How to Forage for Your Garden for Free

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When you forage, you go looking for free stuff.

So, how do you forage for your garden? First, you need to know where things grow that haven’t been sprayed. Second, know what you can take back with you.

Great places to look for things like fruit and nut trees are vacant lots, parks, and where foliage grows on the outer edge of a town. Wild berries often grow around railroad tracks or old fences. If you live near an Amish society, they will know where the natural edibles grow. Simply observe where you see their horses and buggies. Here’s how others use foraging to their advantage:

Next time you cruise around town, LOOK at the trees. Chances are you’ll find black walnut, hickory, maybe Chinese chestnut trees as curbside plantings. The true forager learns to spot these trees out of season and returns with containers when the time and the nuts are ripe. And there are usually wild cherries, blackberries and many edible greens in the parks. Euell Gibbons once made a full meal of food foraged in New York’s Central Park.

Much city-tamed wild food goes begging because the average city resident doesn’t realize it’s edible. We’ve found fine clumps of purslane (eaten in India for thousands of years) in patches of curbside weeds. Burdock, lamb’s quarter, dandelion, sorrel, chickweed and chicory are other examples of wild fare that can almost always be found within city limits.

Save the seeds from fruits and other edibles and replant in your own garden.

outdoor bed swingRivers will wash up all kinds of things, including wood which can be used to make raised beds. And folks are always giving away things for free. Check local ads and ask neighbors or community centers.

And, of course, lots of materials get put out in the trash. A great place to look for anything from garden furniture to mattresses for a bed swing is around a college or university campus when kids are leaving for the school year. They usually throw a lot of stuff away so they don’t have to take it back to their parent’s house.

This beautiful bed swing (left) in a garden can easily be made from all reclaimed foraged materials.

The list of useful resources you can find is limitless. Whether it’s someone else’s junk or just extra materials given away by a company, you can find what you need for your garden. And, as in nature, what we need is usually there when we need it. It may not be exactly what we wanted, but it serves its purpose.


Foraging can be a lot of fun and it’s free! You may even find things that you didn’t know you would ever see or use in your garden. So happy foraging!

Thanks to: for the quote.

Tell us your experience of foraging for your garden for free!



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