How To Get Free Seeds For Your Fall 'Victory Garden'

Aug 10, 2020

UPDATED Aug. 11.

The Ohio State University Extension is offering free seeds to encourage a new crop of "victory gardens."

The idea is based on victory gardens planted during World War I to combat food shortages while boosting morale and patriotism. The pilot program is available in Hamilton, Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas and Washington counties. If successful, it could be expanded in the spring.

"We have been invited to be one of the six counties that are part of the seed distribution to kick-start people's interest for the victory gardens for this fall," says Julie Crook, program coordinator with the OSU Extension in Hamilton County.

Gardening saw a bit of bump this spring and summer as the pandemic led many staying home to try their hands at growing their own vegetables and fruits. Even though it's nearly mid-August, Crook points out there's still plenty of growing season left.

"We have maybe 70 days still of frost-free growing, so you could still get in a crop of beans, beets, carrots... things that grow in the cooler weather and don't do well during the summer months."

Carrots, she says, can actually be sweeter when grown in the fall. The OSU Extension seed packets may contain beets, buckwheat, radishes, spinach and turnips.

"I think people garden during the summer but maybe they get tired of it by August but it actually is a great time to grow fall vegetables," says Crook.

The OSU Extension has a website to help with victory gardens and local extension agents can offer tips and advice as well. She says they're offering easy-to-grow vegetables likes beets and radishes.

"I think there's a sense of accomplishment," Crook says. "They taste better and it gives people an incentive to get outside and enjoy what they can outside in their own backyard."

Of course, you don't need a backyard to grow a garden, the OSU Extension offers tips and help for container and other forms of gardening.

If you find yourself with more produce than you can eat, the Extension also offers information on canning or donating to area food pantries.

Hamilton County Seed Distribution Information

Gorman Heritage Farm
10052 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45241
Tuesday, Aug. 11 – 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Civic Garden Center
2715 Reading Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
Thursday, Aug. 13 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Information on other counties may be found here.

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to clarify the date for the Civic Garden Center distribution as THURSDAY instead of Wednesday.