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Frugal Fall Gardening

The first warm days of spring are now long gone, and the “dog days” heat of summer is starting to wane a bit. By late summer and early autumn, many gardeners have “thrown in the trowel” and are ready to relax a bit.¬†That’s a shame, really. Because fall can be a great time for garden activities. While you may not be growing enough squash and zucchini to feed a small army, you can still get out of doors and garden to your heart’s content. Plus, I’ll let you in on a little secret…fall gardening is relatively cheap and frugal zealots like me love it!¬†Fall is a great time to work on gardening chores like transplanting. It’s also a great time of year to stock up on gardening items and equipment at a fraction of the cost.

Get End-of-Season Deals

Cooler weather in the fall is the perfect time for planting many trees, shrubs, and other perennials in most areas of the country. The soil is still warm, but even cooler weather is around the corner and there’s not as much risk of your trees and shrubs dying from the heat. Many greenhouses and nurseries will deeply discount their nursery stock at this time of year, clearing room for Halloween pumpkins and Christmas trees. This makes it an even better time to plant some new fruit trees, some ornamental shrubs, or whatever suits your fancy. Many nurseries will also discount leftover summer plants and container plants. You can take them home and allow them to overwinter in the house if you really like a good bargain.

Gardening tools, yard equipment, and generally all gardening supplies will be discounted this time of year. (However chainsaws never seem to go on sale.) Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and most yard maintenance equipment will be discounted. Patio items such as lawn furniture, outdoor grills, and even nice outdoor pots and birdbaths can be found at deep discount. So if you’ve had your eye on something special for “outdoor living” all summer, now is the time to purchase.

You may even find heirloom seeds, organic fertilizer, like ProtoGrow, and other gardening items on sale.

Find “Free” Stuff Around Your House

Tired of paying lots of money each season for bags of mulch? Make your own organic compost and use it for mulch instead! Fall is a great time to tackle the compost chore. Build your own compost bin, or simply make a compost pile in the back yard. It’s a great “weekend warrior” project you’ll use season after season…and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Want access to free plants? Look no further than around your yard. (And perhaps a neighbor’s yard or two.) Many mature, established perennial plants can be divided in the fall. This gives you free flowers to use around the yard, and to give away to family and friends. Dividing plants costs you next to nothing, aside from your time and labor. Why not host a plant swap with a few gardening buddies? You’ll all go home with some nice (and free) plants to enjoy. Many garden clubs take the opportunity this time of year to hold plant swap parties or to have sales where they feature plants and cuttings from their members gardens. This is another excellent way to get your hands on some nice plants for less money, and often the garden club donates their profits to good community causes.

Don’t waste a pretty late summer or fall day inside. There’s plenty you can still do out in the garden. You just have to do it!

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