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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thrifty Gardening Tips: A Two Season Trick

Here is Part 8 of The Home Garden's Weekly series about how to garden on a budget.

I call it the Two Season Trick but there really isn't much of a trick to it. Just plan in fall for spring and plan in spring for fall! Or as a general rule plan ahead at least two seasons. The budgetary savings here may not seem so obvious but if we dig a little deeper you will find it.


Bulbs


Suppose you want bulbs to be blooming in the spring. You can either plant them in the fall or wait until they are sold in stores already blooming in pots in the spring. The plants you buy in the spring will cost more, besides fall is the best time to plant most bulbs.

New Plants: Perennials, Shrubs, and Trees

I mentioned earlier in this series about buying smaller plants and that's where planning ahead two seasons can really make a difference. A smaller plant purchased a couple seasons early will eventually end up just as good if not better than the larger one purchased in season.

Most garden centers (I'm not including nurseries in this) will sell you the plants when they are blooming. People see the blooming plants and are immediately drawn to them. If you go ahead and buy the blooming plants you will spend more than if you purchase them before they have bloomed.

Buy your perennials in the fall when the sales are happening and you not only save money but you get a plant established for the spring season. A perennial, shrub, or tree planted in the fall will get the advantage of a winter's worth of root growth. Slow though they may be roots still grow when it's cold, as long as the ground isn't frozen!

'Snow Hill' Salvia x superba


Garden Beds

Preparing your garden beds a couple seasons before you need them is a good way to save a few bucks. In fact preparing your garden beds in fall before you need them in the spring is probably the best time to do it. It also requires less effort, just use the news! Newspaper that is. Lay down several layers of wet newspaper where you want your garden or flower bed to be. Then layer grass clippings, shredded leaves, and mulch over it. When spring comes you will have a ready made garden bed, itching to be planted. If you want to you could add other organic materials like compost or peat into the mix. This will save you time in the spring and better prepare your garden for planting your favorite perennials. By applying the grass clippings and shredded leaves you add organic material that will help to enrich the soil which will reduce the fertilizer you may be tempted to use during the growing season.


For a look at the previous Thrifty Gardening Tips check out these posts:

Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 1: Buying and Saving Discount Discount Plants
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 1 Follow Up: Buying and Saving Discount Plants
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 2: The Generosity of Gardeners
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 3: Save Gas, Only Mow Where You Go
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 4: Think Small Plants
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 5: Make Compost
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 6: Making a List
Thrifty Gardening Tips Part 7: Know Thy Landscape

11 comments :

  1. The thrifty bucks comment and photo was great!

    Wouldn't it be wonderful, if Big Box stores ordered more plants for fall planting, on the other hand I am going to head to one this morning to catch a sale!

    Gail

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  2. Thrifty bucks? I get it! Good tips for sure.

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  3. Wonderful tips for an economical garden! :)

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  4. It's great to have these reminders and great tips. Thanks Dave!

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  5. Great tips Dave. I like to buy alot of perennials via mail order at this time of year to be planted in the fall. They won't bloom until next year, but they will be more established for the next growing season. Plus mailorder sources usually have specials right now like discounts.

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  6. Hhaha, I love the buck picture next to the saving a few bucks comments. LoL.

    I do agree that buying seeds or bulbs is much cheaper than waiting until the spring.

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  7. As always Dave, an excellent suggestion on savings & advice to save one's work time & energy.
    Thanks a lot.

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  8. I like this series you've started. Good info. I've used the newspaper trick for many years. Not only does it work, but you're recycle newspaper at the same time. Unfortunately, I can't take advantage of the fall sale situation as we barely have any place around that sells plants in fall. I have been able to get some sale plants though in late spring, early summer when they begin to wind down for the season.

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  9. What a great bunch of tips. I am gullty of buying plants in bloom on impulse. I know I should buy them in the fall, and with this reminder, now I will. Thanks.

    I am putting in a fall garden right now so getting the beds ready will have to wait a while. I may skip a winter garden this year. I need to wind up some of my crafts I have started. Great tips.

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  10. Good buck-saving tips Dave!

    Fall is my favorite time to plant for the reasons you mentioned. And, I need to figure out what kind of border I'm putting around a veggie garden I plan for next spring. I need to stop procrastinating so I can start smothering grass. And I need to save up some newspapers. Thanks for the timely reminders!

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  11. I'm glad everyone liked the buck comment. :)

    I hope everyone is getting ready for fall planting. The nurseries will probably start to get their fall stock in mid September and the box stores much sooner.

    PGL,

    Good idea with the mail order companies. You can find a good variety of stuff through their catalogs.

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