Every spring for seven years the New River Valley Master Gardener program has given away vegetable, flower and herb seeds to schools and non-profit organizations like community gardens, therapy gardens, and other youth programs throughout the New River Valley.

Helping the region plant gardens, the New River Valley Master Gardens are warming up to give away vegetable, flower and herb seeds – thousands of packets – to schools and non-profits in the region.

The majority of the seeds are donated by Hart Seed Company in Connecticut, but local businesses and garden centers have also donated seeds to this program. Over the years we have received local donations from Northwest Hardware, Southern States, Walmart and Groundworks.

“It is great to see local establishments support our community and we thank them for their donations to this wonderful service project,” Master Gardener program coordinator wrote in an announcement for the free seed program.

Hart Seed Company collects the seeds that didn’t sell the previous year, re-sorts them and only charges shipping and handling fees to non-profit organizations who participate in their donation program.

Because the seeds are more than a year old, their germination rates – the likelihood that they’ll sprout and make a plant – are reduced. Those older seeds can no longer be sold in stores. Seeds harvested in the current year may have a 95 percent germination rate, while germination rates may plummet to…

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