9 Titles to Help Your Green Thumb

Whether you have a green thumb or a graveyard of houseplants along your windowsill, we have some resources that can make gardening a little bit easier.

1. All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

“I have one book in my collection, Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening that has helped a lot in my gardening 'growth' (although in five years of gardening I've never gone about it the same way twice). It's great for those of us who want to maximum production and encourage sustainable micro-agriculture (and if you have limited space to work with). I have two 4x8 raised beds in my south-facing front yard and produced over 100lbs of produce last summer using this method!” — Quincy Hiscott, Licensing and Collections Assessment Librarian in the Collections Management & Access Division

All New Square Foot Gardening is available as an eBook.

2. The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng

"I do not have a green thumb at all, but every year I'm always inspired when other people talk about their gardens. For my fellow brown thumbs out there, this book is a huge help. I'm proud to say that I am the plant parent of a few.... healthy-ish.... plants." — Nancy Sheng, Associate Manager at the Stanley A. Milner Library

The New Plant Parent is also available as a book.

3. Lois Hole's Northern Vegetable Gardening by Lois Hole

“I have found all of Lois Hole's gardening books to be extremely helpful, reliable and relevant for our unique Alberta climate.” — Shannon Clarke, Community Librarian at the Capilano Branch

Lois Hole also has a wide variety of books ranging from perennial favourites, bedding plants and more. 

4. The Prairie Gardener's Go-to for Vegetables by Janet Melrose

“I look for resources by local authors because of the uniqueness of the Edmonton/prairie growing season. Short, dry summers do not an easy gardening experience make! I've used Laura Peters' books extensively—she's Alberta based (she is actually a cataloguer at Yellowhead Regional Library) and so her advice is excellent and works well for Edmonton gardens. Along those lines, I've also found the advice given in Sheryl Normandeau and Janet Melrose's books has worked really well for me, and their 'go-to for small spaces' has been great for me as an urban gardener.” — Jennifer Schell, Associate Manager at the Mill Woods Branch

There are also many other versions of The Prairie Gardener's Go-to for... including small spaces, soils, seeds and more.

5. Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway

"This book on home scale permaculture changed my gardening life (and possibly my whole life, which now mostly consists of permaculture gardening). There are entire spreads of text where the life that exists in soil is described in beautiful almost-poetry. The entire book has helped me build respect for the way things grow and how humans can work with nature rather than against it. 

And Plant Grow Harvest Repeat is still on order in our catalogue but it's the book I'm most excited about reading in 2022. It's written by Meg McAndrews Cowden located in northern USA and is all about succession gardening in cold climates, providing strategies on how to get the most growing in a short season. The author has a beautiful Instagram page too, where she shares lots of tips." — Tamara Van Biert, Manager at the Shelley Milner Children's Library

6. Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte

“Years ago, when my partner and I bought our house, the first thing we did was build two raised garden beds in our backyard. I did way too much research, as a library employee typically does, and found Carrots Love Tomatoes and learned all about companion planting. It's fun to know about all the plants that love/hate each other and tips like planting marigolds near tomatoes to help keep away pests. It's a bit older, but a classic in my house.” — Laurie Hynes, Library Assistant at the Stanley A. Milner Library

Carrots Love Tomatoes is also available as an eBook

7. Edible Plants for Prairie Gardens by June Flanagan

"Edible Plants for Prairie Gardens is great because it suggests plants that are actually grown in our area, including fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. I like that some guidance is included about which veggies are great for beginners and those that are a bit more challenging to grow. The book also includes a good section on garden preparation, soil, composting, planting, seeding, harvesting and many other important topics. Lots of detail and photos packed into a handy book!" — Claudia Bolli, Library Assistant

8. The Mother Earth News

We have quite a few digital magazines that might be of interest to our more avid gardener. Two that might be of interest are The Mother Earth News and Fine Gardener. — Mary Bennett, Collections Librarian in the Collections Management & Access Division

9. Gardening in Canada

"Gardening In Canada is an amazing YouTube channel. Ashley is a soil scientist and shares all things soil to help you grow better plants. You can also listen to her videos through her podcast as well." — Brianna Schmidt, Library Assistant at the Lois Hole (Callingwood) Branch.


If these titles/resources don't get you excited for gardening, we are also starting our very own Seed Library. The Seed Library, based out of the Stanley A. Milner Library, connects Edmontonians with seeds and information to get growing. The Seed Library offers a collection of free seeds that you can borrow, grow, and share. As it's almost the end of the gardening season, we'd love to share some of the seeds from your garden with other customers next growing season. Seed can be donated at any branch of Edmonton Public Library. Place seed in a sealable bag and hand to staff at the customer service desk.

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