Put on a Coat and Save - Jul 08, 2010

Dear Gardening friends

I know it is freezing now but could I temp you to go out in the garden if the plants were half price?

Smart gardeners have discovered that strawberry plants can be bought for just $1.50 in winter but the price goes up to $3.99 in spring. That's because nurseries can sell strawberry plants bare rooted at this time of year so they save money on pots,potting mix and transport. Strawberries are so easy to grow in pots or gardens in any sunny position and home grown fruit tastes so much sweeter than those store bought rocks..

Now is also the cheapest time to buy a rhubarb plant. Two year old rhubarb crowns can be bought in nurseries now for around $5.99.

These will produce fresh edible rhubarb stalks this season. The rhubarb seedlings you buy potted in spring and summer won't produce any thick stalks for at least two seasons.

Grape vines are another plant that can be bought at almost half price at this time of year. The sultana grape is the best variety for the back fence because the green fruit are seedless. Grape vines are fast growing and if you grow them over a pergola they will provide summer shade. To prevent the leaves getting mildew simply spray with Yates rose spray.

Another fast growing vine that will save you money if bought now is the Kiwi fruit. This large leafed fast growing vine can produce several hundred fruit once established. You will need to buy a male and female plant for cross pollination.

Choose a well drained position for best results and feed with cow manure often.

Other popular plants that are cheaper to buy now include roses, fruit trees, spring blossom trees and shade trees.

So get out your warmest coat and make the most of these winter bargains.

Tim Pickles is a CNP horticulturist and director of Tim's Garden Centre 2 Queen St Campbelltown 46267022.