SIDNEY — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension are cooperating to encourage fellow Ohioans to start their own Ohio Victory Gardens by distributing more than 20,000 free starter kits of seeds across the state. Locally, Shelby County Master Gardeners will be giving out seeds at various locations throughout its service area which includes neighboring Auglaize County April 13 through April 22.
Kits will include a combination of sampler packets of cucumber, carrot, lettuce, or sunflower seeds along with planting and growing instructions. Gardeners can register to win a garden tool kit by completing a brief survey. They will also be able to post pictures of their gardens on a website maintained by the ODA. Additional information is available at https://u.osu.edu/ohiovictorygardens/.
A limited number of kits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at each distribution site. In Shelby County, most distributions will be April 15 at the local public libraries: Amos Memorial Library in Sidney 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Anna library 9-11 a.m.; Botkins library 9 a.m.-noon; Fort Loramie library 10 a.m.-noon; Jackson Center library 9-11 a.m.; and Russia library 10 a.m.-noon. On April 22 kits will be available at the open house at the People’s Garden at Agape Distribution from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and at Lake Loramie State Park’s Earth Day Celebration from 1-4 p.m. Seeds will also be available during the Shelby County Master Gardeners’ Garden Series program Thursday evening, April 13, from 6:30-7:45 p.m.at Amos Memorial Public Library.
Seed packets will be available in Auglaize County at the Wapakoneta public library April 13, 2-5 p.m. and April 15, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; St. Marys public library April 15, 1-3 p.m.; and New Bremen public library April 15, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“This would be a great opportunity for families to get their kids involved in gardening,” said Doug Benson, Volunteer Coordinator of Shelby County Master Gardeners. “All of the plants are easy to grow and require little space.”
Victory Gardens, originally called war gardens, began during World War I. Their purpose was to have the public start vegetable gardens to supplement the overall food supply, and at the same time give them the feeling that they were helping in the war effort. The practice was revived during World War II with great success. With the ongoing rising food costs creating a hardship for many today, Victory Gardens are once again in vogue. Shelby County Master Gardener volunteers may be contacted for additional information by calling the Extension office at 937-498-7239 or emailing [email protected].