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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine agriculture authorities are asking residents who receive unsolicited packages of seeds from China in the mail to avoid opening them and contact the state.

People around the country have reported receiving the packages. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said recipients should contact its Division of Animal and Plant Health during a weekday to report the arrival of the seeds.

The state said recipients can also contact federal authorities such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which has an office in Hermon. It's also asking recipients to fill out an online form.

The Maine agriculture department said residents should hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label. The seeds typically arrive in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post.” The USDA is investigating the seed shipments.

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Need a Gardening Teacher? UMaine Has One for You

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's university system is providing gardening buddies.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension said it's launching a program to match gardeners of different experience levels. Gardening has emerged as a popular hobby during the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension said the Garden Mentorship Program will match residents with master gardener volunteers to provide virtual technical assistance and coaching. Gardeners can get involved by filling out a Garden Mentor Request form on the UMaine website.

The extension said the program is geared at gardeners ranging from novices to old pros.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Maine

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