Inspiration for gardening can be found in the most ingenious of places. For a lot of the amateurs that have flocked to the hobby of gardening, it’s no surprise that they turned to TikTok and Instagram for lessons. Epic Gardening, a multiplatform gardening social media presence, saw 1 million views per month in 2020, despite taking five years to get its first 100,000 subscribers.

Kevin Espiritu, the founder of Epic Gardening, suggests that the platform’s appeal is its relatability. Kevin didn’t start out as a gardener and only paid for college through online poker. He eventually stopped due to the limited number of states where online poker is legal such as Delaware and Nevada. With legislation on that front seemingly dragging its heels, he decided to change his life forever.

After trying out a few different career paths, he eventually decided to pursue gardening as a profession. Kevin would then go on to apply the adaptive thinking in poker to his journey into gardening, learning from mistakes along the way while falling deeper in love with gardening.

Through Epic Gardening, Kevin made gardening accessible through easily digestible tips. Here are some of them.

The right place

If your garden is in the wrong spot, it doesn’t matter what you do elsewhere in your gardening care because it’s all compounded by that single mistake. What does this mean?

At the very least, sunlight is the main resource that plants need. You can evaluate the light conditions by observing the sun exposure of your gardening area throughout the day. This may seem taxing, but as Kevin learned in his days playing poker, the extra effort to analyze what’s around you will pay off in the long run. It’s the same principle that applies to cultivating better crops.

With some observation, you’ll realize that vegetables like squash and greens may need six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. Meanwhile, fruits like pears and rhubarb will do better with morning sun exposure. So if you think that your lighting conditions are not enough, you’ll have to supplement their sunlight exposure with a grow light system that provides a balance of warm and cool lights. These systems have full-spectrum bulbs, which can be adjusted based on the light exposure that your plants need.

The right time

Kevin swears by staggered planting, where planting dates are shifted to manage harvests. This is great for plants that ripen all at once. Using beans as an example, he makes sure not to plant all of them in May because, by 45 to 60 days, you’ll get everything in July.

Kevin is used to biding his time and promises that patience is worth it. Besides that, he reiterates the basics. Planting too early, too late, or in the completely wrong season is an easy mistake to make. Double-check on your growing zone and your last frost date, and then it’s a quick Google search away to determine when to plant each variety.

The right mindset

Beyond planting at the wrong time or place, it’s extremely easy to make mistakes with gardening. Kevin made plenty! He confessed that poker is one of the games where you could win long-term, but you have to accept that you can lose even when it’s unexpected. Kevin states that this is true in both poker and gardening because they teach you how to deal with losses and how to do better next time.

For instance, his most memorable gardening disaster was when he attempted to grow peanuts in the wrong soil and the wrong bed. Instead of 50, he only got six peanuts. And he cherished them! He roasted them in a pan with butter and swore to try again. That is the mindset that Kevin says we need as gardeners: go easy on yourself and just learn from your mistakes.

No one is born a gardener. Kevin Espiritu certainly wasn’t, but the business economics graduate and ex-poker player proved that gardening can be for anyone who puts their time and effort into it.