Cool Ideas

Fall Gardening Tips to Save Time and Money

Before you put away your gardening gloves and hibernate for the season, there are some easy chores to do that will save you time and money—and come spring, you’ll be glad you did them!

1. Fall is the best time to clean up and plan ahead.
In vegetable garden beds, remove old plants and foliage that has fallen on the ground. In perennial beds, weed and give everything a good layer of mulch. Pick up any fallen fruit around fruit trees. (This helps reduce the chance that pests will wreak havoc next year.) Bring in any terra cotta, ceramic and plastic pots so they don’t crack once it freezes. This is the time to plan your spring and summer garden. YouTube has some great gardening how-to videos that will help you–especially if you are new to this kind of thing or want to try something new such as square foot gardening or organic vegetable gardening.

2. Fall is the best time to plant and transplant several types of plants, and divide others.
Most flowering bulbs should be planted in the fall, such as tulips, daffodils and irises. You’ll want to bring in outdoor hanging baskets before it gets too cold, especially if you plan to overwinter or transplant them. And fall is the best time to divide mature perennials. Water them thoroughly and dig them out of the ground, careful to keep the root ball intact. Separate the root ball into smaller plants by pulling it apart with a pitchfork or, cut it apart with a sharp tool. You must immediately replant and water the divided plants. Another advantage of dividing perennials is that you can share them with your fellow green-thumbed friends!

3. Fall is the best time to build a compost pile and mulch.
Mulching garden beds in fall—with wood chips, compost, or other suitable organic matter— helps to retain ground moisture and protect the plants underneath. These mulches can be turned into the soil next spring to use as fertilizer. Leaves, pumpkins, straw and more can be turned into gardening gold—mulch. Start a compost pile by making up a hoop of three-foot-high chicken wire if you don’t have one already. Or, if you live in the city, you’ll have to seek out urban composting alternatives.

4. Fall is the best time to get great deals on end of season nursery stock.
If you need to put down sod, fall is usually the best and cheapest time to do it. Check with local landscaping and tree removal services in the fall for some of the best prices of the year on mulch. Take advantage of sales as nurseries host clearance sales, making room for fall pumpkins and holiday trees. This is also a great time to go hunting for used lawn and garden equipment, since many people dump their gear at the end of the season. If you plan to buy new, may time the best deals can be found online, so be sure to check CoolSavings Home Improvement coupons first!

5. Fall is the best time to care for your lawn equipment and tools.
Make the time to remove dirt and rust from shovels, hoes, and other metal gardening tools. Oil the metal surfaces on your tools – you can recycle used motor oil for this. Keep your tools from getting rusty by putting the working end in a plastic bag along with some pieces of leftover summer charcoal. Change the oil and fuel filters on lawnmowers and other gas powered garden equipment. The gas tank on your mower should be filled with gasoline that has been treated with a stabilizer to keep the gas fresh and prevent deposits from forming in the engine. Now that you’ve done everything you can to make your spring garden more beautiful, less stressful and less costly, congratulate yourself and relax with a cup of hot tea or cocoa!