The first day of spring proves a busy day for KC Community Gardens

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wednesday was the first day of spring, a day many thought may never come, but others have been preparing for weeks in anticipation.

On the outside, Kansas City's Community Gardens is mostly brown, but on the inside their greenhouse is nothing but green.

"It's really busy," Executive Director Nick Sharda said. "It's really exciting, but it's a big deal for people because plants are a big part of your garden, and it will help them grow a lot of food."

Just because it's spring doesn't mean it's warm outside, but Sharda said the worst is behind us. They're helping people in the community get their own gardens together.

"With a home garden you can save $250-500 bucks," Sharda said. "Produce is going up and getting more expensive, and it's obviously really fresh produce, so that's great, and there's nothing healthier than eating fruits and vegetables."

Ella Thomas and Ervin Yancy are some of those people getting their own gardens going.

Thomas started gardening 10 years ago when she was receiving food from a food bank. A friend told her about the community garden and how, for just a few dollars, she would have enough to create hundreds of dollars worth of produce on her own.

She came Wednesday with Yancy, her neighbor, to get plants and seeds for their garden at their apartment complex.

"I can't hardly sleep at night. I dream about gardening," Thomas said. "I enjoy doing it. It's something I look forward to. All winter long I'm waiting for spring to come, and I've been out already and planted spinach and white potatoes and onions."

"It's good because the things I'm going to grow are the things I'm going to eat," Yancy said. "So it makes a lot more sense to go out there than to go to the store."

The nonprofit organization makes it easy to get started. A $2 membership fee gets you 10 packs of seeds and 10 pounds of fertilizer.

They help around 1,300 families each year, and if you are in need, they can have a contractor till your garden to get you started. They also offer classes and events so getting into the garden is less intimidating.

"They're producing something that's really valuable. They're sharing with their neighbors, and it's just a great way to build community," Sharda said.

"If you want to start gardening, just get out and do it," Thomas said. "Don't worry about having an education about it. It's not all about education. It's just trying, and if you try, you'll be successful."

For a full list of events and classes, you can find a calendar on their website. They also offer a wide range of gardening online resources.

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