How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden

Inside: Who doesn’t love when something’s free? Discover how to get free seeds for your garden.

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

With visions of rows of lettuce, tall tomato plants and cucumbers curling up trellises, you head to the nursery to grab some seed packets and bags of soil. Only to realize you also need containers. And, maybe some transplants in case the seeds don’t work out. What about fertilizer? And mulch?

Suddenly this fun gardening project has turned into a money pit.

Gardening expenses add up. But that shouldn’t get in the way of the fun. Growing your own food has so many benefits. Fresh air. Exercise. The joy of picking a plump, ripe tomato off a four-foot-tall plant you grew from a seed.

You’ll probably still need to buy some gardening supplies this season, but I have a secret way you can save money. It may seem like a small money-saver, but you can get all kinds of seeds for free—if you know where to look.

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

3 little-known ways to get free seeds

The first option is by far the most accessible for newbie gardeners.

1. Find a local seed library

I recently discovered that my local public library offers a seed library. (The seed library is at the Ruiz Branch of the Kansas City Public Library if you’re local and interested.)

A little 20-drawer cabinet tucked away in a corner of the library houses dozens of herb, flower and vegetable seeds. All you do is pick out the ones you want and “check them out.” After you plant and grow your seeds, you harvest them and return them to replenish the seed library’s stock.

What a cool concept!

(P.S. If you’re in the Kansas City area, you can also check out Seed Savers KC, which offers a seed library with more than 200 varieties.)

How to find a seed library in your area:

  • Check at your local public library
  • Check with a community garden in your area
  • Join The Seed Library Social Network, an online forum that can connect you to a seed library and other gardeners in your area
  • Join the Seed Savers Exchange, a member-to-member seed swap

Even more benefits of seed libraries:

  • Find seeds specific for your region
  • Get heirloom seeds, old-time varieties that increase biodiversity
  • Improve your community through teamwork and shared interest in gardening

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

Seed libraries aren’t the only way to get free seeds. If you’re an experienced gardener, you could start delving into saving your own seeds.

2. Save your own seeds

The first time I saved seeds from bell peppers was easy because the seeds are right there and easy to grab from inside the fruit.

But saving seeds from other plants is a bit more confusing. What’s the method for saving cucumber seeds? Or tomato seeds? And how the heck do you save seeds from a carrot?

While saving your seeds is the most cost-effective option (and a personal goal of mine for the year,) it’s best to take it in baby steps. Saving seeds requires more know-how than you’d first expect, as I found out when I started researching the best seed saving techniques.

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

And, if you’ve already started saving seeds, or plan to soon, you have another option for getting free seeds. From your friends.

3. Host a seed swap party

If you know a few avid gardeners, then host a seed swap party, where you each bring a few different varieties of saved seeds and swap.

If you’re not close to that level yet, keep this option in mind for your future awesome gardener self.

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com

I can’t wait to watch my tomato, bell pepper, lettuce, basil, dill, kale and spinach seeds grow thanks to the free seeds from my local seed library.

Starting my garden didn’t turn into a money pit, after all.

How to Get Free Seeds for Your Organic Garden | redleafstyle.com


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Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way

Inside: Break out the seeds and soil. Here’s a method to start seeds for your garden without spending big bucks.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

“And now for my next trick, I’m going to build a rocket ship from tissues.”

I have a friend who likes to poke fun at my budget-friendly ways.

He breaks out this saying when I bake my own granola, shop at thrift stores or find frugal ways to start a garden.

Maybe I earned it.

I have been known to drag a bag of potting soil into the kitchen for an indoor gardening day. Or, fold dozens of newspaper pots to start seeds. And, I’ve composted table scraps in a plastic cereal container in my apartment kitchen.

Growing your own food is rewarding, but it’s also cheaper than buying those same tomatoes, basil and squash at a store. Not to mention fresher and tastier.

If you garden, then you probably like to save money too.

Well, here’s a fun way to save some green with that green thumb of yours. Get your gardening going with this frugal (and unexpected!) way to start seeds.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.comSkip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

A Little-Known Way to Start Seeds for Your Garden

Skip the seed trays. You can start seeds for your garden without spending big bucks by growing them in….wait for it…eggshells.

Eggshells serve as ideal vessels to start seeds. Why?:

  • They’re a good size
  • An egg carton fits easily on a windowsill
  • They’re biodegradable

Once your seedlings grow sturdy enough to transfer to the garden (or to containers), you can plop them right in the soil—eggshell and all. The eggshell will break down and provide additional nutrients for the plant.

And, you can feel good about reusing those eggshells you might have otherwise thrown away.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

How to Start Seeds in (Yes!) Eggshells

Ready to get your eggshell garden growing? Follow these easy steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Egg carton
  • Seeds
  • Soil
  • Small spoon
  • Needle
  • Tweezers

1. Save your eggshells
You have two options to save your eggshells:

  1. Save your eggshells as you use the eggs
  2. Crack all of your eggs at one time and save the yolks and whites for later

I saved my eggshells in an empty carton as I used them. Then, I planted my seeds after I had 12 eggshells. Either way works!

2. Crack them correctly
Don’t crack your eggs all willy nilly. You want to leave a majority of the eggshell intact.

Here’s how to crack your eggshells:

  • Tap a spoon near the top of the egg. This will split the egg into three quarters and one quarter instead of half and half
  • Save the three-quarter section of the eggshell to start seeds
  • Compost the rest

Rinse your eggshells and let them dry.

3. Add drainage holes
Poke a few holes in the bottom of each eggshell for drainage using a needle.

4. Fill with soil
Fill your eggshells almost to the brim with organic gardening soil.

5. Add your seeds
Using a pair of tweezers, insert two seeds into each eggshell.

You want to plant two seeds in case one of them doesn’t grow. If both seeds sprout, you can pinch off the weaker seedling.

Follow the directions on the seed packet to determine how deep to place the seed into the soil.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

6. Give your seeds some TLC
Keep the soil moist and set your eggshells in a sunny windowsill.

In a few weeks, your baby seedlings will sprout. (Look on your seed packet for specific information on days to germination.)

7. Transplant to your garden
When you’re ready to transplant your seeds into the ground or into a container, crack open the bottom of each eggshell to free the roots. Then, place the plant and eggshell into the soil. Leave the eggshell because it will biodegrade and add nutrients to the soil.

Skip the Seed Tray! This is How to Start Seeds in the Most Frugal Way | redleafstyle.com

I planted heirloom tomatoes, carrots and lettuce seeds in my eggshells.

Now to tackle that rocket ship.


Your turn

Have you ever planted seeds in eggshells? How did it work out for you? Share in a comment below.


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