While the saying "April Showers bring May Flowers" may be more popular, the saying “Preparing your lawn and garden in April in a money-wise manner will bring you savings, as well as flowers, vegetables and healthy, green grass” is every bit as true. No, it doesn’t rhyme, and it’s way too long, but you’d be a fool not to heed its message.
Here are 5 Simple Tips that will turn that message into a reality:
1. Shop Smartly
Bigger isn’t always better, but you’re most likely to find the lowest prices on plants, tools, pots, fertilizer, etc. at places like Lowe’s, OSH, or Home Depot. However, when buying plants from these big-boxers, do your research first. Find out which day(s) their plants are delivered so you can get them fresh. Just because they can safely stack washing machines 2 stories high doesn’t mean they give their plants all they TLC they require. You will have saved zero if your greenery dies 2 days after you buy it and you have to repurchase.
2. Create a List – And Stick To It!
Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, and never go garden shopping without a list of what you intend to buy. Map out what you want to plant before heading to store and don’t be taken in by all of the beautiful and exotic specimens that you’re sure to encounter. If you’re not careful, with all of the attractive lawn and garden accessory and maintenance items out there, you could end up coming home with 50 garden gnomes or an air-conditioned John Deere tractor.
3. When Practical, Grow Instead of Shop
It’s highly unlikely that you can erase your grocery bill by growing everything you consume, but you might be surprised by how big of a dent you can put into it. Some of the most pricey, yet easy-to-grow items (even on an apartment balcony) include dill, chives, cilantro, and tomatoes.
Here’s a great tip I found on the HGTV website for drying out your homegrown herbs that really works: Lay a sheet of newspaper on your car seat, then lay out the herbs on it with the windows closed. The herbs will dry quickly and make your car smell like a garden on wheels.
4. Conserve Water
It’s easier than you may think. to be green while growing your greens. The average lawn needs about an inch of water per week to grow and stay healthy. Put a rain gauge out to keep track of how much water yours is actually getting and set your sprinklers accordingly. This not only saves on your utility bill, it’s good for the community and environment, too. For a comprehensive list of tips on cutting down water use in general, check out National Geographic’s.
5. Maintain Your Tools
Tools and big-ticket items like mowers, mulchers, and trimmers need the same care you show your garden if you don’t want to be spending a fortune to replace them every few years. Store them all in a weather-resistant location and follow the manufacturers’ maintenance instructions to the letter. Sure, this may seem like a no-brainer, but if it is, then why do you have to buy a new shovel every year because you left it out in the rain all winter?
On another eco-friendly note, powered garden tools are getting greener and more energy efficient all the time. If you are in the market for some new ones, Home Depot’s EGO line is hard to beat. Their 56-volt lithium-ion batteries charge up in only 30 minutes. Can you say, “Using less electricity means more money in my pocket?” Can you also say, “If I’m going to buy something, I better be able to use a coupon to do it?”
So, get your lawn and garden game on, get green, and keep green in your wallet at the same time. It’s not that hard to do and gardening is good for your mind and body. Don’t believe me? Read this from US News & World Report. Happy Spring and Summer to you and yours! And don’t over-water!