April Sales

APRIL NONFOOD SALES

April is the first spring month. Many sales are about the upcoming early spring holidays: Easter, Memorial Day, and Passover.

There are fashion sales related to the end of winter/beginning of spring and the change of season too. You’ll find sales on coats, boys’ & mens’ suits, as well as spring fashions.

I’d expect winter blankets to be on sale, but they don’t show up on my list? It wouldn’t hurt to look! Pots & pans, paint, wall to wall carpeting are on sale, as is supposedly fur storage. (I’ve never had a fur so I’ve never investigated this. If you have, let me know if fur storage prices go on sale in April please?)

APRIL MONEY-SAVING TIPS

If you plant a vegetable garden, you know which plants you can grow from seed and which you need to buy “starts” for. I have a reliable 90 day season. That means I need to get starts (or start myself) for vine squashes (esp. winter squashes), melons, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, large tomatoes. Except for asparagus, I can actually grow many of these from the seeds of the organic food I buy, if I remember to in time. My problem there is that I never have. If you’re more organized, save your seeds & plant them. Here’s an ehow article about saving squash seeds, for example:

http://www.ehow.com/how_8285767_remove-seeds-squash-planting.html

I keep meaning to try winter sowing. I think I have a chance of actually being able to do this as it takes minimal fussing and results in small plants just when I want them. You start winter sowing in the fall. Here’s a link:

http://www.wintersown.org/

If you aren’t organized enough to get either of those strategies in place beforehand, like me, how do you save money on a vegetable garden? In general,seeds are the cheapest way to get your garden started. There are three ways that I know of.

  • Buy seeds at the end of the season at a discount. Around here that’s in October or so. Sometimes the seeds are free, sometimes they’re ½ off, sometimes they’re .10 a packet.
  • Harvest some of your own seeds, keep and resow them the following spring. I go through my garden in the fall and gather seeds. The root parsley usually self-seeds, but I gather some for growing indoors in the winter and giving as gifts. I have a red lettuce I call ‘New York Red.” I let at least one plant go to seed each year. These are the descendents of a six-pack I got in Pleasantville, NY 3+ years ago. I also have seeds I kept from particularly tasty peppers, mustard greens, etc.
  • Use your old seeds FIRST. You’ll be amazed at what grows and doesn’t. If you plant peas in March or early April and only ½ of them sprout, you ‘ll have time to augment the crop. If you just toss your older seeds, you’ve wasted the money, time, and space you’ve stored them in. Seeds want to grow, give them a chance! I planted seeds this past month which were from batches dated 2008 onwards, and a lot of them have sprouted!

There are some plants that grow if you just put them or the right piece of them in the ground: celery, potatoes, pineapple and onions are among these. You can find information on planting all of these (and a lot of others) here:

http://blackthumbgardener.com/1-plants-you-grow-from-kitchen-scraps/

APRIL FOOD SALES

Last of the sale avocados can be found this month. If you’re a fan of guacamole, indulge because it will be a while before you can again on sale! (Guacamole does NOT freeze!) when I was a kid I used to make avocado pie, just because it was so weird. I don’t even have the recipe anymore. My favorite way to use avocados these days is a wonderful cold lettuce soup which uses lemon (not on sale, darn it) and avocados. Many of the foods on sale in March are still on sale: broccoli, cabbages (Chinese & otherwise), carrots and eggs. (Eggs are usually the cheapest they get here the week before Easter.) You might find some peas, cottage cheese, and spinach on sale. And this month is the last of the  sales on grapefruit, leeks and rhubarb for a while.

I found a wonderful rhubarb coffee cake recipe online last year. I have rhubarb sprouting in the garden, but I bought some, I couldn’t wait! I’ll make the coffee cake from the store-bought. When the garden hits, I’ll be drowning in the stuff, so I think I’ll also make the rhubarb upside down cake from Martha Stewart. And I intend to freeze a batch or two, so we can have the coffee cake next winter!

I LOVE spring!

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