Gardening Resources Can Help You Grow in 2018

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or you want to learn how green your thumb really is (or isn't), Omaha Public Library has resources to help you grow your gardening skills in 2018!

Gardening education:

If you're not sure where to begin, OPL's Common Soil gardening programs are a great place to start. Experienced instructors provide an overview of various topics, including garden design & companion planting, starting seeds, herb gardens, keeping chickens in the city, and composting with worms.

View all OPL gardening and seed library programs. South Omaha Library will host a couple programs in Spanish - view the Spanish gardening course schedule here.

In addition to these courses at OPL locations, patrons can also enroll in six-week Gale Courses taught by gardening professionals. Gale offers courses on Starting Your Own Edible Garden, which can help you learn which type of garden is right for you, and Growing Plants for Fun and Profit, that focuses on how you can make a profit from your gardening efforts.

Common Soil Seed Library:

OPL Common Soil Seed Library Circulation, 2013-2017
OPL's Common Soil Seed Library saw an almost six-fold increase in annual circulation last year from 2013, when it was first introduced.

OPL added the Common Soil Seed Library to its collection in 2013 and has been adding seeds ever since! Currently there are 165 different seeds available for checkout from OPL's catalog. Patrons can request seeds for pickup at their local OPL branch or browse seed library selections in person at Benson Branch, Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch or South Omaha Library.

Urban Gardening Librarian Carol Erkens, opens a new window has worked to compile grow-out instructions for all the seeds in OPL's collection, as well as information on various gardening topics. Patrons can request these handouts from staff at any OPL branch.

This year Erkens is planning a seed starting display at Benson Branch that will demonstrate "that it's not difficult to start seeds indoors with proper heating and lighting. The display will have both LED and fluorescent lighting, to demonstrate how each effect the plants' growth.

Erkens plans to grow Common Sage, German Thyme, Cinnamon Basil, Cutting Celery, Lemon Balm, Sweet Marjoram, and Greek Oregano in the display and says that patrons will be able to claim any seedlings once they are ready to plant. South Omaha Library, Saddlebrook Branch and Florence Branch are also planning to have seed-starting displays at their branches this spring.

Gardening books and DVDs:

  • Beginning Gardening - Need help starting your garden? Try these books for beginners.
  • Gardening with Kids - Get the whole family excited about gardening with these books for kids.
  • Garden Planning - Great gardens take planning! These books can help with that.
  • Companion Planting - Learn which varieties of plants work best when planted together.
  • Gardening Safety - Stay safe when gardening using valuable tips provided through these resources.
  • New Gardening Books - Find the newest materials about gardening in OPL's collection.

Gardening DVDs - View the DVDs about gardening in OPL's collection.

These resources are a great way to get started with your personal gardening projects or even any community projects you think up! Learn more about the seed library collection here, or contact Carol Erkens at 402.444.4846 or

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