Prepare for spring gardening at the Iowa City Public Library’s Seed Share 2.0

Seed Share 2.0

Meeting Room A, Iowa City Public Library — Sunday, Mar. 25 at 2 p.m.

Photo by Frankie Schneckloth

It’s the first week of spring, and even though the weather this weekend may be gray and wintery, inside Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library on Sunday there will be signs of the green to come. For the second year, the library and Johnson County Master Gardeners are partnering for a seed share.

The 90-minute event, which starts at 2 p.m., is free and open to the public. There will be almost 30 varieties of flower, vegetable and herb seeds available, donated by Iowa City’s Earl May Nursery & Garden Center and Paul’s, as well as Decorah’s Seed Savers and three national seed companies — Annie’s Heirloom Seeds, Burpee and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Attendees are also encouraged to bring any seeds they wish to share, but you don’t need to bring seeds to participate.

ICPL and Johnson County Master Gardeners are asking anyone who comes to Seed Share 2.0 to donate a portion of any produce grown with the shared seed to area food banks.

The seed share program may be new, but Johnson County Master Gardeners has been active in the county since 1982. The program is part of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office. Anyone interested in taking classes to become a master gardener can sign up for the training course taught by the Extension and Outreach office. It’s a 40-hour course, and costs $195.

“In Johnson County, we have classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings,” said Shannon Bielicke of Johnson County Extension and Outreach. “It’s an educational program, where gardeners get trained and then volunteer to give back to the community.”

Classes cover topics from pest control to garden design.

“After the classes are over, people are asked to put in 40 volunteer hours during the following year,” Bielicke explained. “Once they completed their volunteer hours, they become a full-fledged master gardener.”

Maintaining master gardener status requires 10 hours of continuing education each year, as well as 20 hours of volunteering for community service.

The next series of master gardener classes start in September. Information on the program can be found on the Johnson County Extension and Outreach site.

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