Learn more about OPL's safety guidelines in response to COVID-19 here.

Common Soil Seed Library

The Common Soil Seed Library is a space for sharing open-pollinated seeds and gaining awareness and information about gardening and seed saving. 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!

Gardening Materials

Recommended Reads

Online Gardening Courses

Gale Course: Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

Grow fruits & vegetables in your backyard! In this Gale Course, you'll learn how to give your garden a healthy start and keep it growing.

Gale Course: Growing Plants for Fun and Profit

Turn your love of plants into an enjoyable & profitable home business with this Gale Course on growing & marketing plants on a small scale.


  • The Common Soil Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow from to plant and grow at home. The seed collection depends on donations and seasonality. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available.

  • Omaha Public Library created Common Soil Seed Library in 2013 to help encourage a culture of abundance and food literacy, promote urban agriculture, and help diversify open-pollinated plants and seed at the local level. By saving seeds as a community, we help create local seed stocks that are better acclimated to our unique climate, and which support an abundant and genetically diverse landscape.

  • We're happy to accept donations of your open-pollinated, heirloom, and/or locally saved seeds in any quantity.* Just follow these easy steps:

    1. Collect and clean seeds from your crops, and set aside some for yourself and some for the library.
    2. Please clearly label your donation in an envelope or container. You can print out this label at home, opens a new window, or pick one up at your local library.
    3. Bring your labeled seeds to any Omaha Public Library location, and we'll add them to the collection for other community members to check out.

    *Seeds saved from grocery store produce are not suitable for the Seed Library. Please put them in your compost bin instead.

  • When growing to save seed, please try to match the seed saving difficulty with your level of gardening experience.

    Easy Seeds
    Easy seeds are great for beginning seed savers. These plants are mostly self-pollinating, so the risk of cross-pollination is minimal (but not impossible). Saved properly, they are reliably the same as the parent plant.

    Advanced Seeds
    Advanced seeds are better suited for more expert seed savers. These plants are cross-pollinating and are very likely to cross-pollinate with other plant varieties, which can result in "mystery" plants. Saving seeds from advanced plants requires special precautions such as hand pollination, tenting, and other methods to ensure varietal purity.

Back to Top