Garden School:
Pocket Gardens

Saturday, May 26
11 am to noon
3310 N. Olie

If you have room for a pot on the patio, you can grow a pocket garden. Whether it’s a handful of herbs, a snacking garden, or a pollinator way station, pocket gardens are an easy way to get started with gardening. Elia will show examples of plants that can be tucked into the smallest of spaces, and participants will get to help plant several on-site pocket gardens.

Instructor: Elia Woods,  co-founder and farm manager of CommonWealth.$10 per class; $15 per couple/pair; free to volunteers. See full schedule and season rates HERE.

Coming Up Next:

Saturday, June 9, 11 am to noon: The Other Bees: Native Bees in Oklahoma
Instructor: Jody Lesch, Garden School coordinator and CommonWealth “Bug Lady”

Applications Due for Next Apprenticeships!

Do you want to grow some of your own food and spend more time outside? Are you a horticulture student looking for practical, hands-on learning? Or a home gardener ready to step up to the next level?

Then CommonWealth’s apprenticeship program might be just the ticket for you! Apprentices volunteer for 8 hours per week for three months, and have the opportunity for hands-on learning in the midst of a working urban farm. Our farm includes vegetables, herbs & cut flowers, a hoop house, food forest, composting operation, and a rainwater harvesting system. Plus, we have a lot of fun together!

Our next apprenticeship season is June 4th through August 31st.
Applications are due this Friday, May 25th
Click here for more information or to apply.

Here’s what one of the spring apprentices (in photo, at a weekly meeting with staff) wanted to share about her CommonWealth experience:“This apprenticeship has helped me grow as a gardener; it was an immersive experience that enabled me to learn a lot.”—Kelly Garrett

Apprentice Spotlight: Olivia Hanson


NE OKC Farmers Market Festival of Greens

As a little girl, Olivia gardened with her grandmother, who gardened organically, composting and applying smart plans like planting tomatoes in rows of corn for shade. Olivia’s first vegetable garden was a failure, but she has always grown herbs, and, for the last 18 years, many flowers.

Six years ago she began growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, lettuces, radishes, chard in three 10 x2.5-foot raised beds—much of which she shares with friends. For several years she has been a member of the CSA/Veggie Club because she prefers local, fresh vegetables. She loves to cook and try new recipes.

Retired from her professional career, (the list of her accomplishments is long: research biochemist, professor of biochemistry, geological technician, editor and technical writer…) Olivia applied to be an apprentice this season “mostly for the fun of it.” She adds: “And to learn.”

She’s learned more about taking care of herbs, rotating crops, the dreaded thinning process, how to time crops for multiple harvestings. She finds the food forest interesting.

“I like Lia and the crew and the other apprentices; they are interesting and dedicated people,” she says. “CommonWealth is something that should be the wave of the future. I grew up in a small town…people shared work in the garden, and our food, even our meat and poultry, came from close-by. Locally grown food tastes better and is more nutritious. I like digging in the dirt—it reminds me of my grandmother.”—Pat

Veggie Spotlight: The Carrot

The carrot—likes it sunny and loose and sandy. Comes in a variety of colors; orange, red, white, purple, yellow—any range within—even blue. Rich in sugar; fun fact: the sugars are stored in the core so when selecting carrots the larger diameter usually indicates a sweeter root. Carrots also tend to pick up a more sweet and crispy quality when grown in the cooler parts of the season, with over-wintered carrots being just about any root aficionado’s favorite.Carrots are quite a space and time investment, with maturation dates taking anywhere from 2 to 4 months. A good beginning is half the work: keep carrot seedlings moist after direct seeding as they are prone to drying out, cleverly leaving you with a bed full of weeds rather than crispy, crunchy, dirt horns. Keep those babies wet: daily watering until emergence is recommended. Light mulching or fabric covers are also good ideas.

Harvest carrots at your whim and leisure, depending on your level of desired maturity. It would seem pretty simple—just brush away dirt from the base of the stem to check on the diameter of the crowning root. But they can be tricky—long, short, branched—so harvest with attention and care as they are easily damaged. First, loosen the soil around the roots you will be harvesting to allow easier root removal. We have found that a nice deep rain the day or two before harvest provides an almost ideal condition for harvesting carrots. Seriously, like night and day. So, barring any supernatural powers over creation that you may have, perhaps a deep soaking with the hose a day before harvest would serve you well.Post-harvest, wash off dirt, remove the tops, dry, and store in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator. To preserve the abundant nutritional qualities of carrots we recommend consuming fresh, or a simple light steaming.—Christopher

Festival of Greens!


NE OKC Farmers Market Festival of Greens

The NE Farmer’s Market will hold its first annual Festival of Greens Saturday, May 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 3815 N. Kelly Ave., at the NE Community & Cultural Center

Now that’s something to celebrate!
+ Greens Cookoff Competition + Live entertainment
+ Wellness screening + Educational activities
And the farmer’s market!

Of a Certain Nature…

Friends drop by the CommonWealth Urban Farm community off and on for a few moments of quiet and to breath in nature. Volunteers tell us how lovely it is to enjoy nature as they work on the farm. They tell us we should celebrate the beauty of this place. And so, we are!
Fourth graders from Spero Elementary School arrived at CommonWealth Urban Farms in a big yellow school bus. Touring the vegetable farm, the flower farm,

food forest, the composting operation, they had close encounters with some of nature’s crawling things and got very closeups of Larkspur.Two Yellowtail Butterfly caterpillars were discovered on a Fennel plant (upper photo.) To their delight, Allen introduced them to Red Wiggler Worms and, viewing Larkspur through jeweler’s loupes, they got to see the orchid-like center with its tiny antennaed yellow flowers—invisible to the naked eye.