Take advantage of New Years garden deals

Shopping early for seeds and plants can save on your gardening costs.

The Holidays are over. You’re broke, but gardening catalogs have been showing up in your mailbox for weeks. What’s a gardener to do? Garden centers are beginning to put up their seed displays and you will have some decisions to make, to start shopping or wait until warmer weather. My vote is to get started.

When the first seed displays appear, many garden centers offer up to a 40 percent discount on early seed purchases. That definitely works for me and I experience visions of young plants growing in their flats at night. No, I don’t need therapy – I’m just excited.

As you look through the many fine catalogs with plant and seed offering that would make any gardener’s mouth water, some companies offer deals like a $25 gift certificate for purchases of $50 or more to attract new customers. Of course, what you really want to compare is the shipping and handling costs for orders at $25 versus $50 dollars. If the increase in shipping eats away at your discount, then what is the point?

For example, one catalog offers three options with a maximum of $100 off for orders of $200 or more. The shipping and handling for the $100 order is $15.96; for $200 it is the same. On a $100 order, you will get about $34 worth of free stuff. Since there is no increase of handling and shipping charges for a $200 order, you can get $84 worth of free stuff. If you plan on buying the products anyway, it’s a good deal.

You decide if it is worth it, but don’t wait too long. Most offers are good for two months or less. If you plan to buy something anyway, take a look at these deals.

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