What Better Time to Garden than NOW?

A picture of children gardening

Maybe it’s time to put down the devices, fold up the newspaper, grab the kids, and go out and start a garden!

By Robert Weaver

[This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener April 2020 issue.]

Let’s face it, the news hasn’t exactly been lollipops and rainbows lately. And with many people laid off or working out of their homes, not only is the news bad, but we have more time to sit and watch or read it. Well, maybe it’s time to put down the devices, fold up the newspaper, grab the kids, and go out and start a garden!

Why Garden?

First of all, it’s a great stress reliever! Studies have shown that gardening can distract us from problems (well, except for those pesky rabbits) and improve our outlook. Just being outdoors has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (the hormone released in the body as a stress response).

It’s also a great activity for kids. Most kids love to get their hands dirty, and gardening is a great way for them to do that in a constructive way, while learning about where food comes from and other important lessons about nature. And there are countless educational opportunities that gardening provides. Use math to determine how many plants are needed is spaced a certain distance apart in a prescribed area. Use science to observe how plants are pollinated, how they need certain nutrients in the ground, how they take the sun’s energy and make available to us (or other animals) when we eat them. Write a story about your garden, draw a picture of your favorite flowers. The possibilities are endless, and suggestions can easily be found online.

Then there’s the practical side to growing edible plants. You can stock up on all the canned goods and frozen meat your storage capacity will allow, but fresh fruit and vegetables just don’t keep very long. What could be better than walking out to your garden, and snipping off a few lettuce leaves for a quick, fresh salad?

Getting Started

We realize that, because of stay-at-home restrictions being observed by many people, including young families, there are a lot of you out there who may be coming to gardening for the first time. If you’re ready to start gardening, the most important thing you can do is keep it simple. There’s nothing worse than planning out a huge garden, then having it overwhelm you to the point that it’s adding to, not reducing, your stress! The easiest way to start is with container gardening, and that’s something even apartment-dwellers can accomplish. You can grow lots of veggies in pots, including lettuce, spinach and other leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers and beans, and even small fruit bushes. There are cultivars of many types of fruiting bushes and trees especially grown for container pots. Just ask your local independent garden center.

Check out the archived articles on our website at gatewaygardener.com. We have articles on “Growing Veggies in Containers”, “Fruit Trees and Shrubs for Container Gardening” and many more articles to help you get started in containers or in the ground.

Where/How to Get Plants and Supplies

A picture of garden employee loading curbside pickup order

Curbside pickup is an easy, safe way to get your garden supplies this spring.

Social distancing, quarantines, “shelter-in-place”—it’s easy to understand why some may not want to wander around a hot, humid greenhouse picking out plants, what in normal times is a wonderful way to spend a chilly spring morning. In fact, as of this writing, most garden centers have closed their physical places of business to walk-in customers. That said, (again, as of this writing) you can still get your plants, potting soil, fertilizer and other gardening supplies. Most of our garden center friends are making it as convenient and safe as possible for you to get your garden growing by offering phone-in or email ordering—you can even FaceTime some and get a virtual garden walk through. Others will send you pictures of plants. Then, when you’ve made your selections, you can pay for your purchase remotely, and either have your order delivered or placed in your car at curbside. In the event further restrictions are implemented that affect these policies, we will update information on our website at GatewayGardener.com, and on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram.

A picture of a garden center employee making a delivery.

Some garden centers will even deliver your orders.

But in the meantime, you can find your favorite garden center below. If you don’t see your neighborhood garden center or nursery here, call them. They may very well be offering similar services to facilitate safe purchasing and help you get your garden growing in 2020!


Chalily Ponds and Gardens

14430 Manchester Rd.

Manchester, MO 63011

(636) 527-2001



Daniel’s Farm & Greenhouses

352 Jungermann Rd.

St. Peters, MO 63376

(636) 441-5048



Davidsan’s Japanese Maples

919 S. Farmingdale Rd.

New Berlin, IL

(217) 303-2641



Effinger Garden Center

720 South 11th St.

Belleville, IL 62220

(618) 234-4600



Forrest Keeling

88 Forrest Keeling Ln.

Elsberry, MO 63343

(573) 898-5571



Garden Heights Nursery

1605 S. Big Bend Blvd.

Richmond Heights, MO

(314) 645-7333



Hillermann Nursery & Florist

2601 E. 5th Street

Washington, MO 63090




O.K. Hatchery

109-115 Argonne

Kirkwood, MO

(314) 822-0083


Missouri Wildflower Nursery

9814 Pleasant Hill Rd.

Jefferson City, MO 65109

(573) 496-3492



Rolling Ridge Nursery

60 North Gore Ave.

Webster Groves, MO  63119



Sherwood’s Forest Nursery

2651 Barrett Station Rd.

Ballwin, MO 63021

(314) 966-0028



Sugar Creek Gardens

1011 N. Woodlawn

Kirkwood, MO 63122

(314) 965-3070



Timberwinds Nursery

54 Clarkson Road

Ellisville, MO 63011




Walbart & Sons Nursery

1420 Teson Rd.

Florissant, MO 63042

(314) 741-3121


Zicks Great Outdoors

16498 Clayton Rd.

Wildwood, MO

(636) 458-1445