As spring deepens and vibrantly colored flowers blossom everywhere, you might be dreaming about a garden of your own. You’ll till the soil, pat the fertilizer into place and plant your young shoots with tender care. You’ll make sure they get just the right amount of sunlight and water, and you’ll be careful to keep out unwanted pests with strong fences and natural pesticides. And you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables, straight from your very own garden.
But when you hit the stores to start shopping for your garden, the sticker shock can be alarming. There’s so much to buy-and it’s all so expensive! There’s specialized equipment, must-have tools, frequent runs for seeds and fertilizer and a steady supply of weed killers and animal repellents. You might be wondering: Can I really afford to have the garden of my dreams?
Yes, you can! Save on gardening costs this year with these six creative hacks:
1.) Share equipment
You won’t be able to care for your yard and garden without the proper tools, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to get all that equipment. Instead, speak to your neighbors about sharing some of your gardening gear. Let your neighbor use some tools you own, like your weed-whacker, trimmer and spreader, in exchange for free use of your neighbor’s gardening tools. If you dare, consider sharing your larger, more expensive tools like a lawn mower and rototiller as well.
To make it easier, consider tending to your gardens and yards on different days of the week so you know you’ll have your equipment available when you need it.
If you and your neighbor both need to purchase a new tool or machine, talk about splitting the cost and then sharing the tool.
You can also work out a bartering system with your neighbors, exchanging extra gardening supplies, like leftover seeds and fertilizer.
2.) Purchase used gear
You can save big on gardening equipment by looking for second-hand tools and machines. Check out sites like Craigslist, Freecycle and eBay for quality equipment at bargain prices. Be sure to give the pre-owned tool a test run before finalizing a sale.
3.) Rent equipment
Instead of shelling out big bucks on expensive tools you’ll only use once or twice a season, consider renting them as you need them. Home Depot rents out a wide variety of gardening tools at excellent rates, and lots of smaller hardware stores have a similar garden tool rental service during the spring and summer months, too. You’ll have access to quality equipment when you need it at a price you can afford. Plus, you won’t have to worry about storing bulky gardening tools all year long.
4.) Shop the dollar store
Before hitting the big chain stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot, for gardening supplies, check out your local dollar store. You’ll find loads of gardening supplies, like seeds, markers, buckets and planters, at rock-bottom prices in stores like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.
5.) Shop the sales
Like every retail product, gardening equipment and supplies have their season for markdowns and sales, and the wise consumer knows how to time their purchase in order to save big.
Larger gardening equipment, like mowers and tillers, usually sees steep discounts at Memorial Day sale events, making the start of summer an excellent time to stock up on pricey garden tools.
Flowerpots, garden décor, lawn furniture and select plants will retail at blowout prices during the clearance sales at the end of July. If you’re hankering after a new set of Adirondack chairs for your garden, or you want to spruce up your yard with some garden gnomes, this is the time to buy them.
You’ll also see some wilting flowers on sale now; don’t let those drooping leaves scare you. If you find a marked-down perennial past its blooming window, check for strong roots and stems. A firmly rooted perennial planted late in the season might not bring you colorful blossoms this year, but if it’s well cared-for, it will likely recover by next spring and reward you with beautiful, healthy flowers.
Whenever you decide to buy your tools and supplies, be sure to check coupon sites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin before making a purchase.
6.) Buy seeds
Purchasing young transplants is a lot easier and a lot quicker than starting from scratch, but the difference in price can be enormous. You can pick up a packet of flower or vegetable seeds for less than a dollar in many nurseries and through gardening catalogues. You’ll also have a much broader choice of plant when you buy seeds instead of being limited by the store’s pick of transplants. Finally, raising a plant from seedling to vegetable or flower is a uniquely rewarding experience.
Tending a garden and watching it grow is one of life’s last remaining pleasures that remains unaffected by the encroachment of technology. Use these tips to bring your dream garden to life without draining your wallet.
Happy gardening from all of us here at Destinations Credit Union!
Your Turn: How do you save on gardening supplies? Share your best tips and tricks with us in the comments.