DULUTH (AP) - Gardeners who want to plant heirloom fruit and vegetable plants will soon be able to get free seeds from the Duluth Public Library.

Libraries in other states have begun similar programs, but this is believed to be the first in Minnesota.

Patrons can borrow up to 10 packets of seeds for varieties of tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas. The library asks that gardeners save some of the resulting seeds and return them so the library can continue its collection.

Duluth library officials hope the effort will encourage people to eat healthier, and also foster the continuation of plants well-adapted to the Minnesota climate.

About 60 public library systems across the nation maintain seed libraries. That includes a handful in Wisconsin.