Free Resources To Get You Started

Free Resources To Get You Started

Free Resources To Get You Started

It might be your first year gardening or you may have been doing this for a long time. But one thing they don’t tell you about gardening is it can get extremely expensive. There are ways to reduce your costs like starting your plants yourself or even saving your seeds. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing starters or even ordering plants online. But if you don’t have a large budget, here are some great free resources to get you started.

Find Your Growing Zone Information

There are a lot of different growing zone calculators out on the internet, and some of them vary by a few days or even zones for the same location. When you are planning your garden, we like to double-check our growing zone using the USDA Plant Hardiness Map. Not only will it tell you your current growing zone, but it will tell you the high and low temperatures in your area.

Does this mean you can’t grow that tropical plant if you live in the north? Not at all. But it is a great resource to match on those plant tags. If something isn’t native to your area, it may not over-winter in your area, and it may need to come inside for the cooler months. But as someone who has tropical plants on my patio each season, it’s good to know what has to come in and what can stay outside.

Want to know when it’s finally safe to plant outside in your gardens? Be sure to check out your last frost dates by zip code.

Free Seeds

It may be shocking for some people to hear, but dollar store cucumber seeds and the fancy $6 pack ones both will grow and produce in your garden. You may not be able to get some of the same variety at some of the budget sites and dollar stores – but if you’re on a budget, that may not be an issue.

What if we told you there were places you could get free seeds? These are a great resource for a limited budget or if you are just starting out, but these sites never ask about your budget when you fill out their forms. Their goal – is to get more people growing and some of them have those rare and heirloom varieties you can get at much higher costs.

Free Heirloom Seeds

Free Heirloom Seeds open up its seed request in February each year until they’ve exhausted its resources. Every person who requests can get up to 4 varieties of seeds for free. If you are able to chip in for shipping to help the program continue to grow they can, and will, send you a lot more.

Live Monarch

Have you ever wanted to grow your own pollinator garden and attract more monarch butterflies to your yard and garden? Live Monarch offers free milkweed and mixed seeds to grow a butterfly garden to help your garden grow and help local pollinators.

The Free Seed Project

Just getting started and want a variety of seeds to try? Check out the Free Seed Project, they send gardeners who request it can get 12 different seed packets including turnips, onions, herbs, greens, flowers, and more.

Seed Libraries

Believe it or not, some libraries actually have a seed section where you can “check out” seeds to use in your garden. They do hope that people will add more seeds to the library to keep them growing. Check out this Seed Library Database.

If you are located in Michigan like we are – here are some Seed Libraries you can check out.

Butterfly Garden

Want to start a butterfly garden and don’t know where to start? The National Wildlife Federation offers a Free Butterfly Garden kit for a pledge to garden more.

Milkweed and Black Eyed Susan Seeds

ALT National Parks has a program where you can get free Black Eyed Susan and Milkweed seeds on their site. A great way to encourage and support local pollinators.

Pollinator Mix

Grab this great Pollinator Mix for your garden from Save our Monarchs. The package of multiple seeds is free but they do ask for $1 for shipping.

Planning Guides

Planning your garden can get overwhelming, but thankfully there are sites and apps for that now. Yes, you can map it out by hand, but if you want to take the guess work out of spacing you may want to check out some of these free planners.

Farmer’s Almanac

This planner has come a long way in the past several years, it really is a drag and drop system. You can use it for one week for free each year, but otherwise, they do require a $30 membership. Depending on the size of your garden and your plans – you can easily use the Garden Planner in that one week to map out your garden.

Planter – Garden Planner

This is one of our favorite apps to use. And it is absolutely free with one garden, but $9.99 a year if you want to map out more than one garden. While I do pay for the service, you could easily map a whole yard in one garden and stay with the free plan.

Gardener’s Kitchen Garden Planner

Gardner’s offers a lot of great resources for free on their site like soil calculators and more. Their garden planner is extremely useful and can not only help you with spacing but will give you PDFs with a planting schedule if you want one too.

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