March 24, 2023 - 12:23pm --

Again the year, 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 Shelby County starting on April 11.

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

A limited number of kits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the following times and locations: April 11, 6:30-7:45 – Shelby County Master Gardeners’ Garden Series program at Amos Memorial Library in Sidney; April 13, Amos Memorial Library 11:00-1:00; April 13 – Anna library 9:00-11:00; April 13 – Botkins library 9:00-11:00; April 13 –Fort Loramie library 10:00-12:00; April 13 – Jackson Center library 9:00-12:00; and April 13 - Russia library 9:30-11:30. If kits remain, they will be available for a few days. After that, they will be available at the Extension office. Kits will also be available at the open house at the People’s Garden at Agape Distribution from 9:0-11:00 on April 13.

Residents of Auglaize and Mercer Counties should check with your respective OSU Extension offices for times and locations in your counties.

“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