by Bridget O’Donnell

In 2021 four libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) piloted a grant-funded service called “The Library of Local.” The service focused on gardening, foraging, and making resources available such as seeds, curated books, and programming offered by local experts. It has been recognized as an invaluable asset by providing knowledge to augment the communities’ ability to increase their own food security. Despite the pandemic, the service has blossomed and is now being offered by 15 member libraries. If this piques your curiosity, try searching the keyword “tools” in the online catalog then narrow those results by format to “equipment.”

Poughkeepsie Public Library District (PPLD) is hoping to plant roots with a similar program. At this time, our new Seed Sowing Center offers kits with five packets of vegetables, annual flowers, herbs or a mixed grab bag. Read about the burgeoning service available in PPLD’s Library of Things. Keep in mind not all programs are organized the same way. This free service is a work in progress with creative ways for its evolution already in conversation. Imagine the possibilities…

Title of Cookbook: Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden. 

Author of Cookbook: Elizabeth Millard.

What prompted you to check out this cookbook? Learning to garden is a cumulative process. Personally, I like to try something new each year. It always amazes me to see something I planted grow and I’m absolutely thrilled when we can eat some of the seasons’ yield. This year, utilizing PPLD’s new Seed Sowing Center, I requested a herb kit to compliment the few vegetables I hope to grow in containers and a small raised bed. Eager to start the seeds and employ new grow lights, I researched indoor germination to expedite the process and prepared a handful of seeds from each packet as instructed.

What did you like about this cookbook? The author suggests how to plan and execute an indoor garden. She outlines what should be considered before starting seeds and explains how to sow seeds directly, then maintain or transplant seedlings for the most productive growth. She mentions the importance of indoor pet-prevention, and includes a section that compiles common indoor herbs organized by their level of difficulty to grow from seed.

What didn’t you like about this cookbook? Unfortunately, we don’t have as much space to devote to starting an indoor garden as the author. Our new kitten will playfully help remind us of that.

Favorite recipe (that you tried from the cookbook): Although there are recipes sprinkled throughout the book, this isn’t necessarily a cookbook.

Aside from starting seeds in zip-lock bags (pg. 198), I’d also like to try growing sprouts on the counter (pg. 136). The package of broccoli sprouts I have suggests that they contain higher levels of cancer-fighting properties than a mature head of broccoli while also providing vitamins, calcium, and fiber.

Did you alter the recipe or make any substitutions? Based on what I’ve read from various sources, growing sprouts is a little more labor intensive than starting seeds. I’m definitely not planning to deviate from this recipe or I might lose an entire batch to mold(!).

Would you recommend this cookbook/recipe? Yes, in addition to the other books and links suggested in the References below.

Basil/Parsley/Oregano Sprouts
Bail/Parsely/Oregano sprouts close up.
Black kitten


Books –

Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-Round Vegetable Garden / Elizabeth Millard.

Micro Food Gardening: Project Plans and Plants for Growing Fruits and Veggies in Tiny Spaces / Jen McGuinness.

Microgreen Garden: An Indoor Grower’s Guide to Gourmet Greens / by Mark Mathew Braunstein.

Starting & Saving Seeds: Grow the Perfect Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Flowers for Your Garden / Julie Thompson-Adolf.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 Days / Peter Burke.

Websites –

Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) (.org)

Library Of Local (.org)

Library of Things (

Seed Sowing Center (

The photos with this post show seeds that were germinating in a plastic bag for eight days. They seem to be off to a good start. Luckily, if some of the seeds don’t work out and it’s too late to start this years’ garden from seed again, the following local organizations sell seedlings ready to plant/pot after the last frost.

Adams Fairacre Farms, Gardening

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (.org)

Hudson Valley Seed Company (.com)

Poughkeepsie Farm Project (.org)

Seed Savers Exchange (.org)

Videos –

Improved Paper Towel and Baggy Method for Germinating Seeds (Fast) (

[Here are just some of the many] Quick Subject links to the Library catalog (listed alphabetically):

Container gardening.

Cooking (Herbs)

Cooking (Vegetables)

Edible greens.

Edible landscaping.

Flower gardening.


Gardens — Design.

Gardens, Miniature.

Herb gardening.