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The Frugal Gardener: How to Get Free Seeds For Your Garden

By Shelley Pierce | September 20, 2015
Image by CaronB

The Frugal Gardener: How to Get Free Seeds For Your Garden

by Shelley Pierce September 20, 2015

The Frugal Gardener: How to Get Free Seeds For Your Garden

By Shelley Pierce | September 20, 2015

If you’re like me, the mention of the word “free” makes you want to jump up and down in a manner reminiscent of Tom Cruise on the Oprah Winfrey show. For gardeners, free = good, especially when you assess a shopping cart full of plants, fertilizer, tools, soil, pots, and, yes, even the gardening gnomes that you just had to have. There is one item, however, that you can take out of your shopping cart and put back on the shelf and that is seed. There are lots of free seed (or nearly free if you don’t mind relinquishing a stamp) available to you if you know where to look. (And psssst! One of those places is right here at Gardening Know How – keep reading for details on a free seed giveaway!)

  • The Tomato Seed Bank Project: Review the tomato seed bank master list, make a list of 5 varieties you would like and send it with a SASE to: Tomato Seed Bank Project, 4438 Polk Street, Dearborn Heights, MI 48125. For more information, e-mail
  • Feed a Bee: While their individual flower seed packet giveaway for this year may have ended, they are still fielding large seed packet requests (500 or more) from organizations for use in a variety of venues and activities. Interested organizations can send an inquiry e-mail to
  • Plant A Row For The Hungry: Ed Hume Seeds will honor a request for one free packet of seeds provided you promise to share what you harvest with the less fortunate.
  • Live Monarch: Send an SASE with $1 for 50 Butterfly Garden seeds (including Milkweed), or, if you can not afford the $1 contribution, you will receive 15+ seeds with your SASE.
  • 2BSeeds: 2B Seeds is looking to give back and follow their family’s tradition in a very BIG way by offering a package of Free Tomato Seeds to all whom are unemployed or in need of providing food for their family.
  • Seed Exchanges: Exchange seed locally with friends, family or neighbors or even online. Some seed swap websites do require a membership fee but there are websites, such as Heirloom Seed Swap and GardenWeb’s Seed Exchange, which do not. And don’t forget to factor in Facebook as well – there are many groups you can join such as The Great American Seed Swap, Free Seed Swap, Seed Trading Society, Seed Swap and Seed Exchange, just to name a few.
  • Save Your Seeds: Collect seeds from the plants in your garden for use next year. Gardening Know How has a plethora of articles and a Pinterest board to assist you in saving seeds from any plant you are interested in.
  • Cooperative Extension: An inquiry at your local cooperative extension may prove fruitful. Some extension offices, such as this one in Tompkins County, provide free seed as a service to the community.
  • Seed Libraries: A seed library allows gardeners toborrow” seeds at planting time with the expectation that a portion of the seeds will be harvested from the plants at the end of the growing season and returned to the library. Start your own seed library or seek out an existing one. Many public libraries are now offering seed libraries so make an inquiry with your local librarian!
  • Google It: The power of Google cannot be understated. A search for “free seed” using their powerful search engine could unveil a wondrous seed bounty.
  • Gardening Know How Giveaways: Every Friday, Gardening Know How hosts a fabulous giveaway. In late July, we hosted an immensely popular giveaway from The Seed Guy and we do have more seed giveaways coming down the pike so keep an eye on our blog, Twitter or Facebook.
And, now, courtesy of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau and Feed a Bee, we have packets of bee-friendly seed to give away to 40 people! To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Thursday, September 24, 2015  (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

Why is saving bees so important for our world?

And, if you know of another free seed source, please share it in your comment as well – Thank you!

The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See Rules for more information.)

Update 10/14/15 – Congratulations to the Frugal Gardener Seed Giveaway winners below!

Rita Alarcon Sharon Kaminski Nancy Sherman
Sandie Aliprantis Anita Kennett Janice Shields
Connie Beste Linda King Ann Simmons
Kathy Bondar El Klemm Susan Smoaks
Lisa Breece Helen Kwiat Colt Spatafore
Gregory Browne Julie Lawrence Elaine Stottlar
Carrie Conley Cheryl Leamer Shawn Stover
Christi Cox Connie Lee Kelly VanAuken
Ashleigh Delport Jeannine McDonald Carolyn Vitali
Nancy Dentler Sakenya McDonald Annamarie Voss
David Dunbar Susan McQueeney Lindsey Waid
Jann Gartman Candace Miller Amy Waterman
Brittany Gilley Jennifer Monteiro Anne Weaver
Steve Golemboski Elizabeth Neale Brenda White
Deanna Guruge Audra O’Hara Bonnie Wilks
Jennifer Herman Melissa Oliver Sean Willoughby
Carol Herman Coty Prazak-Markwardt JF Wilson
Elizabeth Howard Jeanne Rousseau Daniel Wolf
Pam Howell Laura Royal
Sarah Jestings Colleen Sampson
Rickie Johnson Rose Santuci-Sofranko

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    Bio carve
    Comment added December 27, 2017Reply

    The best and useful blog. I would like to share biocarve is the best online seeds provider in India. Bio curve is a leading company of hybrid, tree, cereal crops, tropical flower and vegetable seeds in India with a history of over twenty-two years. We are providing all type of seed and agricultural toolkits with affordable price.

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    Donna Harvey
    Comment added March 22, 2017Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing the free seed info. I am hoping to start a large Perennial Garden this year, so this was a big help. Thanks for Sharing.

    Bob Petersen
    Comment added October 29, 2016Reply

    I'd like to find a good article on collecting and saving flower seeds-both domestic seeds and wildflowers. I plan on drowning out my lawn with flowers and have several large wildflower beds now-I'd like to spread the seeds but some plants I'm unsure of what part is the seed or whether they produce seeds at all? Just a suggestion. I get loads of joy seeing my garden buzzing with bees & flutterbyes all summer and then watching various birds feasting on my standing sunflowers and other flower seeds through the winter. Oh, I also plant a large patch of sorghum/maize for winter feed. love this site.

    Comment added September 22, 2016Reply

    Bees have to pollinate the flowers on all of the fruits, vegetables, and fruit trees for them to bear fruit. If they don't do their thankless job, we don't get these great natural healthy foods. I truly couldn't eat without them since I am allergic to everything but some fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. I love watching the bumble bees pollinating my cucumber vines. I talk to them and thank them for all their hard work. I don't know how anyone can't understand the extreme importance of these precious insects. If bee killing companies (1 in particular comes to mind) persist we will not.

    Cynthia Turner
    Comment added September 21, 2016Reply

    We need bees to pollinate the plants and fruit trees, If they all die then so do we!

    Liz Peterson
    Comment added October 14, 2015Reply

    Without bees all the beauty will not survive

    Liz Peterson
    Comment added October 14, 2015Reply

    Without bees all the beauty we know will end

    anna powell
    Comment added September 25, 2015Reply

    no bees, no food, no plant, no me

    Comment added September 25, 2015Reply

    no bee, no me!!

    Sheryle G
    Comment added September 25, 2015Reply

    No bees = nothing left.

    Jerry Bottoms
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Without bees there would be very little pollination.

    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    It’s not only food crops that rely on bee pollination, cotton does as well.

    John H.
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    They make an invaluable contribution to ecosystems around the world.

    Jennifer H.
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. Some 84% of the crops grown for human consumption – around 400 different types of plants – need bees and other insects to pollinate them to increase their yields and quality.

    Candace Miller
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Without bees there is no food!

    Christi Cox
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Bees give us life <3

    Kelly VanAuken
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    No more food without them.

    Annamarie V
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Because bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant. Also who would want to go without honey.

    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Without bees there would be a zombie apocalypse

    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    No bees. No food!

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