Forget Buying Seeds For Your Garden. Here’s How To Get Them For Free

Forget Buying Seeds For Your Garden. Here's How To Get Them For Free

If you love gardening, you might be aware of the high cost of seeds. While a single packet of vegetable, herb, or flower seeds may seem affordable, purchasing multiple packets can add up to a significant amount. Additionally, it can be tough to choose the most suitable plant varieties for your area, especially if you’re a beginner gardener.

However, there are ways to start a garden from seeds without spending any money. You can get free seeds from seed libraries or promotional giveaways, among other methods. These tips can help you become more self-sufficient without making a large initial investment.

What is a seed library?

"Seeds" sign

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In the same way that they have stepped up to provide non-book supplies like metal detectors, exercise equipment, and movies to their communities, libraries are beginning to offer seed exchange programs. A seed library is an organized collection of seeds available to a community for lending. Anyone who needs seeds may borrow them from the library at no charge, just as though they were checking out a book. Seeds, however, do require a longer period before they can be returned.

Patrons, of course, cannot literally return the same seeds they borrowed to the library. What they can do, though, is save new seeds from the plants they grow and return those to the seed library. This doesn’t just keep a rotating stock of no-cost seeds available for gardeners across the community, however. A seed library provides education on regional growing practices, helps to reinvigorate endangered plant species, and promotes eco-diversity.

Other ways to get seeds for free

Zucchini seeds

Ivan Savini/Getty Images

If there isn’t a seed library available at your local public library or community center, don’t be afraid to suggest one. In the meantime, there are alternative methods for getting free seeds. You can score free seeds directly from companies by participating in promotional campaigns and requesting seed catalogs. Start by following your favorite seed companies on social media. Occasionally, they will offer free seeds to a limited number of followers as a promotion. They will also occasionally include free seeds with their catalogs.

If you plan to grow basically the same garden every year, you can easily save your own seeds at the end of each season. Just be sure to spend some time researching the best way to store each type of seed. You can also exchange seeds with your friends, family members, and neighbors, or join an online seed exchange group like Seed Savers Exchange to offer your saved seeds and receive seeds that others have saved from their own harvest.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.