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With the help of the new Seed Library, your garden can branch out

Bob and Mary Beth Ogle wanted to be able to walk out their back door and pick out fresh vegetables for dinner.

But while the terraced yard of their Northland home is abundant with natural grasses and even fruit trees, they never got around to planting the “fun stuff” — vegetables and flowers.

“It was timing,” Mary Beth Ogle said. “We were always too late in the season.”

On Saturday, the couple got a little green thumb advice and some free seeds to get them planting on time this year.

The Kansas City Public Library held a “pruning shears” ribbon cutting for its new Seed Library at the Irene H. Ruiz Branch at 2017 West Pennway. At the Seed Library, metro residents with a library card can “check out” packets of flower, herb and vegetable seeds. At the end of the growing season, they return seeds they harvest to restock the selection.

The seeds are stored in an old CD cabinet on the south side of the library. A banner hangs across the aisle, proclaiming that when “you have a garden and a library you have everything you need. Cicero.”

The Seed Library has collected helpful books including “Keeping Honey Bees” and “Cooking from the Farmers’ Market.” It also has pamphlets on such subjects as starting a rain garden to cool-season gardening. And it will offer gardening classes throughout the season — from starting seeds to saving seeds.

Julie Robinson, branch manager, said the new Seed Library ties in with the branch’s two rain gardens, along with a butterfly and community garden across the street.

“It’s a safe attempt for (library patrons) because if it doesn’t germinate or doesn’t grow to something edible, they haven’t spent any money,” Robinson said.

On Saturday, Mary Beth Ogle quickly picked out four packets of seeds, then turned them over to check out the planting season dates.

“Look, the black-eyed peas need to be planted by May 15, the Blue Lake beans by May 20,” she said. “This year, we are going to do it.”

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