How to Get Free Seeds for Your Garden

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Looking for legit ways to get free garden seeds?

pouring free garden seeds from packet into gloved hand

Due to record-high grocery prices, more people than ever are trying to save a little money by growing their own food.

Gardening can be very rewarding if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, but it’s not exactly free either. There are lots of potential expenses associated with starting your own garden, but the cost of buying seeds shouldn’t prevent you from giving it a try!

Using free seeds can significantly reduce the cost of starting a new garden or refreshing an existing one for a new growing season. It’s actually not that hard to find free seeds, but it helps to know where to look!

Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to get free seeds for your home garden.

two copies of Baker's Creek free garden seed catalogs

Subscribe to free seed catalogs.

If you’ve ever received a seed catalog in the mail, you know that sometimes they come with a free packet of seeds inside! Other companies give away free seeds with your purchase, or allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free seeds later.

Not sure where to start? Here are some of the most popular free seed catalogs to request. They don’t always include free seeds, but they will definitely inspire your plans for a productive garden!

planting free garden seeds in a garden

Follow seed companies on social media.

Occasionally, companies will mail out free seeds to followers who request a sample. They may also be given away as part of a contest or other promotion. The best way to find out about these opportunities is to follow your favorite seed companies on social media.

growing tomatoes on the vine

Look for free seed offers from other businesses too.

Many companies offer free seed packets to support pollinators, encourage gardening, or thank customers for making a purchase. We’ve posted offers like this from Campbell’s, BoomChickaPop, AirWick, and more.

Local businesses and organizations are known to be even more generous with free seeds, so keep your eyes open while you’re out and about in your community.

The Free Seed Project

Non-profit organizations often distribute free seeds by mail.

Your area may have a non-profit organization that distributes free fruit and vegetable seeds based on the types of produce that are likely to grow best in your Plant Hardiness Zone.

The Free Seed Project is one such organization that operates on a national level, educating people on how to grow their own food and distributing 10,000 Free Seed Project Packs every year!

This organization prioritizes people who would not otherwise be able to afford or access quality seeds, those who grow food to share with others, and first-time gardeners. Note that all 10,000 of the Free Seed Project Packs have been claimed for 2023, but you may fill out a short survey to see if you qualify for a spot on the waitlist.

In the meantime, search your area to see if there are any similar organizations operating near you!

bell pepper seeds

Save your own seeds.

The easiest way to get free seeds may be to just save your own! Saved seeds may come from your own garden or even from certain types of organic produce that can be purchased at the grocery store. Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for seed-saving, though.

You’ll need to do some research regarding which seeds are best for keeping, and then learn about the best ways to store your seeds until it’s time to plant them. This seed-saving pamphlet is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about this money-saving process!

For what it’s worth, you may not even need seeds to grow certain vegetables! Many vegetables can be propagated simply by placing their roots or cuttings into potting soil or water. Carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, onions, and potatoes are some of the easiest vegetables to propagate at home.

holding a handful of free garden seeds

Get free vegetable seeds from a seed exchange

Exchanging seeds with other gardeners is a popular way to get free seeds. You can offer up the seeds you don’t need in exchange for the seeds you want to plant. There are two types of seed exchanges: You can either meet with someone to swap seeds in person or communicate online to set up a long-distance exchange.

To avoid paying shipping for online seed exchanges, try using a website like Seed Savers Exchange, Houzz Seed Exchange, or Great American Seed Swap to search for local seed exchanges in your area. Otherwise, you’ll be expected to pay for shipping and handling.

women drinking wine at a party outdoors

Host your own seed exchange or plant swap party.

If you have friends who also enjoy frugal gardening, invite them over for a seed exchange or plant swap!

Have everyone bring clearly marked packages of seeds that they’ve saved from their own gardens. Guests can also divide or dig up plants they no longer want, pot them, and bring them to exchange with other gardeners for free plants.

Even better, you can turn your swap into a fun garden party your guests will look forward to every year by asking them to bring their favorite drink or a covered dish!

women gardening together

Check with your local garden club.

Many garden clubs hold annual or semi-annual seed exchanges. Some of these events may be for members only, but others are open to the general public.

Use this list to find a garden club near you and ask if they have any seed exchanges or similar events planned.

woman gardening in greenhouse

Contact your local cooperative extension office.

Your local cooperative extension may offer free seeds, although this practice does vary by location.

Even if your local extension doesn’t provide free seeds, it may offer Master Gardener classes, lectures, and other opportunities to hone your gardening skills and network with other local gardeners to find resources for free seeds in your area.

Facebook Marketplace Garden Category on Computer

Watch for free plants and seeds on Facebook Marketplace.

There may be gardeners in your local community who are willing to share their extra seeds or even fully grown plants, and Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. Search for “free seeds” or scroll through the Garden & Outdoor section to see what’s available for free pickup near you.

Social media can also be a great place to connect with other local gardeners and share tips for growing a successful garden in your specific area. Try joining a community gardening group on Facebook for even more local wisdom!

Harvard building and lawn

Your local public library may have free heirloom seeds.

We’ve said it before – libraries are awesome! Your local public library probably provides many more services than you realize. One of those services may even be a seed library!

A seed library allows you to choose free heirloom seeds to grow in your garden. In many cases, all you need is your library card! Usually, you’ll be asked to save some of the seeds from your harvest and return them to the seed library, so other gardeners can grow them the following year.

Looking for other legit freebies that will save you money?

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

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Comments 5

  1. abbyac

    My 13 yr old son started a vegetable garden for us by planting a whole cherry tomato, a whole strawberry, the whites of scallions, the base of a celery plant and the top off a pineapple…all from family meal scraps. 👏🏻

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! 🎉 Thanks for sharing how your garden got started, abbyac. So neat that your crops are growing from scraps! 🌱

  2. Julia

    So glad you have the local library on the list! We can get 10 packets per library card at our library. With 4 people in the family that is a lot of seeds! Between that and friends who have given me extra seed starters my garden is huge at very low cost to my family. I love being able to grow our own food and give friends the extras

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! SO awesome that you’ve been able to score so many free seeds from your library, Julia! Thanks for sharing your experience with us! 🙌🥰

  3. Pat

    I would love free seeds

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