Seed Saving and Frugal Gardening

Seed saving is a frugal and empowering way to garden.

You plant a seed, care for it, watch it grow, enjoy your bounty and in the end, you are presented with more seeds, to start all over again.

You hold in your hands the circle of life!

Seed saving and frugal gardening

For the price of one packet of seeds, you can continue growing that variety for years to come, just by collecting and saving the seeds.  After the first year, I consider the seeds for each following year to be free because of the money I saved growing that veggie and not having to buy it in the store.  Between saved seeds, free seeds and seeds I find on sale, my veggie garden costs me next to nothing every year.  Plus, I can grow way more plants than I could afford to buy.

I have been saving peas and beans for years.  The peas and beans are eaten by us and put into my homemade dog food recipe Doggy Stew, so those free seeds are paying big dividends.

You may also have friends, family or neighbors who grow outstanding varieties you might like to try.  Trading seeds is an even cheaper way to garden!

Seed saving can also be done with flowers, of course.  I grow a TON of Zinnias every year from saved seeds.  I enjoy the bright, cheerful Zinnias and they attract lots of bees, that in turn, pollinate my veggies!  I also grow Geraniums and Petunias from seed.

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Some seeds need to be started indoors, prior to planting outside. Starting seedlings is a bit of trial and error, as anyone who has ever tried it, will know.  In spite of a few failures and disappointments, it is the most amazing feeling to collect tomatoes from a tomato plant that reaches up to your chin, and know that you started it from a tiny seed!  That feeling is worth a million bucks!

Speaking of tomato plants; they can be really expensive too.  I saved big money this year by starting mine from seed , plus I had extra plants to give away and sell.  So, I’m not just saving money, I’m also making money!

There are many good websites explaining how to collect various seeds, so I won’t go into that, but  if you are excited to try, start with something easy like Zinnias, beans or peas. Beans and peas are easy to collect seeds from; just let them dry on the plant.  When they are dry, crack open the pods and keep the seeds.  Zinnias are easy too.  Just cut the heads off the plant after they have lost their brightness and start to turn brown.  If they feel a little moist, lay them on a screen (like in the photo below) until they feel dry.  I keep mine in paper bags over the winter and come Spring, I break the heads apart and collect the seeds!


Take note:  Hybrid plants are a cross of two different varieties.  The seeds will not grow true to the parent.  Save Heirloom or standard seeds to get the same variety you started with.

I hope I’ve convinced you to try some seed saving.  I go a bit overboard with it, myself.  I find it hard to throw dead plants when I know there are seeds there, free for the taking.  I think to myself, “I can’t throw these, they will grow!”

Seed saving and frugal gardening


  • Saving lots of money
  • Learning a valuable skill
  • Creating varieties that grow the best in your area
  • Sharing seeds with others
  • Sharing plants you grow from your seeds




Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

Free Food

It’s always exciting when March rolls around, because that’s when I get serious about starting my seedlings!

Of course the whole process starts around Christmas time, when that first seed catalog arrives in the mail and my eyes get all big, looking at delicious varieties of veggies and colorful flowers.  In no time at all, I have picked my seeds I want to order and I have figured out my garden plan.

Then…..I wait.

Although the time between planning and action is excruciatingly long, there are a few uplifting moments along the way.  Getting seed orders in the mail, for instance.   A box containing packets of seeds will illicit squeals and erratic dancing.  (I don’t care who sees it, I’m going to celebrate.)

This year, after the squealing and dancing, I set about playing with my seed packets; putting them in stacks according to seedling start dates, cool season seeds, warm season seeds, etc.  While holding all this potential life in my hands, the idea came to me that I should start lots of seedlings and sell the extras to pay for my seed orders!

Now I know this isn’t rocket science, but I’ve always just started enough seedlings for my garden and a few to share with my daughter and son-in-law.  I’ve been quite shy about my seedlings being good enough to sell.  But, this year I’m going to hold my head up high and offer my extras for sale!

After finding all my seed starting supplies, deciding upon a pricing point and figuring out my break even point,  I decided I could utilize all my trays and even make a bit of a profit.  Which means:



With the exciting thought of free food from our garden this summer, I embarked on my plan:

I got my dirt out.

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

I always use dirt from my garden.  My soil is very healthy and I’ve never had problems getting my seeds to start by using it.  In the fall, I fill a bucket with soil and set it in a place that’s easy to get to when I need it for seedlings.  About a week before I want to plant, I bring the bucket inside so the soil can thaw.

I also got out my trusty seedling carts (aka Mid Century Metal Dining Carts).

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

These carts are just the right height for our windows, I can store extra gardening supplies on the shelves underneath and they are easy to move outside when I harden off the plants.   Nice way to re-purpose something, too! 😉

Then it’s time for the cells

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

I re-use cells and Styrofoam cups if I haven’t had any bug or disease problems in previous years.

Herbs are first on the list.  Later, I’ll start peppers, tomatoes and basil.

Herbs are first on the list, so I got cells ready according to my figuring I had done a month or two ago. I re-use cells and Styrofoam cups if I haven't had any bug or disease problems in previous years.

I got everything marked, planted, watered, and covered.

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

And now, once again….I wait.  😛

I’ll keep you updated on my project and I’ll also let you know around the end of May how my sales have turned out and if, indeed, we are getting free food from our garden this year.  Fingers crossed!

P.S.   I also did a little DIY fixing on one of my carts this year.  It was missing a wheel and I don’t have a replacement, so I went hunting in a junk drawer for something that would substitute for a wheel.  I found the insert of a donut cutter, some duct tape and a zip tie.  Problem solved!

DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life

DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life

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