Garden Savings: Free Seed Libraries

It’s March, ya’ll!! Time to start planning those spring gardens. For those of us who love to garden, late winter and early spring is an exciting time. Spring gardens offer the hope of fresh, homegrown produce….and saving lots of money on groceries!

How much you spend on your garden is really up to you. Gardening needn’t be an expensive hobby, especially if you can get started on the cheap! One tip for saving money is to find FREE packets of seeds.

Where can I get FREE seeds?

seedlings markus-spiske-104913

Check your local library. Many public libraries offer free “Seed Libraries.” Seed libraries are usually available in late winter through early spring. Our local seed library offers up to five seed packets (per person!) to library card holders. The seed packets are donated by area businesses, farms, and master gardeners, and are typically available from late February through May.

Check your county’s agriculture extension office. Some extension offices also offer free seed libraries. Not sure where your local extension office is? Check here: Local Extension Office Finder.

Ask a gardener. Many gardeners save seeds from year to year. You might be able to barter with them for a few seeds. Or, if they have a surplus, they might just give them to you for free! Last year, I saved tons of heirloom lettuce seeds. I packaged them up in little envelopes and have been giving them away to friends, neighbors, and coworkers who garden.

Don’t know any gardeners? That’s okay! Try putting a “wanted” post on Freecycle, the site where people give away free items or exchange items.

Online seed savers exchange. If you don’t have a library or extension office nearby, not to fear! There are online options for free seeds, as well: Seed Savers Exchange.

Save your own seeds. If this is your first year of gardening, do a little research on “seed saving.” It’s really easy to save seeds from your own plants to use next year.

How much can I save on seed packets?

Seeds are expensive! Most of the packets that I’ve found online range from $3.99 to $6.99 for one packet (the number of seeds per packet various, depending on the vegetable/herb/flower). I calculated our savings by looking up how much each seed packet costs, on average, on online seed companies. We received 10 free seed packets from our local library:

Basil, Genovese $4.99
Broccoli, organic $5.19
Bush beans, Blue Lake $4.19
Parsley, Italian flat leaf $4.99
Radish, Early Scarlet Globe $3.99
Spinach, Avon $3.99
Squash, Zucchini $5.99
Tomato, Beefsteak $5.99
Tomato, Early Girl $4.99
Tomato, Roma $4.99

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