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Community Gardening: Resources

A guide to community gardening resources in the Boston Public Library and online

Google Image Search

Do you want to know what a particular plant looks like, or do you want to identify a plant you have in your garden? You can use Google Image Search. With Google Image Search you can search for an image or by an image.

Search for an Image:

  • Go to
  • Search for the plant using the Latin name or the common name.  The Latin name will provide more precise results.
  • Google will return images of the plant

Note: You can also do a search on Google for the plant and then click Images.

Search by an Image:

  • Go to
  • Click on the camera in the Google Image search bar
  • Upload the digital photograph of your plant from your computer, or paste the image URL
  • Google will return similar images, and you may find a match

BPL Branch Locations & Hours

The Boston Public Library has 25 neighborhood branches throughout the city. Visit our location map and hours & directions pages to find the location nearest you.


There are a multiplicity of resources available to help you as you explore community gardening further.  Resources in this section include:

Tips for Finding Community Gardening Resources

Whether you're searching online or in the library's catalogs, for books or videos, use the following terms and phrases to narrow down your search quickly:

  • Community gardens or community gardening
  • Cold frames
  • Composting
  • Home gardening (any resources good for a home garden will be good for your community garden plot)
  • Hotbeds
  • Permaculture
  • Raised beds
  • Seed saving
  • Seed starting
  • Sustainable gardening
  • Urban gardening
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Vermiculture
  • Vermicomposting
  • Vertical gardening
  • Victory gardens

Search Tips

Use the Boston Public Library's specialized and general databases to access full-text articles, bibliographic citations, and more, on community gardening and gardening-related topics. Useful tools usually offered by Databases include the ability to highlight and take notes; save documents to a personal folder; print, e-mail, or download documents; and generate citations.

Database Search Tips:

  • When performing a basic search, select the Index (Keyword, Subject, Publication, Entire Document) that best suits your needs.
  • When you complete your search, use limiting options such as full-text, document type, publication dates, and more to narrow the results.
  • Check to see if there is an abstract.  You should be able to gauge quickly from reading the abstract whether the article will be useful to you.
  • Consider the length of the article.  A very short article will probably not have the depth your require.
  • Consider using Advanced Search if you would like to easily incorporate Boolean operators in your search string, take advantage of a range of additional indexes, have the ability to limit your results to peer-reviewed journals, and more.

The Internet is a rich resource for community gardeners.  Use Google Search to find information on community gardening, organic gardening, growing vegetables and fruits, and more. Google has a complex search algorithm that is very effective at returning relevant result from simple keyword searches. You can, however, use search strategies to help refine the results that Google returns.

Google Search Tips:

  • Phrase Search: Enclose terms that use more than one word in quotations marks so that results only include pages that use that exact phrase.
    Example: "cold frames"
  • Limit by Domain or Site: You can limit your search to particular sites or domains such as .edu (educational), .gov (government), .org(organization) if you want information from a particular site, or a particular type of agency or institution.
    Example: community gardening site:org
    Example: raised beds
  • Boolean Operators: You can use Boolean operators AND and OR with parentheses to search for two possible keywords and combine them with the main search word.
    Example: community AND (gardens OR gardening)
  • Negative Boolean Operator:  If you are searching for something that has more than one meaning, you can use a negative operator to exclude results you do not want.
    Example: hotbeds -lacrosse
  • File Type Operator: Many instruction manuals, research documents, etc. have been published online in PDF format.  You can use a filetype search to quickly locate them.
    Example: growing fruit filetype:pdf
  • Google Advanced Search:  Use Google Advanced Search to easily incorporate Boolean logic; limit by language, site or domain; and more.