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Digging Up Deals To Spruce Up Your Yard

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(credit: CBS) Chris Shaffer
Chris Shaffer was raised in Stillwater, Minn. (Go Ponies!) and le...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As the grass greens up, anyone with a green thumb is itching to get outside — and inside Minnesota’s greenhouses. For those looking to also save a little green this year, there’s good news.

“What would bring you in: Putting the thing you need on sale, or, if we offered impatiens, which you definitely can’t plant?” asked Mark Armstead, an assistant greenhouse manager with Linder’s Garden Center in St. Paul.

Like most plants and bushes, it’s too early to plant impatiens in Minnesota. Armstead said Linder’s is putting the things you can use now on sale. Right now is a good time for fertilizer and potting soil, both of which WCCO-TV found on sale.

With so many gardens and such a short season, stores don’t really have time to play games. Instead, they compete with good prices on good stuff, and hope you’ll pick up the other stuff you need, as long as you’re there.

It’s still best to shop around. Some of the best deals WCCO-TV found at Menards, for example, were the sale prices on seeds and bulbs. Now is when you want to plant both of those items.

“This is when our busy season is, so we spent time making our displays nice and our prices competitive to bring people in,” explained Jim Deck, the manager of the Menards store in Eden Prairie, Minn. “In this area, the season is short, so we have limited time to get them in here and get what they need.”

That’s not limited to items with lower price points, like seeds and flowers. Experts said April and August are the best months to shop for lawnmowers. They are targeted deals: people need lawnmowers, sales get people into the stores for what they need, and stores hope people will pick up additional items, as long as they’re there.

Unsure of what’s safe to buy this time of year? Look outside, and pay particular attention to shrubs and trees. Some of the trees you’ll find in the stores aren’t from Minnesota.

“They come from down south, where they are fully leafed out,” Armstead explained. “Look around. What shrub or tree is leafed out in Minnesota? None. So this is what buyers should beware of.”

Looking for more good deals on stuff you can use right now? How does free mulch sound? The Minneapolis Park Board leaves mulch in neighborhood bins whenever it trims nearby trees.

“People just scarf it up,” said Ralph Sievert, the director of forestry for the Park Board. “They use it around their house, under their shrubbery, around trees.”

Minneapolis drops mulch in 13 spots, which are listed on the city’s website. A word of warning: the website doesn’t track how much mulch is in each bin, so you may need to visit a couple because they empty quickly.

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