SUDBURY -- With the spring weather upon us and many community gardens still waiting for final approval to be opened, a new project has been launched to help make home gardening easier than ever before.

The Sudbury Community Garden Network is spearheading the Home Garden project as a way to motivate residents to pursue their own home gardens, producing fresh vegetables and herbs.

"It's really a wonderful collaboration to get people in the midst of this COVID emergency active and gardening this season," said Colleen Zilio, chair of the Sudbury Community Garden Network. "We're looking at targeting new gardeners and as part of this project we've developed a comprehensive approach to it so that people can register for soil delivery, for a no-cost soil delivery to their residences."

Planting seeds are also being made available for free, with staff at Season's Pharmacy and Culinaria spearheading that effort.

"There's a bunch of different ways that we can do it. A lot of times people call ahead and they'll ask for the seeds and then we'll put them in a little brown bag and then we'll bring it out to their car for them because some people don't want to even enter the store," said Adam Rocha, a centre employee. "Others will come in, enter the store and they'll ask about what kind of seeds do you have, how do you suggest growing them and then we'll just help them out from there."

In order to provide easy access, select 'little libraries' around Sudbury, traditionally used to provide a small selection of books at no charge, have been repurposed to provide seeds. There are currently offerings on Brenda Street, at the corner of John and Paris Streets and in Coniston.

"In the past we've mostly been working with community gardens but this really is a first and really momentous project that engages people at their homes and it couldn't of course be more timely," said Zilio. "It's really spurred on by the whole change in the community that is a result of us facing this COVID-19 emergency."

The group has also partnered with Sudbury Shared Harvest and the public library in order to provide free, educational webinars for those just getting started.

"We are hoping that people just feel a sense of wellness when they get back in that garden because touching the soil, and knowing where your food coming and having the experience of a family actually planting that food themselves," said Paulette Macdonald, the leader of the Westmount 4H Club community garden.

Another partner in the project is the Greater Sudbury Food Bank. Macdonald says you can never produce too much food, hoping anyone with excess amounts will give back.

"If they end up with surplus, we're really hoping that they would share with their neighbours, share within their communities, perhaps bring some of the fresh food back to the Sudbury Food Bank," said Macdonald.

You can click this link to register.

Participation in the program is on a first come, first served basis.