Gardening is an important part of homesteading. After all, that is what we have set out to do—be self-sustained.
In order to accomplish this goal, we have to know how to place a seed on the ground and help it to bear fruit. The question still stands, where do we find the seeds we need to grow our food?
I have a few suggestions that should satisfy almost any homesteader’s need for seeds.
1. Save Seeds From Your Previous Gardens
If you are not a first-time gardener, this is the cheapest route to take.
At the end of each year’s growing season allow a few of each plant to go to seed. This just means that you allow them to shoot up or dry up. When they do, you will be able to get fresh seeds from them.
After you retrieve the seeds from the plants, let them dry out. You can place them on a paper plate and allow them to sit out on top of your refrigerator. Your refrigerator produces heat, so this helps the process along.
You can also just allow them to sit out in the sun for a while until they have dried.
Once the seeds have dried, place them in plastic baggies so they can be easily labeled. You can store them in a drawer until next year.
However, some people actually store their seeds in the freezer. I have done that in previous years. I have heard it will help them stay fresh but have not noticed any significant difference in freshness personally.
It is totally your preference as to how you store them until they are needed for planting.
2. Allow Plants to Reseed Themselves
This step is a ton easier than a lot of other steps.
It actually allows you to collect seeds and plant them simultaneously. Allow your plants to bolt at the end of each growing season. However, instead of collecting the seeds, just let them be.
This is a less organized method of gardening but it does still work.
When you allow the plants to bolt and do not collect their seeds, the plants will drop the seeds onto the ground. You will be surprised how many of these seeds actually take. We have this happen every year though we don’t purposefully use this method.
I had tomato plants pop up everywhere last year because we let tomatoes drop on the ground and left them.
Volunteer plants are actually very hearty. They have planted themselves so they form very stable roots. Your garden will probably not be organized in exact sections and rows if you follow this method. However, you will still have a harvest and very little work put into to it.
3. Collect Seeds from Food You Already Have
So let’s say you are a first time gardener. The previous two methods won’t really work for you. So what should you do?
Start looking around your kitchen, of course! You can collect seeds from food you are eating now.
When you finish eating that apple, don’t toss the core. Take the seeds out of it.
You can place these seeds on a paper plate and place them on top of your refrigerator to let them dry. You can also just set them out in the sun to dry too!
If you want to grow flowers but don’t have seeds for them, you can do the same thing with the fresh flowers you have sitting on your kitchen table.
Don’t toss them when they start to die.
Instead, harvest the seeds from them. You can dry them out yourself and save them for next year’s garden.
4. Collect from Other Gardeners
Homesteaders stick together.
We all share a common goal of being self-sustained. It is very rare you will find a homesteader that will not share their bounty or at least trade with you for something they need.
That is what is so amazing about being a homesteader.
Why would seeds be any different? Homesteaders save almost EVERYTHING! Seeds are included in that.
We often end up with more than we could ever use. So if you know a fellow homesteader ask them if they have any seeds to spare. You might find that they are kind enough to simply give you the extras that they will never be able to use.
Even if they want something for it, look around. You will probably find that you have something hanging around that you just don’t use.
Homesteaders are always looking for ways to upcycle and reutilize something to fulfill a need they have at that very moment. Use that to your advantage and find something of value to them just as their seeds are of great value to you!
5. MI Gardener
For those that are not necessarily looking for the free route to finding seeds, there are many great retailers to purchase seeds from.
MI Gardener is one of them.
He often has seeds for sale for 99 cents a pack. That is extremely inexpensive, and they grow magnificently!
MI Gardener also has great videos on his site that help with gaining knowledge on how to plant the seeds and get the most out of them. One of the things that attracted me to the MI Gardener site, besides the wealth of information, is the deals he runs.
Not too long ago he offered a $15 store credit to anyone sending in a 30 second video as to why they loved his site. $15! That is crazy when he sells seeds for 99 cents a pack.
Needless to say, I did the video and got a TON of free seeds!
6. Dollar General
This was a deal I did not discover until last year. I actually heard about it on a homesteading group I am a part of.
A lady posted a picture of all of the seeds she purchased that day for next to no money. After seeing that, I was on a mission to scope out seeds at all of the Dollar Generals within driving distance from me.
At the end of each growing season, Dollar General will drastically reduce all of their seeds prices because they need them gone.
I’m talking about buying seeds for as little as 2 cents a pack. 2 CENTS! Is that not amazing?
I highly recommend this option to anyone that has a Dollar General within driving distance.
We purchased enough seeds for our family and friends’ gardens for the next year or two and only spent around $40. That is an amazing deal!
7. Collect from Nature
This is a wonderful option to find plants and spend nothing. Look around you.
Do you see something you’d like to grow? If so, either find its fruit so you can take it home and get seeds from it, or uproot the whole plant (carefully) and take it home to replant.
Be sure you have permission before uprooting a plant if the plant belongs to someone.
We actually planted our berry patch with this method. We have family that had blueberries and blackberries growing all around their house. It was more than they could ever use.
So we carefully uprooted a few berry bushes and brought them home to replant them. Just be sure to do some research so you know what plants you are collecting. You don’t want to think you have one kind of plant only to find it is something else.
Finding seeds for your garden doesn’t have to be a hassle.
If you use any of the above options you should find that you have ample amount of seeds to grow a garden.
Do you have any other methods for finding seeds for your garden?
Once you have the seed, you might want to read these articles: