“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” With the help of your Library, of course!
Studies have shown that “exposure to plants and green space, and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health.” So, whether you are a gardening novice looking to reap the many benefits of gardening, or the next master gardener interested in discovering new techniques to enhance your space – the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s (SCLSNJ) collection has you covered.
“Not only does gardening offer the wholesome benefits of fresh air and sunlight, it is a low cost, high-yield hobby that also functions as a deeply meditative exercise, helping to quite literally ground us, fostering a sense of calm and well-being,” said Manuela Miracle, adult services supervisor.
SCLSNJ’s experts have shared a series of booklists that connect Library customers to materials that can help beginners get their gardens started; individuals with limited indoor and/or outdoor space explore container gardening options; and gardeners of all levels with harvesting and preserving methods.
I beg your garden? Gardening for beginners
“Gardening offers the added benefit of providing food for pollinators, ensuring that our beautiful Garden State is able to keep producing great local produce, and lowering the impact of our total fuel footprint,” continued Miracle. “The Library’s gardening collection is a great place to get started as an aspiring gardener.”
Explore gardening books for beginners
“Did you know that many of our books are available in large print, on CD, and even electronically as e-books and e-audiobooks?” said Lynn Hoffman, director of operations. “Title clusters are a new feature available in our catalog that allow you to see all of our formats and editions at-a-glance.”
Explore title clusters: catalog.SCLSNJ.org.
You don’t need mushroom for container gardening
If you are limited on outdoor space, or would prefer to garden indoors, container gardening may be a great option for you.
“I was all set to start my first season as a community gardener in 2020 and then, well, we all know what happened,” said Yvonne Selander, collection development manager. “I had already started planting seeds in water jugs on the small deck of my townhouse when I decided to become a container gardener.”
Selander continued, “I was up to my eyeballs in tomatoes, peppers, and basil, and enjoyed them all summer long. No matter your space – even if you just have a windowsill for herbs – you can be a gardener.”
Connect with container gardening:
Have specific gardening questions? Connect with a librarian today: sclsnj.org/research-learn/ask-a-librarian.
Harvesting, and canning, and preserving – Oh my!
Whether your garden is in your backyard, or in containers inside or outside your home, learning how to harvest and preserve your produce and/or herbs can help you get the most out of your gardening efforts.
“Gardening has always been one of our most popular subjects, and with the events of the past year, more and more people are looking at gardening as a way to improve their food security, or just to enjoy the outdoors,” said Bob Helmbrecht, collection development librarian. “My favorite topics are preserving books, which show you how to enjoy your harvest all year long.”
Discover methods for harvesting and preserving:
- “Beginner’s Guide to Canning: 90 Easy Recipes to Can, Savor, and Gift” by Diane Devereaux
- “Can It and Ferment It: More Than 75 Satisfying Small-Batch Canning and Fermentation Recipes for the Whole Year” by Stephanie Thurow
- “Grow Your Own Spices: Harvest Homegrown Ginger, Turmeric, Saffron, Wasabi, Vanilla, Cardamom, and Other Incredible Spices, No Matter Where You Live!” by Tasha Greer
- “The Preserving Answer Book: Expert Tips, Techniques, and Best Methods for Preserving All Your Favorite Foods” by Sherri Brooks Vinton
- “The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables: Canning, Pickling, Fermenting, Dehydrating, and Freezing Your Favorite Fresh Produce” by Angi Schneider
- “A Woman’s Garden: Grow Beautiful Plants and Make Useful Things” by Tanya Anderson
For more librarian-curated booklists, reading recommendations, and more: SCLSNJ.org/read-listen-view/recommendations.
My (he)art beets for you – Spruce up your green space with Creativebug
In addition to exploring the collections, discover ways to compliment your garden using the Library System’s digital resource Creativebug, an online learning platform for arts and crafts workshop and technique videos.
Through Creativebug you can learn how to make air plant hangers, paint colorful terracotta pots, and create seed bombs.
“I am ashamed to admit that I am a terrible gardener,” said Carolann DeMatos, director of marketing and public relations. “I try so hard. I so want to be a better gardener, but everything I touch seems to die. In general, I leave the gardening to my husband, who has a greener thumb than I. However, I still long to be involved so the terracotta pot paint activity from Creativebug was perfect for me. It allowed me to participate, be my naturally creative self, and not kill any of the beautiful growing things in my patio garden.”
DeMatos continued, “This video is only 20 minutes; the presenter is very conversational and chill; and the little tips they share – like using a rotating cake plate while painting – make me feel inspired and ready to try something new.”
The resource also offers courses about preserving including how to make the best blueberry jam and how to can your Jersey-fresh tomatoes.
Get creative with Creativebug today: SCLSNJ.com/creativebug.