Wow, I cannot believe we are already talking spring! I love gardening, but I’ve learned many lessons over the years on how to preserve my dollars and still have a well-manicured lawn and garden. Now is the time to start planting, so take some notes while I give you the lowdown on affordable gardening.
Pick a high-quality nursery
I’m just going to say it- not all nurseries are created equal. Just because something is cheaper doesn’t always mean you’re getting a quality for your money. I have gone to one nursery selling a scrawny and low-blooming plant at a steal, only to find the same plant for $10 more at another nursery, but in bright, full bloom. I would always go the latter route to get your garden off to the best start possible. The exception here is mulch and mix. I find this to be pretty standard across the board, so buy where it’s cheapest!
Take it from someone who’s learned the hard way- if you don’t know what plants will work on your property, ask a friend with a green thumb. Sunlight, the position of your home, water retention and your availability to provide TLC are all factors that should go into your plant selections.
One plant can thrive with a bit of shade and absolutely wilt under the sun. Others will gulp down water while some prefer small sips. I can literally plant something in my backyard that won’t grow in the front.
Once you find what you like and can reasonably manage the cost and upkeep, just purchase the same plants annually and you’ll experience success. Be sure to keep notes of what works best.
Consider an investment
I’ve been surprised to find that some of the pricier plant selections, such as a Hibiscus, can actually go dormant in the off-season. While the initial cost is higher, by simply watering them throughout the year you can bring them back out in the spring during full bloom. Too often people simply pitch their potted plants at the end of the summer once it’s starts to get chilly, so be sure to research the life cycle of your plants. You may be surprised to find that they can actually be preserved year-round!
Borrow, don’t buy supplies
Gardening supplies are most affordable during end-of-season sales. Since we are now coming into season, you will currently find pots, planters, rakes and shovels at full price. My advice? Borrow these items from neighbors and hit up the sales at the end of the season. Most of them work exactly the same and can easily be cleaned up and returned with no hassle.
Spruce up your curb appeal with a gorgeous selection of spring flowers on a budget. By utilizing some supplies and expertise from local experts, you’ll be well on your way to an annual garden in no time!
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.