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

By Shelley Pierce | September 20, 2015
Image by CaronB
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 thetomatoseedbankproject@gmail.com.
  • 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 Feedabee@bayer.com.
  • 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.
WIN FREE SEED!
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

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    For more click here : http://www.biocarve.com/

  • 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.

  • Mary
    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

  • Deb
    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.

  • Carol
    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.

  • Judi
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Without bees there would be a zombie apocalypse

  • Amy
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    No bees. No food!

  • Carrie Conley
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Less of everything without pollination...

  • Rachel
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Without bees, there are no plants, no veggies and no people.

  • karen
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Every year i see less bees. We need more bees. Save the bees

  • rosemary
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    wow

  • Kathryn C
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    without bees there would BE no crops, no plant life- a/k/a we would have no food

    KC
    kacor7@hotmail.com

  • Nancy
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    The bees are a vital part of our world's food chain.

  • Rose Santuci-Sofranko
    Comment added September 24, 2015Reply

    Gosh, without bees we lose the majority of our pollinators, and without them, we have no veggies or fruits! Thanks and God bless!

  • jules m.
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    without bees to pollinate, our trees and crops wouldnt be able to produce fruits and veggies

  • Sandie Aliprantis
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    A simple creature like a bee, helps create a garden of flowers.

  • Deanna
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    Without bees in our world, flowers would not be pollinated, fruit trees, would not be pollinated and the list continues, without pollination fruit trees and vegetables would not produce the food we so desperately need to survive.

  • Lindsey
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    Because bees are so important for food production, and so cute!

  • Amanda A
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    Bees are a vital part of the system! My six year old nephew loves bees and likes to explain their importance to others.

  • Anita k
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    It's a fact that if we have no bees,our food supply greatly decreases greatly.thanks so very much for sharing.

  • chuck
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    This would be great

  • Jessica Padilla
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    Bees are important because they are and important part of our food chain.

  • Sean Willoughby
    Comment added September 23, 2015Reply

    They pollinate everything and give us Honey!

  • Steph scintilla
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    No bees no food

  • Danielle Magee
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    The bees are important because without them there would be no fertilization of crops and therefore no food.

  • Jennifer M.
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Saving bees is important to the world because bees help with pollination.

  • EL KLEMM
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    As the bees go, so go we...

  • Angel Wendt
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bee's help sustain life...food, ecosystems...pollination is essential

  • natalia
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bees are a very important part of our lives, they pollenate the world!

  • M. Cordova
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bees are the biodiversity of our species because of their invaluable contribution to our ecosystems around the world, from mammals to birds alike and they are responsible for over 80% of our food supply.

  • Connie Lee
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bees pollinate our food crops. Without bees, no food!

  • lanae streit
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bees pollinate the world!! They are so important to the world!

  • Sarah Jestings
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    No Bees = Less food
    Less Food = More Famine

  • Liberty J
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Saving bees is important because they help our crops which in turn gives us something to eat!

  • Jackie
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    We need the bees to pollinate our fruits and veggies!

  • Sherri Poston
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    Bee's are an essential part of the life cycle of the plants, which in turn feed us (or at least should!).

  • Rita A
    Comment added September 22, 2015Reply

    The bees are responsible for our food supplies. Without them, we would not "bee"

  • ELaine
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees are important pollinators-they pollinate about 1/3 of the food we eat.

  • Jeannine M.
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees are a lovely part of creation. And it just so happens, they are integral to the beauty (flowers) and survival of our world (pollination = plants, trees, fruits, veggies = foods = life as we know it). HUGENORMOUS worldwide impact, Little itty-bitty buzzy friends.

  • Jesse Simms
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    I love fruits and veggies. Save the bees!

  • Stephanie MacDonald
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    It is called the circle of life for a reason, we all play a part. What one may think of as a small pesty insect, in all reality, if killed off, would cause considerable damage we'd all be affected by.

  • Catie Drew
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees are important pollinators for many of our vegetables, flowers, and other crops. They also provide honey, which is a great source of nutrients, and has many healing qualities.

  • Sarah
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    no bees, no food

  • Travis Zepp
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    no bees means there'd be nobody left to win

  • Sharon Kaminski
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    We need our bees to pollinate - save the bees!

  • Kathy Bondar
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Without bees, we would have any food supply. They are the workforce of the plant world.

  • Coty Prazak-Markwardt
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    What would our world be without bees?
    A world without fruits and vegetables. A world without beneficial (and delicious) honey. A world without certain plants and trees and the animal species who's lives depend on those plants and trees.
    A world without bees is ..... well, a world I don't want to live in. And their numbers are declining so quickly. Save the bees, our WORLD depends on them! ?

  • Arielle
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees are the world's pollinators! Without them so many of the foods we eat will disappear.

  • Vicki Geslak
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    This giveaway is the bees' knees! :)

  • Stephanie Davis
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    We need bees for our ecosystem! SAVE THE BEES!

  • Brittany
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Without bees, we'd have no food

  • Casey
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    They not only polinate but provide important health benefits like honey and propolis.

  • Tiffany
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Love me some bees! They love the 30+ basil bushes on my homestead, but variety is the spice of life, so here's hoping for a winning entry and a proper pollinator garden next year!

  • Bonnie Wilks
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees are very important pollinators. Without them we wouldn't have as much food.

  • Shannon
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    without bees, we would not have fruits, vegetables, nuts, and oils. bees pollinate one-third of the plants we eat.

  • Jeanne Rousseau
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees play an important role in our whole environment and once they are gone, there is no going back! I was very happy to plant some seeds for the bees this year, and saw many here in central NH.

  • Audra O'Hara
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    I know how important bees are simply in my own yard, watching them pollinate my vegetable and flower gardens. It’s hard to imagine them being gone one day; I’m not sure how the world’s food supply could be met.

  • Bob
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees and Butterflies are both needed, now more than ever.

  • Gloria Rutkowsk
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Many of the crops I grow in my garden are pollinated by insects, and bees are the major pollinators.

  • lexie
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Bees pollinate the flowers. Without them, there wouldn't be any pollinating!

  • DANIEL REED
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    WITHOUT BEES THERE IS NO AGRICULTURE, NO AGRICULTURE NO US. PLUS, NO HONEY.

  • Dawb
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    Without bees to pollinate our gardens, we grow less food to feed us.

    Without bees to pollinate our flowers & trees, we have less oxygen. - contributed by my 7 y/o

  • Daniel
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    No bees no flowers or veggies as we know it

  • Betty N
    Comment added September 21, 2015Reply

    No Bees = No crops Save the bees!

  • Jess Pfohl
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bee's are crucial to our survival because we need them to pollinate plants for food.

  • Pam Buss
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bee's are Gods gift to gardening.

  • Carol Maljak
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    If crop planes dropped bees out of the sky onto the land instead of dust
    our world would begin to blossom with enough bounty to feed the planet. Without the bees to carry the nectar, the plants would cease to exist . Then all people would die.

  • Laura Royal
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are the perfect little pollinators so I don't know what we'd do without them!

  • Steve Golemboski
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    The importance of bees can not be overstated. Since the recent collapse of so many hives, we see almost no honeybees. This year, most pollinating was done by bumble bees and other bees. The honeybee situation needs to be answered, and soon!!

  • Lori Brawley
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    They pollinate our trees and food source. Plus they are cute!

  • Elizabeth Howard
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees provide most of the pollinating for our crops. No bees-no food.

  • David
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    crops

  • Marilyn Gunn
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without the bees' pollination, plant life would eventually be discontinued!

  • Sue
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees feed the world. Without bees there is no way to sustain the food.

  • lisa breece
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    They need to be saved because we need our gardens pollinated. I love bees.

  • Sakenya McDonald
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees provide the world with so much opportunity to learn and to grow. Bees, on the most intricate levels, are pure marvels from their hive dynamics to the way they pollinate. Scientifically, aesthetically, dynamically...the bee just can't be beat.

  • Christine Francoli
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We need the Bee's to pollinate our plants so we can all live.

  • TamreyDavis
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Nature's pollinators!!

  • Linda King
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are very important. We need them to survive.

  • gregory browne
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We need bees

  • gregory browne
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Saving bees is important

  • susan smoaks
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    we need bees so we can save the planet

  • Brenda white
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are necessary for our plants and gardens because they pollinate. Also the honey they produce is pretty awesome too.

  • Colt Spatafore
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    They are vital to this world. They help plants pollinate. We need plants to survive. They are also very cool creatures that look great in gardens.

  • Megan
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees there'd be no plants. No plants means no trees and no trees means the birds dont have anywhere to sit. So no birds. No birds means no cats no cats mean no dogs and dogs obviously go with humans.
    So save the bees and save the humans.

  • Mike Jablonski
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Whether flowers or food, could not do it without bee power!

  • Shawn Stover
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    I love bees and what they do for us!

  • Pat Bergin
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We are so in need our saving our Bees !!

  • Janice Shields
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees there is no pollination and no pollination means no plant life.

  • Anne Weaver
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees, nothing else matters.

  • Rebecca Kennedy
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Has anyone seen the Bee Movie. It is real and happening now. No plants, No trees, No fruits, No honey. We need our bees to pollinate. Save the bees.

  • susan
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bee's are the most important resource we have to save this world. No Bee's = NO FOOD or BEAUTY.

  • Rickie Johnson
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are so important to pollination of almost everything but especially fruit trees.

  • Lauren gordon
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees provide pollination and honey that is essential to modern medicine.

  • Helen Kwiat
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are essential to life as we know it! From pollinating flowers, to spreading seeds, to proving food and the sweet nectar honey that is perfect in every way, bees are a part of every land life cycle. We must save them or life on Earth will suffer and die.

  • Nancy Sherman
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are essential for plants to reproduce. And their knees are cute, too!

  • Nichole
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We must stop Monsanto from poisoning this country and other chemical companies from killing bees!

  • Leah Siap
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees help our planet so much. They pollinate the plants, helping our gardens and flowers grow. Plus they provide the best sweetener, honey!

  • Cheryl
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees we will have no crops or flowers for generations to come.

  • CJ
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees we wouldn't exist!!!!

  • Melissa Oliver
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Pollinating and honey. Keeping bees is one of my upcoming projects!

  • vikki l parman
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We need bees for pollination

  • Connie Beste
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are essential for pollination, mother nature can't do her job without them!

  • JW
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    because they help keep the world pretty

  • Ashleigh Delport
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    We need bees to pollinate!

  • TERRI ROSALES
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    without bees nothing can get polinated means less or no food with all the people in the world they would go hungry,more people less food

  • Pam H
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Because a lot of the food we grow depends on them and the flowers we love to admire. It makes for a healthy planet.

  • Theresa Williams
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Would love to help attract more bees to my garden. I love watching them along with with the Butterflies

  • Amy Tolley
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    this is amazing ty for this i love gardens and love to watch the bees they are facinating

  • Jann Gartman
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Save our bees! Gardens cant grow if they arent polinated

  • kathy gordon
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    “Why is saving bees so important for our world?
    Without bees?No way to be!
    Without bees? No more lovely flowers!
    Without bees? No pollinating our fruit trees!
    Without bees? The world will slowly cease!
    Without bees? There is no you or me!

  • dawn reece
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Saving bees is important because bees are essential to mankind. They pollinate our trees and food source.

  • Ann Simmons
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Bees are an integral part of our food chain. We need their pollinating activities to make everything else grow.

  • Colleen
    Comment added September 20, 2015Reply

    Without bees there would be no world.

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