It's a sure sign of spring to come: The Rock Island Public Library Seed Library is now open for gardeners to pick up free seeds. Rock Island/Milan residents may also request them by mail.
After a long winter, area gardeners are ready to plan and sprout their gardens, and the Rock Island Public Library is ready to help. RIPL Seed Library packets are now available for pickup or distribution by mail.
The Seed Library is a free collection of seeds suited for the local growing area. Seeds are available now for pickup inside the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island. The seeds are free, and no library card is required. Each household can pick up five free packets per month.
Rock Island and Milan households can request seeds by mail instead by using the online form on the RIPL website. Residents may choose one of the following pre-selected bundles:
Each bundle contains a varied selection of five plant varieties. The library will mail one bundle of seeds to addresses in its service area of Rock Island and the Milan-Blackhawk Public Library District. To order for mail delivery, visit the library website, and click the Seed Library image for a Google Form.
Seeds are available while supplies last. The library also welcomes donations of seeds. For further questions about the Seed Library, please contact the library by email or call 309-732-7343.
“If you’d like to choose your seeds, or you live somewhere else, than Rock Island or Milan, we suggest coming into our Downtown Library,” said Reference Librarian Rachel Ippolito. “Otherwise, we’re happy to mail seeds to Rock Island/Milan residents, and we ask that you allow us to choose the assortment. As always, we hope our seed borrowers look forward to growing something new, and use our resources to learn more about gardening.”
One of the resources is the Illinois Growing Guide at the Downtown Reference Desk, which includes growing instructions for every seed offered in the RIPL Seed Library. Another is the “Vegetable Gardening Made Easy” online program series co-hosted with the with University of Illinois Extension. Hosted by local Illinois Extension Master Gardeners via Zoom, each session includes a pre-recorded “how-to” gardening video followed by live question and answer time. There’s still time to sign up for any of the five remaining programs:
March 17, Germination & Seedling Growth: Learn how to successfully start plants from seeds.
March 22, Blueprint to Gardening & Planning & Prepping: Learn different techniques for garden planting.
March 24, Cool Season & Warm Season Vegetables: Different types of vegetables and basics on when and where to grow them.
March 29, Hardening Off, Transplanting & General Care: Learn how to prep indoor-grown seedlings for outdoor planting and care for them in the garden.
March 31, Pest control considerations, and garden safety. Learn how to maintain your garden. This session will be followed by a final Q&A session.
Register for the free sessions of your choice at the extension service website or visit the library’s online calendar.
For more no-cost educational and enrichment services and programs from your local library, please visit the library website, call 309-732-READ, or follow the library’s social media and You Tube accounts.
Rock Island Public Libraries are open for masked borrowing and browsing, as well as one-hour computer and WiFi appointments.