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IndyPL’s Seed Library Service to return this spring

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The Indianapolis Public Library’s Seed Library Service is returning just in time for spring. 

The Seed Library Service allows patrons to take home free vegetables, herb and flower seeds to plant in at-home gardens. The free service returns to 19 IndyPL locations beginning in Mid-March and will run through September.

Jill Edwards, adult programming specialist at IndyPL, said this program will allow folks to try gardening for the first time, or perhaps the first time in a long time.

“Since the pandemic, there has been a growing interest in gardening,” Edwards said in a statement. “People are eager to try their hand at growing their own food.”

Although there might be people who are hesitant to try planting and growing their own flowers or vegetables due to lack of a backyard or sunny area, Theresa Coleman, a master gardener intern at the Nora Branch said there are several vegetables and herbs people can start growing inside.

“Once you get them [the seeds], if you’re limited in space, plant things in pots,” Coleman said. “Even tomatoes can grow in a pot, you just need a pole or small trellis.”

IndyPL first launched the Seed Library Service in 2014 at the Glendale Branch, but Coleman said they’ve now expanded to 19 branches — plus the bookmobile. She said the collection of seeds available ranges from edible flowers to specialty seeds like Mexican Mint Marigold; vegetables such as butternut squash, tomatoes and cucumbers; and everyday cooking herbs like basil and sage.

To help patrons pick the best time to plant seeds, the library is offering seed calendars at the brand locations as well as gardening-related programming — such as online story time of “Miss Annette’s Little Farm in the Big City,” the West Perry Gardening Group and the Martindale-Brightwood Library Garden.

Coleman said the East 38th Street Branch also offers classes on early planting and knowing when it’s safe to put the seeds in the ground.

Program Specialist Kirsten Weaver helps package seeds for the Seed Library Service. (Photo provided by Indianapolis Public Library)

Gardening is something Coleman did with her children when they were small because as much as she loves it, it’s also an opportunity to teach them about germination, pollination and photosynthesis.

“If you’ve ever grown a pumpkin, when you cut it open there’s more seeds,” Coleman said. “[and] a sunflower will pivot to where the sun is, so it’s educational for kids.”

More than 150 community volunteers — including master gardeners and students from IUPUI and Believe Circle City High School — helped the library convert seeds from bulk orders to small seed packets. In addition to a wide variety of seeds to choose from, Coleman said the library also has things for pollinators and lead testing kits to help people start their at-home gardens safely.

For more information about which IndyPL locations seeds can be checked out as well as a list of all available seeds, visit indypl.org/seeds.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 and chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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