For passionate gardeners, only one thing is better than having gorgeous plants and great gardening tools. That’s knowing they snagged their treasures for much less than friends or neighbors paid for them.
How do they do it? “We shop ‘forward’ because we know from experience what we are going to need and use,” explains Lois Rose, an Ohio State University Extension Service master gardener and savvy garden shopper who lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Shopping forward means shopping end-of-season sales at the big “home” stores (Home Depot, Sears, Wal-Mart, etc.) and local garden centers and at garden sites on the Internet.
“At season’s end, selection isn’t all that good,” admits Yvonne Savio, a gardening specialist with the University of California’s Cooperative Extension Service. “But that’s the trade-off you make when you’re getting a bargain.”
Bargain hunting spans the seasons
Post-holiday and end-of-winter sales begin the day after Christmas and are in full swing by mid-January. Exceptionally good deals can be had on outdoor holiday decorations, “distressed” bagged products (composted manure, peat moss, etc.), and scratched-and-dented or discontinued equipment and tools.
Prices continue their downward plunge until everything is sold, says Greg Stack, a horticulture specialist with the University of Illinois’ Extension Department, “because merchants must clear their shelves to get ready for products that are coming in for spring.”
Bargain hunting on the Internet
Many Internet sites offer green-thumbers the same kinds of bargains local stores and centers offer. Some of the best are:
• Charley’s Greenhouse www.charleysgreenhouse.com
Shoppers looking for good deals can usually find something of interest on this site’s “Sale Items” page that can be found once you click “Supplies.”
• Duncraft Inc. www.duncraft.com
Sale and discontinued items can be found on the “Clearance Outlet” page.
• Gardener’s Supply Co. www.gardeners.com
Sale and discontinued items can be found by clicking on “Outlet.”