Five Tips for First Time Gardeners

Jan 13, 2020, 14:00 PM

With raised garden beds, container beds, and the multitude of other options now on the market, starting a garden is no longer the time and space intensive project it used to be. However, before you go buying seeds and dreaming of freshly made salsa, there are a few things you should think about when designing and executing your green space.


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1. Location, location, location – It’s a given that plants need sunlight to grow strong and bear produce. But not all plants need the same amount of sun, or the same type. Morning sun is considered gentler than afternoon sun. While some plants are extremely hardy, too much harsh sun is a surefire way to burn your garden to a crisp.

2. Space is an illusion – If you’re planting vegetables from seeds, it can be tempting to see your garden container as a vast and open field, ready for tons of plants. The reality is much different. When spacing your seeds or starter plants, you need to account for the width of the fully mature plant. Otherwise your garden will be overfilled with a stunted, poorly performing crop.

3. Pest control – There’s nothing worse than tending to your plants religiously for two months, watching them slowly produce veggies, and then coming out to see a squirrel or insects have been gnawing on them in the night. For the bugs, there are a wide variety of eco-friendly sprays you can douse your garden in every few days. However, make sure to check the label and ensure they’re specifically formulated to be safe for edible plants. Squirrels are much simpler. Take some cayenne pepper and sprinkle it in the soil and plants. Next time they go for a bite, they’ll get something hotter than anticipated and stay away!

4. Know your growing season – In Kansas City, may people wait until Mother’s Day to start their garden. That way they don’t have to worry about any late spring frosts wiping out all of their plants. Not all vegetables mature at the same rate. Some pepper plants may be yielding in one to two months. Others could take over three months to really get going, meaning you might only receive one good crop before the variable weather of fall.

5. Enjoy all the benefits – There are so many reasons to have a garden, even a small one. It reduces your carbon footprint, helps local pollinators (like bees and butterflies), gets people outside and active, as well as the obvious benefit of having freshly picked fruits and veggies. Whatever your primary motivation, make sure to take time and savor your green space this spring.

Get more garden tips and advice at the KC Remodel + Garden Show, January 31-February 2 at the American Royal Center. Connect with hundreds of experts, experience inspiring displays, and more. This exciting three-day event is a must-attend!