You may not be thinking about gardening right with short days and cold weather. But, if you’ll want new landscape lights, outdoor furniture, compost equipment or even greenhouses in the spring, the darkest weeks of winter are great times to get great deals on these items!
It’s not really related to the holiday, it’s more an issue of supply and demand. In most areas, the gardening season starts in late March, although those lucky enough to live in warmer climates can garden much earlier. Other people start to indoor seedlings plant seedlings as early as January for spring crops and flowers.
Because so few retailers or even consumers really think about gardening in the darkest winter months, you can get great deals, especially for big-ticket items garden products.
Many greenhouses, for example, are currently listed for hundreds of dollars less than they were two or three months ago or likely will be priced, two months of three months from now.
You may not even be able to find these products in home centers or garden stores this time of year, so buying them online not only makes sense, it makes cents — tens of thousands of cents!
Another thing to consider, prices are likely to rise when the 2012 garden season begins. Each new season brings many new product models and usually new and higher prices to go along with them. Luckily, most garden equipment really doesn’t change that much year to year.
The exception: solar-powered products, where often a more current the model uses the better technology. But the price of the new technology also is a bit higher. We don’t recommend buying solar lamps or solar lamp posts with dated technology, but it is usually fine to use older technology for small ticket items such as accent lights.
Solar accent lights are priced similarly to low-voltage lighting, but you’ll money back pretty quickly as you won’t be paying utility bills when you use them. Additionally, solar products can be installed and moved relatively easy, without disrupting your existing landscape by digging trenches for electrical cables and without needing an electrician or advanced DIY skills to install them safely.
If you have questions about whether a solar product, be it a solar lamp or a solar water pump or fountain, will have better models available in the spring, you can always contact the seller. And here’s a quick rule-of-thumb: most, but not all, better solar products use NiMH or Lithium Ion batteries rather than NiCAD. And if you do select an NiCAD product, remember that this is dated technology and should only be used for products with a low price tag. While Lithium Ion batteries cost more today than their NiCAD or NiMH counterparts, this is unlikely to be the case two years from now. (Two years is the expected lifespan for any battery that used for solar products if the manufacturers’ instructions are followed.)
Bottom line: Many manufacturers consider both outdoor lights as well as gardening products as “seasonal” products. This is especially true if you select a store and manufacturer that offers free shipping. For example, if you’re thinking about a greenhouse for next spring, remember that these often can weigh a hundred pounds or more. If a manufacturer or store offers free shipping, you are easily saving over $100 alone on shipping alone, on top of off-season discount prices.
Most gardening equipment is not damaged by cold weather: as many products are built to remain outside year-round. So, these items can be stored outdoors until it is warm enough to assemble and use the materials outside.
Other gardening items, such as pumps or fountains, should remain inside during freezing temperatures because any water or moisture will cause contraction and expansion from cold or freezing temperatures that can damage the pump mechanism.
So, whether you’re looking for some great gardening equipment for yourself, or for a belated holiday gift, think about buy now when you have the upper hand in the Supply/Demand cycle! You’ll not only save a great deal of money, you’ll be ready to go once the warm weather begins.