Starting a garden takes a lot of work, but it shouldn’t have to take a lot of money.

In fact, you can get free seeds and trees — that’s right, you’ll pay nothing to start growing fruits, veggies, flowers and more.

We’ll show you 7 of our favorite ways to get these free seeds, when they’re available, and how you can pick them up.

For tons more high-value freebies, download the KCL app.

 

1. Get free seeds (and give free seeds) through a community seed library.

Seed libraries operate a lot like your local library: You check out seeds to plant, and return the same amount of seeds (or more, if you’re feeling generous) at the end of growing season.

Libraries are all over the country and are often housed at community centers or the local (book) library. Find one near you and start planting.

At a neighborhood-based seed library near me, I found cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, broccoli, radish, bok choy, corn, and more — more than enough to get a backyard garden going!

 

2. Get free plants from Freeplant Network Worldwide.

For the most part, Freeplant Network Worldwide — aka Freeplant.net — is a source of information for green thumbs and green gardeners. But every few months, they offer a new plant or two to their community of thousands.

When I checked in April 2022, they were offering the following giveaways (they’re typically seeds unless otherwise stated):

  • Free hydrangeas
  • Free sunbeam verandas
  • 2 Layer Lucky Bamboo In Red Melamine Pot

Visit their giveaways page to find out what they’re currently offering. With each giveaway, you have to submit a form with your contact information. The giveaways are live as long as supplies last.

 

3. Join the Free Plants By Mail plant club for a new plant each month.

Free Plants By Mail will send you a new plant in a 2″ pot every month when you join their plant club. You do have to pay an $8.95 shipping fee every month.

And if you’re wondering, no, your plant won’t die in the mail, according to Free Plants By Mail. They pick species that are especially hardy and able to withstand a postal journey.

 

4. Find free seeds in your very own kitchen.

You may be shaking your head here, but hang in there with us for a sec. All the chopping and dicing you do should be good for more than just a home-cooked meal.

The best way to harvest seeds from your produce is to buy organic as much as possible. Then, use pieces of your produce to start your garden. Here are some of our favorite things to do with scraps from the kitchen:

  • Plant dried beans and peas into dirt — they’ll grow!
  • Cut off 2″ from the bottom of your whole celery stalks and stick them in a small pot of fresh water — they’ll grow new celery!
  • Do the same thing with a discarded head of lettuce to grow more.
  • Plant a piece of a potato that has developed “eyes” in 3″ of dirt, in a sunny spot — you’ll start to see new shoots in 2 weeks.
  • Plant a 1/4″ slice of tomato into a wide pot with soil at least 18″ deep to grow new tomato plants.

Anything else that has seeds is fair game for your garden (as long as your climate supports it). Sadly I’m not growing an orange tree in Idaho.

 

 

5. Host a seed swap with friends and neighbors.

There are plenty of online seed swap resources that can connect you with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

SeedSavers is a widely known marketplace for seeds, but they have a lesser-known online bulletin board where gardeners exchange seeds.

The exchange’s search is a little difficult to use, but the best way to use it is to search for something general in the search bar (like “flower”), and then filter the search results by your state.

If you’re feeling especially extroverted, you could host a neighborhood seed swap of your own. And if you’re introverted, you’ll just have to calculate whether the social interaction is worth the free seeds.

 

6. Cut, divide and repopulate your own plants.

One free and easy way to double your garden is to divide plants at their roots and replant each as a separate new plant. You can also harvest cuttings. If you see a lovely flowering plant or bush, take a small cutting home and plant it in your yard for free. The plant will readily regrow the snipped area, and you’ll have saved yourself some handy cash.

 

7. Receive free trees from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Help the earth and get some beautiful trees in the process. The Arbor Day Foundation will gift you 10 free trees in exchange for a $10 membership. The type of trees you receive are even zip-code specific to ensure growing success.

Not sure you need 10 trees? Consider going in with a few friends. You’ll each pay just a couple of bucks for 2 or 3 beautiful new trees to plant in your yard. Not to mention you’re helping the Arbor Day Foundation on their mission to plant, nurture and celebrate trees around the globe. Now that’s what we call money well spent!

Replenish Your Garden for Free with Seeds, Trees, and More