Looking for the best ways to save money in the garden this fall? Wait until you see these frugal fall gardening tips for a beautiful and bountiful harvest.
As the vibrant hues of summer begin to fade, it’s time to shift our focus to the fall garden. While the air turns crisp and leaves start to drop, your garden still has the potential to flourish for at least a few more months.
But the best part?
You don’t have to break the bank to achieve a bountiful autumn harvest. Whether you are growing a flower, herb, or vegetable garden, with a little planning these frugal fall gardening tips, you can save money while reaping the rewards of a thriving garden.
Learn how to save money in the garden this fall with these budget-friendly tips.
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The Best Frugal Fall Gardening Tips
I’m always looking for ways to save money in the garden. Cause let’s face it, it can be an expensive hobby, am I right?
So if there’s a way to save money in the garden, I’m all about it. And over the years, I’ve learned a few ways to be a bit more frugal with my love for gardening.
Here are some of my best money-saving tips when gardening in the fall.
Save and Sow Seeds
Why spend money on new seeds when you can save and reuse the seeds from your summer flowers and crops?
Just remember to label and properly store them in a cool, dry place for best results.
The Benefits of Sowing Seeds in Late Summer for Fall Crops
As the summer sun starts to mellow and the days gradually become shorter, many gardeners may assume that the growing season is drawing to a close.
However, the late summer period offers a fantastic opportunity to extend your gardening endeavors and enjoy a bountiful harvest well into the fall.
One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by sowing seeds in late summer for fall crops. Here’s why you should do it!
Extended Growing Season
Sowing seeds in late summer allows you to take advantage of the lingering warmth in the soil and the still-warm daytime temperatures.
Many cool season vegetable crops thrive in these conditions, which can lead to a longer growing season compared to spring-planted crops. This extended season gives your plants more time to mature and produce abundant yields.
Fall Gardening With Cooler Temperatures
Fall crops benefit from cooler temperatures that typically arrive as summer transitions into autumn.
Cooler weather can mitigate the stress that heat can impose on plants during the peak of summer, reducing the risk of bolting (premature flowering) in certain crops like lettuce and spinach.
The result is often better-tasting and more tender produce.
Reduced Pest Pressure
Late summer sowings often encounter fewer pest problems compared to earlier in the growing season.
Many common garden pests start to decline as the temperatures cool, which means your fall crops may experience less damage from insects. This can lead to healthier plants and less reliance on pesticides or other pest management techniques.
However, it is still a good idea to use companion planting strategies when growing a fall vegetable harvest to help ensure a healthy garden.
Late summer usually brings more consistent moisture levels, with fewer periods of intense heat that can dry out the soil.
This means less watering from you and helps provide a more stable environment for seed germination and seedling growth.
Additionally, young plants have a better chance of establishing strong root systems before winter arrives, setting them up for success in the following growing season.
Ideal for Root Crops
Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes thrive when sown in late summer for fall harvest.
The cooler soil temperatures encourage these crops to develop better flavor and texture, as the sugars stored in their roots are more slowly converted to starch. The result is often sweeter and crisper produce.
Efficient Space Utilization
As summer crops start to fade, you can repurpose areas of your garden that have become vacant. By sowing fall crops in these spaces, you maximize the use of your garden beds and ensure that your soil remains productive throughout the growing season.
Late summer sowings allow you to diversify what you are growing. While many spring and summer crops are well-known, fall crops can introduce new and exciting flavors to your table. Experimenting with different varieties and types of vegetables can be both educational and enjoyable.
Opting for fall crops through late summer sowings aligns with sustainable gardening practices.
It reduces food miles by providing fresh produce from your own garden later in the year when store-bought options might be shipped from distant locations. This can contribute to a lower carbon footprint and a more self-reliant approach to food.
Homemade Compost and Leaf Mold
Not only does this reduce your waste footprint, but it also enriches your soil naturally, leading to healthier plants.
By composting and making leaf mold, you’ll save money and contribute to a more sustainable garden ecosystem.
Plant Perennials, Shrubs and Trees
Fall is THE BEST TIME to introduce new perennial plants, shrubs, and trees into your garden. These hardy plants come back year after year, saving you money on annual replacements.
Look for native perennials that thrive in your region’s climate, requiring less water and maintenance in the long run.
But the reason fall is the best time to plant new things, is because nurseries sell them off at a huge discount the closer we approach winter. So you can save a lot of money purchasing plants if you do this in the fall.
And if you wait long enough, you can get significant discounts at the register because the discounts increase from late September-ish through October. I love to purchase new plants in mid-late October because that’s when I find the best deals where I live and there’s still a decent amount of stock to choose from.
While it is true you can plant anytime the ground is not frozen, the best times are generally in spring and fall. However, I prefer to purchase and plant in the fall because the plants establish a little easier and you can pick them up at a discount.
Why Plants Establish Easier When Planted in Fall
When planted in fall, perennials, shrubs, and trees have a better shot at acclimating to their new homes.
Because their roots have a chance to develop in winter.
While spring is also a good time to plant, it really takes a good year for plants, shrubs, and trees to acclimate and establish.
When we plant in spring, the summer heat can be brutal, especially for shrubs and trees. So you might be constantly watering to help them along. If you aren’t diligent at keeping them hydrated, they may suffer after planting.
In my experience, I’ve found greater success growing and establishing when I plant in the fall.
Mulch for Moisture
If you notice your mulch getting a little thin, apply a fresh around your plants before winter sets in. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, regulates temperature, and suppresses weed growth.
Buy Pansies in the Fall
When you buy pansies in the fall, you’re essentially setting the stage for a dazzling display of early spring blooms.
Pansies are cold-hardy and can withstand frosty temperatures, which means they establish strong root systems during the fall and can bounce back in spring.
These well-established roots lead to vigorous growth when the weather warms up in spring, ensuring an early burst of color in your garden.
If you aren’t sure whether this will work in your garden, what do you have to lose if you are planting them anyway? Give it shot!
Hold Off Buying Chrysanthemums
Holding off on buying chrysanthemums until fall is a common practice due to their short bloom time and lack of ability to deal with warmer summer-like temperatures.
When you buy them in August or early September it is a lot more work to grow and care for them.
So hold off buying them until temperatures in your locality are more seasonal so they are easier to care for and less likely to dry out.
Make the most of autumn showers by setting up rain barrels to collect rainwater. This free water source can be used to hydrate your garden during dry spells, reducing your reliance on the hose and saving on water bills.
DIY Garden Structures, Birdhouses, and Fall Decor
But fall gardening season can be so much more than just working in the gardens. You can make beautiful home decor for free using things you probably already have on hand.
Whether it’s trellises for climbing plants or raised garden beds, consider building garden structures yourself using reclaimed materials.
It’s also a great idea to build birdhouses for our feathered friends to provide shelter for them to nest.
Pallets, old wood, and even fallen branches can be repurposed to create functional and aesthetically pleasing additions to your garden.
But you can do so much more with flowers and crops from your garden too! Why let those pretty flowers go to waste when you can prolong the season by using them in other ways.
For example, you can try making this super simple hydrangea wreath for free. It is ridiculously easy to do and makes beautiful home decor for fall.
Just make sure you choose aging blooms that look a little vintage with a papery feel.
Or you can make this easy front door wreath using other types of flowers in your garden.
If you’ve got some old wreaths lying around that no longer serve a purpose, make them fresh and new again with aging flowers from your garden.
The season doesn’t have to end outside when you can enjoy them in and around your home as the temperatures dip.
Preserve and Store
As the growing season winds down, don’t let your harvest go to waste. Fall gardening on a budget includes preserving excess fruits and vegetables through canning, freezing, or drying.
I’ve successfully frozen lots of vegetables from the garden to use in soups, stews, sauces, and salsas later in winter.
By storing your homegrown produce, you’ll have a supply of fresh goodies long after the gardening season ends, reducing the need to purchase store-bought alternatives.
Community Plant Swaps
Connect with fellow gardeners in your community for plant swaps. This is an excellent way to diversify your garden without spending a dime.
You can exchange seeds, cuttings, or even full-grown plants that were divided, fostering a sense of camaraderie while expanding your garden variety.
Natural Pest Control
When fall gardening this year, combat garden pests without resorting to expensive chemical treatments. Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or praying mantises to your garden.
Use companion planting techniques to minimize pest and disease problems in the garden.
Learn and Share Knowledge
Invest in your fall gardening know-how by reading books like my first book that you can pre-order here, joining online gardening forums, or attending local workshops.
The more you learn, the better equipped you’ll be to troubleshoot issues and maximize your harvest.
And don’t forget to share your newfound knowledge with others – building a gardening community can lead to valuable tips and shared resources among family, friends, and neighbors.
By implementing these frugal fall garden tips, you’ll discover that a beautiful and bountiful garden doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
So embrace the changing seasons and take advantage of the resources around you to create a sustainable and thriving autumn garden that saves both money and the environment.
*Remember, gardening practices and tips can vary based on location and climate. Be sure to adapt these suggestions to suit your specific circumstances.
More About Frugal Fall Gardening Tips
Do you have any favorite fall gardening tips that save money? I would love to know more in the comments below.
And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!
If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!
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Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!
Garden Supplies I Use
I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- I like to use good-quality garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use to get underneath roots, loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I like to use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
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Thank you for following along.
Happy planting – enjoy your day! xo
Want to learn more about me?
I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.
Now let’s tour my garden and see what’s blooming and looks good right now so you get some ideas of what to plant for next year’s fall garden.
Front Entry Garden
The front entry garden is probably my favorite garden right now. I love all the fall colors! It has also been a haven for bees and butterflies. I even saw a few monarchs zipping around from Sedum to Sedum.
This week, I am loving the Hydrangea Paniculata! The long, graceful branches with big beautiful blooms make such a statement in the fall border! I am also loving Sedum Autumn Joy, Asters and the Ornamental Grasses.
As we move around the border, check out how much my Sedum has deepened in color since last week! I’m telling you…this is one of my favorite plants and a garden must-have!
As I walk around the mailbox border, I am really happy that we changed out the mailbox and painted the front door. What a difference those two small changes made!
I love the mix of Sedum and Asters combined with my Clematis and spring annuals. I’m hoping the nursery acquires Pansies soon – I am ready to tuck a few in this border with a few small pumpkins.
The well garden may be winding down, but there are lots of plants still strutting their fall stuff! The Zebra Grass is so big it’s starting to fall over after the last rain we had. I may need to stake it up if I want to neaten up the border. ?
Smoketree still adds that reddish-deep purple hue to the garden. Its leaves are just starting to turn. There is nothing quite like Smoketree’s Fall color. It is stunning!
Caryopteris and the bright purple berries of Callicarpa add additional color and texture to this bed. I cut back the Butterfly Weed to neaten up the garden a bit. I’m considering tucking a mum or two in here, but I’m not sure yet.
The backyard borders are starting to wind down. The backyard border has really muted in tone and some of the Hostas are showing signs they are dying back. While it still looks really pretty, it does not look as vibrant as it did last week. This will change soon as the foliage starts to turn because some of the shrubs planted have brilliant fall color. So as much as this garden is winding down, the fall foliage will kick it back up again.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me! If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed during the growing season, you can see them here:
- 1st Week – Bulbs and Early Spring Perennials
- 2nd Week – Cool Season Vegetables and Spring Flowers
- 3rd Week – Growth, Change and Everblooming Design
- 4th Week – Growth and Transition in the Spring Garden
- 5th Week – Container Gardens and Outdoor Living Spaces
- 6th Week – Adding Color with Annuals
- 7th Week – The Importance of a Tidy Border
- 8th Week – How to Create a Hummingbird Garden
- 9th Week – Spring to Summer Transition
- 10th Week – Summer Perennials, Pest and Disease Control
- 11th Week – Summer Gardening and Patriotic Decor
- 12th Week – Caring for Gardens While On Vacation
- 13th Week – How to Create a Butterfly Garden
- 14th Week – Midsummer Flowers
- 15th Week – Summer to Fall Transition in the Garden
- 16th Week – Tidying Up the Late Summer Flower Garden
- 17th Week – Preparing the Flower Garden for Fall Plantings
- 18th Week – Best Plant for the Fall Garden