormino

The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard ChickensThe concept of organic gardening doesn’t exclude livestock. Chickens are a great addition to an organic garden — they naturally get rid of pests, provide important nutrients, and even turn over fertile soil by scratching. The two go hand in hand. If you are an organic gardener, consider adding chickens to the mix.

The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens is a great resource for those looking to raise chickens. She’ll turn you into a chicken expert with in-depth lessons on feeding, housing, flock health, and more.

Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden

By Deborah L. Martin

Rodale's Basic Organic GardeningAre you just thinking about dipping your (hopefully) green thumb into the world of organic gardening? When it comes to getting started on the right foot, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is the perfect guide to steer you toward success. You’ll learn how to lay out your garden, where to dig, and plenty of handy tips and tricks to use along the way. There’s no better resource for those just starting out.

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web

By Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

Teaming with MicrobesHealthy soil is the key to organic gardening. Maintaining a robust underground ecosystem full of worms, insects, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms will provide a flourishing garden in turn.

In Teaming with Microbes, Lewis and Lowenfels walk you through the science behind it all, revealing fascinating insights on organic gardening.

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

By Brett L. Markham

Mini FarmingTaking a big, juicy bite of your prized homegrown tomato is an otherworldly experience. There’s no reason to miss out just because of your property size — in fact, you can become self-sufficient and earn extra income with less than one acre of land.

Organic gardens only need a quarter of an acre to thrive, according to Markham. Mini Farming is guaranteed to teach you how to create your own mini-farm. It even covers topics in farm planning, canning your extras, and crop rotation — all essentials for self-sufficiency.

This article was originally published on March 8, 2018.

By Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.