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11 Best Books About Survival Gardening (Beginner & Advanced)

Here are our recommendations for the best survival garden books that every prepper, beginner or experienced, should have in their home library.

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Whether you live off grid or you're just an avid prepper that wants to cover all your bases, maintaining a survival garden is one of the best ways to ensure food independence both now and for the uncertain future. 

It doesn't take long to realize that there is actually quite a lot that goes into successfully producing food. Especially if you are starting from scratch and have no idea what you are doing. 

And like most things that we set out to learn, we usually come to realize that the more we know - the more we need to learn. 

It's a good thing that there are some excellent survival gardening books out there!

When you are wondering how you can get more information and details about growing your survival garden successfully, it's only natural to turn to the internet. 

But preppers beware! If SHTF, you probably won't have access to those handy Youtube videos or Reddit forums. 

You need to have books on your shelves to help clear up any doubts.  They'll also keep you inspired to have the most productive survival garden possible.  You'll want books that you can refer back to time and again in your learning process.

Here are our recommendations for the best survival garden books that every prepper should have in their home library.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Gardening Books for Beginners

Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening by David the Good.

If you are just getting started with your survival garden and don't know where to start, we recommend the hugely popular, and with good reason, Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening by David the Good.

This is what we love about it:

  • This guy is funny.  He's got a great sense of humor and uses it to explain all the basic gardening concepts you need to know to get started.
  • It's short and easy to read.
  • He won't overwhelm you with a lot of science.
  • The information is simple and accessible.

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Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway

Another classic gardening book for those of you just getting started is Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway.

This is why we recommend it:

  • It introduces the concepts of permaculture in an easy-to-understand and accessible way.
  • Provides lots of plans and layouts to illustrate concepts.
  • Thoroughly explains the how's and why's of doing things.
  • Is particularly useful for the suburban survival gardener who wants to take advantage of every inch of their property.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our tip:  This book is really long and has a lot of information in it. Read the last chapter first to get a general summary of the contents. Then start back at the beginning.

Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon

Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon is one of the best gardening books out there that every survival gardener should have on their bookshelf. 

This is an amazing book that inspires current and future survival gardeners to make do with less; less water, less compost, less time, and effort.

His philosophy is different from some of the other books on this list, but in practice, is very effective at growing a large amount of healthy food. 

This is what we love about it:

  • He advocates for low input and easy maintenance gardening - perfect for areas with limited water resources.
  • It's written to be understandable for those of you with little to no gardening experience.
  • His 'What to Grow and How to Grow it" section explains the easiest crops to grow and then works into the harder ones, explaining exactly how to grow them.
  • He covers all the basics of organic agriculture including composting, pest control, seed propagation, and more.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just a note:  Mr. Solomon is kind of a curmudgeon, to put it nicely.  The tone of this book can be off-putting for some. Our opinion is to look past the negativity and take advantage of all the helpful insight this book has to offer.

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How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Grains, Berries, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land and Less Water Than You Ever Thought Possible by John Jeavons

John Jeavons offers a completely different approach than Steve Solomon. It might be more up your alley if you want to work your land intensively and get as much food out of every square inch possible. He wrote How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Grains, Berries, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land and Less Water Than You Ever Thought Possible.

Whew. That's a mouthful of a title. But the title pretty much sums it up. 

This is what else we like about it: 

  • He digs deep into companion planting, compost, seed propagation, and fertilization - all important aspects of growing a successful garden.
  • Has great garden plans that include timelines, seed counts, and sample designs.
  • Has a practical  'Master Chart' section, which lays out everything you need to know about planting just about every kind of fruit and vegetable imaginable.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden by John Jeavons

Some folks argue that "How to Grow More Vegetables" really isn't for true beginners. If you are hesitant to purchase it for any reason, you may want to consider starting out with The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, also by John Jeavons. 

This is why you may prefer it:

  • It's a pared-down and simplified version of the previous book mentioned.
  • It gives detailed instructions on how to cultivate the 11 most common vegetable and calorie crops.
  • It's completely non-technical.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Survival Gardening Books for the Serious Gardener

As you get your hands dirty, you'll quickly realize there is so much more that you need to know than how to get seeds in the ground. 

Pest control, plant illnesses, seed saving, the fine details of composting, and even using fertilizers and soil amendments will quickly become very real concerns of yours. 

Fortunately, some really great books address all of these concerns and more. Here are some of the best survival gardening books that dive deep into these specific subjects.

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, edited by Barbara Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley

This book is the authoritative source to diagnose all kinds of maladies that might mysteriously affect your crops. This book will help you identify harmful insects, viruses, molds, fungus, and environmental factors that are impacting your garden. 

Alternately, The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control also covers the beneficial insects that you might see and helps you understand what you can do to attract them and keep them around.

This is what we like about it:

  • It has tons of pictures, diagrams, and graphics to facilitate the identification and diagnosis of whatever is plaguing your survival garden.
  • The text is easy to understand.
  • Details the most common problems for specific species of crops, trees, ornamentals, and medicinal plants.
  • Offers easy to understand guidance and instructions on how to remedy these problems.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jadam Organic Farming by Youngsang Cho

Jadam Organic Farming is a fairly technical book, but for the serious survival gardener and prepper, is an amazing tool to have at your disposal. We guarantee that you will reference it time and time again. 

Mr. Cho has a mission to teach farmers all around the world how to make their own all-natural pesticides, fertilizers, and microbial inputs (to promote soil health). 

Everything in Jadam Organic Farming is geared towards large producers, but all of his DIY recipes are scaled down so you can make the small quantities that you need to keep your survival garden in top shape. 

Here's what we appreciate most about this book:

  • He teaches you how to create recipes using garden waste and other materials that you have on hand.
  • Includes instructions on how to store the homemade pesticide concentrates for the long term.
  • Explains how to make basic survival supplies such as soap that can be used both in the home and garden.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The NEW Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymore

The NEW Complete Book of Self Sufficiency is practically the homesteader's bible.  There is probably more information here than most people in a suburban or urban setting will need. However, if you are a rural prepper, this book is a must-have for the bookshelf.

Remember that survival gardens ideally include the production of small animals such as chickens, rabbits, and maybe even a goat or pig.  Mr. Seymour's book is the place to start if you want to learn how to make it all work together. 

This book has a lot to offer, including:

  • Basic information on gardening and food production.
  • Valuable insight into raising small animals with solid advice and recommendations.
  • Instructions on how to butcher, process, and preserve your meat production.

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It would be impossible to sum up all that the NEW Complete Book of Self Sufficiency covers.  But trust us, if you can afford to buy this book - do it.  You won't regret it.  And it will provide you with inspiration and motivation for years to come.

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

Preppers know that after SHTF, we might not be able to run out and buy our seeds from the local Ag store. That's why we use open-pollinated seeds and plant heirloom varieties of our garden crops. We know the importance of harvesting our own seeds to guarantee next year's crops.

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners is one of the best survival gardening books for learning how to grow your crops for seed.  This book goes into great detail about what plants need for producing seed, how to process that seed, and how to store it. 

All of their growing instructions are tailored to the different regions of the US and they include a remarkable variety of fruits and vegetables in their inventory. 

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Humanure Handbook: Shit in a Nutshell by Joseph Jenkins

One of the understated realities of life post SHTF is that your shit will become very, very valuable.  Especially if you have a survival garden.

The Humanure Handbook: Shit in a Nutshell is the best survival gardening book for learning how to compost your poo into fertilizer. 

He also discusses how to incorporate your greywater into your irrigation plan, and explains everything and more about composting toilets. 

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting by David the Good

If you want to learn about composting everything (besides just poop) then Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting is the book for you.

It's not so scientific as to be intimidating.  It's actually incredibly accessible and downright funny, as is the case with all of David the Good's books.

When you have a survival garden, you will soon realize that you need to compost everything you can to build up your soil's health and fertility.  This book explains exactly how to do it. 

Last update on 2021-04-16 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Survival Garden Books Conclusions

The simple fact is that when it comes to starting and growing your survival garden, there will always be something you will want to investigate and learn.  Having this collection of the best gardening books on hand will undoubtedly help you achieve your goals.

Starting your survival garden is simple. Improving it will be a constant process. Get started today!

We also write extensively about how to start a survival garden, as well as an urban survival garden. Be sure to check out those guides as they provide great info for beginner as well as experienced preppers!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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