The first day of Spring is now just 20 days away, thank heavens. And Billings backyard gardeners are already getting antsy for the last day of hard frost (typically around May 15th) followed by another rewarding summer of gardening. I'm thinking about what I'll plant this year and when I'll start popping some seeds indoors. Trying to remember where I stuffed my propagation heat mat and seedling grow lamps in the shed.

Earlier this week, I found out that the Billings Public Library offers a free seed bank. What?! I headed off to the library this morning to check it out.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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Now in its second year.

I walked in and spent a few minutes wandering around the lower level, looking for some signage or other indicator to point me to the seeds. Finally, I quietly asked the receptionist at the main floor lobby desk where I could find the seed bank, and she directed me to the second floor.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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When was the last time you've been to the library?

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that this was the first time I've been to the second floor of our beautiful library. I meandered toward the Geneology Room where I finally spotted the black storage cupboard below. Ah ha! The seed bank.

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Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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Vegetables, herbs, and more.

A volunteer happened to be taking inventory while I was there and she helpfully explained that the seed bank was started about a year ago. During COVID, many people were exploring the idea of starting a home garden. The top left drawer is filled with hundreds of packets of vegetable seeds, alphabetically arranged from asparagus to peas.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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Local seeds too.

Another drawer of the seed bank features seeds donated by local gardeners. These caught my eye because these plants are proven to grow well in Billings' climate and soil.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM
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A great way to get into gardening.

The volunteer explained that most of the herb and vegetable seeds in the seed bank were donated by local businesses. She showed me a stack of checkout forms, that revealed a handful of residents had already picked up dozens of packets of seeds. The library is hosting a seed donation day on March 11th for local gardeners who wish to donate their seed stock.

I love this whole program. If you've got kids that want to try growing a few peas or whatever, this is an awesome FREE way for them to get involved in gardening. Learn more by stopping by the library.

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