Free Seeds for Education

Free Seeds for Education
hand pruning seedlings
 

The 2024 Free Seeds for Education are available now 

The purpose of the Free Seeds for Education Program is to provide seeds that can be used in educational gardens for teaching and learning.

Free Seeds Program Submission Requirements:

  1. Free Seeds are available for educational gardens within New Hampshire, including school gardens, youth gardens, and non-profit organizations.
  2. Each order may include up to 10 seed packets. Orders greater than 10 will be rejected.
  3. Please only one order per classroom or organization.
  4. Substitutions may be made if your first choice is not available.
  5. Special orders may be sent to nh_freeseeds@comcast.net. Please include desired varieties, quantities, and the purpose for your special order.
  6. Remember, these seeds were packaged for a previous year (that’s why they’re free). Germination rates may not be as high as “fresh” seeds. Learn how to conduct a germination test.

Order Free Seeds for Education

Special thanks to our hard-working UNH Extension Master Gardener Volunteers who inventory, sort and fill orders, and to the businesses who support the program by donating seeds.  

Seedling Emerging
The Story of Our Free Seeds for Education Program

Beginning in 2017, UNH Extension Master Gardeners have offered this unique resource to educators who want to teach others about growing plants in the Granite State. The seeds are donated by stores and mailed to eligible educational groups, including  schools, home schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, 4-H clubs, community gardens, youth groups and individuals conducting education. Over 100 vegetable, herb and flower seed varieties are available.  Details change slightly from year to year and are described in an online order form.  

The free seed program was started by UNH Extension Master Gardener Gary Sheehan, who got the idea after hearing of a similar program at the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension. “At first I had no idea how to go ahead, so I, and four or five other Master Gardeners, pounded the pavement visiting local garden shops asking for discarded seed packets and started collecting.” They found that, not only did smaller garden centers throw away the past season’s expired seed packets, but so did larger stores, such as Walmart and Home Depot, who are frequent contributors. Although “the seeds are technically expired by a month or so when we get them,” Gary says, “germination tests conducted the past two years showed the seeds were viable.”  Read "Spreading Seeds: Master Gardener Gary Sheehan Leads the Free Seed Project"


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Got questions? The Ask UNH Extension Infoline offers practical help finding answers for your home, yard, and garden questions.
Call toll free at 1-877-398-4769, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or e-mail us at answers@unh.edu.