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.


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