INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — You couldn’t ask for much better weather to do a little work outside: you won’t freeze and you won’t sweat too much.
That’s great news because now is the time to get your plants and trees ready to burst into action next spring. We are stretching your dollar with several tips for your green thumb to save a lot of green. Spring is when most people hit the gardening centers but now is just as good, if not better. For one, the prices are way down.
“Now is the time to double your plant population for free. You can divide mature perennials, giving the roots time to settle before the ground freezes. For example, hostas by now can become a bit crowded, so I'm going to get two plants from one. I simply dig it up, split it and then replant two plants,” said Sharon Hadden, a garden expert with Allisonville Nursery.
You should also do what few home gardeners do: look to see what's growing in your garden because sometimes positive accidents do happen. On occasion, you can find a rogue tree or plant growing. It may not be where you want it, but you can gently dig it up and replant it where you want, and get a tree or plant for nothing.
Don’t forget that your garden center likely has more than just trees and plants, if you're looking to stretch your dollar.
“This time of year there are plenty of sales happening. In our case, we have garden statues, hundreds of containers and even a variety of fountains on sale. It's a great time to come to the nursery and have a look and see what we've put on sale toward the end of the year,” said Hadden.
Another positive aspect of working in your garden or flower beds now is the ground is still warm and not frosted over and generally not too wet. It’s an ideal time to plant and get your items in the ground instead of waiting until next spring. And if you do take advantage of the decent weather and good deals, don't just get a plant, take it home and re-plant it because that could easily kill it. Experts recommend using fertilizer--and using it properly.
“You want all the growth to be happening down at the bottom of the plant where the roots are. There’s a great product called Bio-tone that we encourage everyone to use. You just put a little of it in the hole when you plant and it stimulates the roots to grow so you're helping your plant to get through the winter,” said Hadden.
The simplest way to save money and save your plants is to rake and remove what can choke them out. Leaves are starting to fall and while they may look pretty, they often don’t help what you have planted in your garden.
Another way to save money when transitioning your garden to fall and eventually winter is to harvest seeds from your plants and save them for the next growing season. It’s stretching your dollar without spending a single penny!
“You’ll find seed heads that form on certain plants. What you want to do is wait for a really dry day, get a little envelope and just place your seed head next to it. Then just tap or shake the seed head over the envelope and the seeds will come out and you’ll have them handy for next year,” said Hadden.
The final benefit of going to your nursery now, unlike in the springtime, is that almost no one's out shopping for plants or trees. You’ll likely have the run of the place to yourself and you won’t be fighting over the good deals.