Now is a great time to start planning a garden. Here are 5 places to discover free gardening inspiration, guides, and expert advice to get started or take your garden to the next level.
1.Kansas City Community Gardens
Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG) is on a mission to make gardening affordable for everyone. Free resources for growing in the Kansas City area include:
- In-person workshops and how-to videos for beginners and experienced gardening on topics including garden soils, vegetable garden basics, insects in the garden, growing tomatoes
- Gardening guide sheets including a cool & warm season planting guide, planting calendar, raised bed construction guide, and more.
- A Planting Plan Calculator to help determine planting and harvest dates, numbers of plants and seed packs, etc. The calculator is available for KCCG members only.
- KCCG members also get access to low-cost garden supplies like tomato cages, straw bales, fertilizer, and tillers.
Extension offices are run by university employees and offer many programs and resources for gardening.
- The K-State Research and Extension published its new Kansas Garden Guide this year. The free 200-page guide provides expert advice for growing successful vegetable gardens and tips to get started.
- Your local extension office also offers free soil tests for homeowners.
- The Johnson County extension has a gardening calendar with seasonal maintenance tips, as well as agent articles and videos.
- Check your extension for classes with experts
Your library card includes access to not only gardening books, but also free digital access to gardening magazines.
The Kansas City Library Ruiz Branch is home to a seed library with vegetable, herb, flower, and native plant seeds that library patrons can check out.
The Mid-Continent Public Library offers free garden classes including Vegetable Gardening in Small Spaces (virtual) or Home-Style Composting: Black Gold in the Backyard.
4.KC Farm School
Through its Let’s Grow Wyandotte program, KC Farm School at Gibbs Road provides free programming for Wyandotte County residents. In 2020 alone, the organization worked with 400 households to grow food in yards, in pots, on patios, and in straw bales.
The program includes on-farm workshops, garden tours, mentorship, and volunteer opportunities in the greenhouse. Residents from other counties can participate for a pay-what-you-can sliding scale.
With Cultivate Kansas City’s new tool library, growers can get access to specialized tools with a free membership.
The new lending library includes specialty tools for vegetable gardening, home and yard improvement projects, and even beekeeping to create public, low-cost access to gardening in midtown Kansas City.
Tools can be rented through the Cultivate KC app that can be downloaded to your mobile device. Explore available tools in the app.
What are your favorite free and low-cost resources? Share them in the comments.
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