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where to buy cheap seeds

Where to buy cheap garden seeds

Picture of sun shining through carrot leaves grown from cheap seeds

Carrot seedling growing on the kitchen windowsill

Searching for cheap garden seeds during lockdown?

Recently, seeds have been flying off the shelves. Many of us, stuck at home and facing food shortages, are keen to grow some of our own fruit and veg.

Yet many of the shops and garden centres which normally sell seeds are shut. Online suppliers are facing increased demand – just as many staff are absent due to childcare or shielding, and remaining staff need extra space and equipment to cope with social distancing (see this heartfelt plea from DT Brown). So allow for longer than normal delivery times if you can find seeds in stock.

Growing your own fruit and veg can be a great way to cut your food costs.

Of course, it all depends on how much you spend on gardening. Investing in a greenhouse to grow tomatoes will make them rather expensive!

Even packets of seeds that only cost £2 to £3 a pop can soon add up if you’re buying several varieties. The good news is that there are loads of ways to buy seeds for less or even get them for free.

When we moved from London to Suffolk, I had great intentions about growing some of our own food. I made the odd attempt in London, keen to show my children where food came from. Despite our postage stamp of a garden, I had a tomato plant on top of the fridge, some strawberries in a hanging basket and a few beans growing up the garden fence.

Getting hold of seeds is the first step to growing your own food, so I’ve been investigating ways to buy them for less.

Cheap packets may contain fewer seeds than fancy packs from big brands. However, if you don’t want to plant huge quantities of the same thing, and get stuck with a glut of courgettes / lettuces / radishes, then why waste money buying more than you need?

Here’s my round up of 8 places to get cheap or free garden seeds.

Picture of packets of cheap seeds from Wilko, from 25p for salad leaves, 50p for tomatoes, radishes and spinach, and 75p for courgettes

Bundle of seed bargains from Wilko

1. Dive into discount stores for cheap garden seeds

Simple enough really – if you want inexpensive seeds, try inexpensive shops.

Wilko is a great source of cheap seeds. Stores are still open, as Wilko sells essentials such as over the counter medication, cleaning products and pet food. The budget options with beetroot, parsnip and lettuce packs from as little as 25p, and other varieties at 50p and 75p are only available in store.

Sadly, most of the stuff available to buy online is out of stock, but you might get lucky and find a few options for delivery.

When I checked the Wilko website this morning, of 220 listings for fruit and veg seeds, only 15 were available: £1 mange tout, £1.50 cucumber, £1.50 cabbage, six different seed potato packs for £2.50 each, a couple of runner bean varieties, climbing beans and cucumber for £3 each, and hanging basket kits for strawberries and cherry tomatoes at £6 a pop.

Poundland won’t deliver, but some branches are still open, and its website lists seed potatoes for £1.

If you can make it to an Aldi, they are selling a multipack of veg seeds available in store only. £1.35 gets you a whopping 10 varieties, including lettuce, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and peas.

Most B&M branches are still open, and it promises a ‘3 for the price of 2’ offer on Mr Fothergills seeds. Apart from a lone £1.45 packet of lettuce seeds mentioned on the website, other veg options start from £2.15 a packet.

Picture of 20 packets of seeds that came free with a special offer subscription to Kitchen Garden magazine

Free seeds with a previous Kitchen Garden mag subscription

2. Get gardening magazines with free seeds

Lots of the gardening magazines include free seeds on the cover, but often the magazines themselves aren’t cheap.

The best bargain I’ve seen is the chance to subscribe to Kitchen Garden magazine for a £6.

You not only get 3 issues of the magazine, normally £4.99 each, but 20 packets of veg seeds on top. You’ll even get extra seeds with each copy of the magazine.

The only catch is that you’ll need to cancel your subscription before your discount issues stop, or you’ll end up paying £20 every six months.

Alternatively, subscriptions to Grow Your Own magazine cost £24.80 every six issues with up to 10 packets of seeds with every issue – plus a free plug plant and seed bundle worth over £30 when you first sign up.

Other gardening magazines such as BBC Gardeners’ World often shove free seeds on the front, but you’re likely to find a fair amount of flower seeds, as opposed to veg.

Picture of stuff in special offer potato growing kit with extra free seeds.

Example of ‘free’ potato growing kit that actually cost £5.95 for postage

3. Sign up for magazine mailing lists

On simliar lines, I somehow ended up on the mailing list for Gardeners’ World magazine. Every so often, I get emails with assorted offers, such as the chance to claim a free potato growing kit. Worth keeping an eye out, but beware that the “free” offers normally inolve paying chunky postage. Check out current offers here, including 10% off at Dobies and Marshalls, and consider signing up for email newsletters from other gardening companies and magazines too.

4. Order from online seed specialists

I’ve ended up with more cheap and free seeds than I know what to do with from the sources above.

However, I have seen recommendations for the website MoreVeg. Right now, it’s shut. But it’s due to reopen for new orders on Saturday 25 April from 10am.

Normally MoreVeg sells small packets of seeds, rather than saddling you with more seeds than you could sow or your family could eat. It promises more than 500 varieties at just 50p per packet, but also does special offers bundling packets even cheaper. Postage is free for seed orders over £10, but is still only £1.35 if you’re spending less than a tenner.

5. Seek special offers from the big seed companies

Times can’t be great if garden centres are shut, so it’s worth seeing what the big seed companies have on special offer.

Thompson & Morgan are running a seed clearance offer at £1 a pack, with 23 veg options currently showing in stock. Postage and packing is £2.95 on seed orders.

DT Brown are listing more than 50 varieties of veg seeds at 99p a pack, but warn of higher than normal demand, which means delivery may take longer than normal. Postage on seed only orders only costs 95p.

Marshalls is showing nearly 50 veg options in stock at £1.49 or less per packet, including Unwins ‘Little Growers’ suitable for young gardeners. Small items shipping is £1.99 but Marshalls also warns that deliveries are taking longer than normal.

Meanwhile Suttons lists 24 veg varieties available at £1.55 or less a packet. Postage costs £1.99 an order on seeds.

6. Join a gardening club

Usually, gardening clubs can be a good way to meet other like-minded souls and find people willing to swap seeds or even more organised seed swaps.

COVID-19 may have put the kibosh on physical meetings, but it could still be worth emailing your local club, to see if anyone is up for sharing unwanted seeds. One friend also called a local florist, who has promised to pass on leftover seedlings.

A picture of a glass of water with mint sprigs that have grown roots, on my kitchen windowsill

A marvel of hydroponic gardening, ie leaving sprigs of mint in water too long

7. Grow from cuttings or existing plants

While these aren’t strictly seeds, I’ve had minor success in getting cuttings to root in a glass of water (by accident, admittedly). I also bought a few growing herb pots from supermarkets. These may not be in the best condition, but they stand more chance of surviving if you can repot into a larger container, or plant them out in the garden.

8. Stalk garden centre sales

Who knows how the dust will settle after the pandemic. I suspect some garden centres will be forced to close permanently. But for those that reopen later in the year, look out for end of season sales. If you go shopping for seeds in September or October, you may be able to grab seeds for pennies rather than pounds ready for next year.

So now over to you – any other great sources of where to get garden seeds for free? Where to pay less for seed packets? I’d love to hear, so do share your tips in the comments.

Growing your own fruit and veg can be a great way to cut food costs. Find out my top 8 places to get seeds for less during lockdown.

How To Get FREE Or Cheap Plants and Seeds

Gardening is a fun hobby that is refreshing can easily be inexpensive. Here are some easy ways to get free plants and seeds for your garden!

How To Get FREE Or Cheap Plants and Seeds

Since we’re moving and I can’t have a garden this year I am going to live vicariously through the blog and share all my gardening tips. I do have all the plants I’m taking in pots so they’re ready to go. The “few of my favorites that I just have to take” turned out to be about 20 pretty large containers of plants. I think I have one very full car load of plants alone! If you are just starting out with a new garden, check out these tips to help you save when getting plants.

How To Find Inexpensive Plants

If you see plants at a store that are in bad shape but not dead, talk to the manager. Ask him if he will give you a “deal” if you take them off his hands. Most of the time they will give you a deal because the plants look bad and they don’t want to mess with them anymore.

Last year I was able to purchase over 50 large half gallon to gallon sized perennials for $50. (over $600 retail) All but about five of them lived and I was able to take those back to the store and get my money back.

Most home improvement and discount stores have a guarantee that if your plant dies within one year, you can bring the dead plant and the receipt and they will give you your money back or give you a new plant.

Trade plants with friends. Divide your plants or get divisions from family. We divided four hostas over two years to get over 30 plants. If you see someone digging in their garden and throwing out plants, ask if you can have them. Most people are more than willing to give you their extras.

Plant zinnias and marigolds in areas where you want a lot color with little fuss. Just work the soil, put the seeds down and by early summer you’ll have lots of flowers. You can have cut flowers all summer!

Many ladies are familiar with the cookie swaps, where you each bring five dozen cookies and trade. Try organizing a plant-swap with cuttings/starters of different plants using the same concept.

From: Megan

  1. We have a local adult service for the developmentally handicapped. They have a greenhouse where they sell plants, herb and vegetable seedlings, and even fruits and vegetable that they raise (for job training). The cost is half or less than that of any stores in town. They will often give you a free plant in exchange for giving them your old plastic pots.
  2. Our local technical college has a horticulture program. Twice a year they have greenhouse sales and the selection and prices are terrific. Get on the department’s email list and get there early. Some high schools do this, too.
  3. Our county has a website set up like freecycle that will let people give away or swap plants, seeds, etc.
  4. Don’t overlook the obvious: Buy seeds and plants at grocery and drug stores. Right after mother’s day they move it all out for the July 4th sales. I just bought name brand $1.99 seed packets for 10 cents a pack and some already bloomed flowers for $1.00 a plant, regularly $20. Once in the ground, you can give them some water and TLC and they will bloom again.
  5. Post on freecycle and Craigslist for any plants or gardening needs. You may have to do a little digging.
  6. Check with you local Native Plant Society. They try to secure permission from developers to remove native species prior to development. Yes, you will have to dig these up. They often have extra native plants and they are suitable for you climate.

Dividing Plants

We save money on gardening by cloning a lot of plants. While some plants clone easier than others, a great many can successfully be duplicated.

For example, your neighbor may have a bush or flower that you really admire but don’t want to pay what it costs from the store. Ask if you can take a cutting from their plant. Since you only need a small piece, most folks are happy to oblige.

You want to snip off a piece from the tip of a branch consisting of several leaves. Wrap the end in a wet paper towel and, once home, strip off any lower leaves to leave a stem. Put this in a small pot of high quality potting soil and water.

Four-inch pots work well for cloning. Make sure your pots can drain water and keep moist! A little water every day or so is good. You just need to keep the stem moist so it will start putting out roots. You can use a root-stimulating product, but we don’t. For plants difficult to clone, like roses, I imagine it would be worthwhile. You dip the stem in the stimulator, then plant. Some folks advise covering clones with plastic to hold in moisture. We’ve tried that but had lots of problems with mold.

After your plant is well rooted you can plant as usual.

Note from Tawra:

A root stimulator is a very good idea. It’s about $3 for a small bottle which will last the rest of your life! All you do is dip the end in the powder and then put in the soil in the pot. I have found that this will save a lot of frustration and greatly speed up the time that it takes for the plants to be ready.

Gardening is a fun hobby that is refreshing can easily be inexpensive. Here are some easy ways to get free plants and seeds for your garden!