Each garden school class is $10 per adult, or $15 per pair.
Volunteer on that Saturday morning and get in free!


Sign up to be a CommonWealth Patreon Sprout and on to receive discounted Garden School admission. Learn more about this [ here ].

2024 Schedule

Classes are held at CommonwWealth Urban Farms.
1016 NW 32nd, Oklahoma City.

March 9th: Tree Grafting.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): John Wilson.
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to collect, save, and use scion wood. John will demonstrate how to graft onto existing trees using methods of spring grafting.

These techniques are ideal for urban gardeners who wish to include more fruit variety and better producing trees that save precious space.

John Wilson has been an organic gardener for over fifty years. He began his adventures with grafting over a decade, after having attended a worshop sponsored by the California Rare Fruit Growers, and now enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of his craft with others.

If you wish to do your own grafting during class, bring a sharp knife with you.

March 23rd: How to Grow a Vegatable Garden,
(even if you’ve never planted a seed in your life).

11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Elia Woods.
Learn the basics – soil, water, seed – that guarantee your first garden will be a delicious success. Participants will help plant a container garden that can be scaled up or down and is suitable for backyards, front yards, decks, or patios. Each person will also have the chance to start several pots of seeds to take home. Here’s to a successful first garden!

Elia Woods is a co-founder and a partner-farmer of CommonWealth Urban Farms. She has experience with gardening and farming of thirty years, and loves introducing beginners to the delights of growing food.

Spring and summer vegetable seedlings will also be available for sale.

April 13th: Gardening with Herbs.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Monica Arndt.
If you have ever dreamed about having your home herb garden, this class is for you! Whether you have a backyard plot or just a pot on the patio, Monica Arndt will show you how to get started with growing herbs successfully. Drawing on her decades of experience in growing and selling herbs, Monica will share how to plant, care for and harvest your herbs, and which herbs are best for each season. In addition to culinary and medicinal uses for herbs, she’ll give tips on using herbs in tea gardens, dye gardens, and as insect repellents.

Monica Arndt is a founding member of the Oklahoma City Herb Society and has been the owner, grower, and marketer of Skyridge Farm, a small herb nursery, for the past 25 years. Monica loves sharing her passion for herbs!

April 27th: Garden Birding and iNaturalist.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Sean Washington.
It’s National Birding Day in the gardens, so join Sean for a short walk around the block to spot and learn about some of the many different birds that thrive in gardens. Learn what plants attract certain favorites, and how to build a garden geared towards these feathered friends. We’ll get back to the meeting area and do a short introduction to iNaturalist and explore how your photos shape research and how you can find some amazing discoveries from just a cellphone or your laptop!

Sean Washington is an ecologist and science communicator in Oklahoma City, teaching the public about the importance of the natural world. He studied wildlife biology at Colorado State University and returned to OKC to work at the Oklahoma City Zoo, and with OKC Parks to increase public education about natural resources. Sean is an avid birder and wildlife photographer under the name the Fit Naturalist.

Find him on to learn more.

May 4th: Raised Bed Gardening.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): David Nelms.
Using only basic tools, David will show you a few simple ways to construct raised beds with inexpensive or reclaimed materials, in which you can grow your vegetables and flowers. He will also demonstrate the use of the fabric grow pots known as Smart Pots. As there is always something new and interesting when it comes to gardening, David considers himself a lifelong novice gardener. His gardening mentors include his parents, grandparents, and others from the same era whose survival depended on being able to raise and store their own food. David’s hobbies – listed in no specific order and which he doesn’t get to pursue nearly enough – include woodworking, gardening, primitive archery, photography, writing, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, and anything outdoors.

May 25th: Gardening for Oklahoma’s Native Bees.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): James Hung.
To be determined.

James Hung was born in Taiwan, grew up in Vancouver British Columbia, went to school in New Hampshire and San Diego, and lived in Columbus and Toronto en route to his current job as an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma. Here, he serves as a member of the Oklahoma Biological Survey and runs a research program focused on pollinator conservation in Oklahoma and beyond. He has a passion for turning students and lay community members into fellow conservation champions through outreach education. In his spare time, James enjoys being outdoors with his kids, making food with his wife, growing vegetables (somewhat unsuccessfully against Oklahoma’s sweltering summers), photographing wildlife, and playing the violin in his church band.

June 8th: Monarchs, a call to action!
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Stephanie Jordan.
Many of you have heard by now that the Eastern Monarch population – those who migrate through Oklahoma in the spring and fall – experienced a major decline in their overwintering numbers from the year before. In fact, it was the second smallest amount since the beginning of tracking this population in the late 90’s. While many things can impact fluctuations in populations, this one was largely due to drought in Oklahoma and Texas impacting the availability of nectar in the fall. So, let’s fix this!

We may not feel there is much we can do about drought, but there are things we can do in response to shifting weather patterns that give wildlife a resiliency boost. In this class, we will talk about the amazing adaptability of monarchs, matching nutritionally significant plants to predicted weather trends, as well as other best practices to balance the scales for our vulnerable, traveling friends. The things we do now will set the stage for the fall migration. Ready, set, grow

Stephanie Jordan is a pollinator educator and advocate. She’s known for her work for Okies for Monarchs, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, and Organic Gardens Urban Farm. Much of her work focuses on relationships between plants, insects and soil health. When not engaged in community outreach, she can be found visiting the extensive pollinator gardens in her urban farming neighborhood, in search of
cool bugs.

June 29th: Native Farming Solutions.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Travis Andrews.
This class will cover the basics of making liquid fertilizer from food waste and will also include methods of watering and foliar feeding techniques. This system is low-cost system that creates a highly effective fertilizer that also repels insects and prevents powdery mildew. We will go over the methods of preparation and also the process of application using soil drenches and foliar sprays.

Travis Andrews is the founder of Native Farming Solutions OKC, a local non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of American Indian seeds and cultivation techniques. Travis also enjoys educating the public on the importance of food sovereignty and food waste diversion and serves as a board member for the Oklahoma Compost and Sustainability Association.

July 13th: N/A.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): N/A.
To be determined.

August 24th: Plant a Fall Salad Garden.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Elia Woods.
Fall is a wonderful time to garden in Oklahoma. Vegetables and gardeners alike love the cooler weather, and we (usually!) get rain. Greens and roots grow well at this time of year in Oklahoma and will provide you with delicious salads all through the fall. Knowing what and when to plant is critical to success. Lia will share her fall planting calendar along with tips for veggies best suited for fall and winter gardening.

Elia Woods is a co-founder and a partner-farmer of CommonWealth Urban Farms. She has experience with gardening and farming of thirty years, and loves introducing beginners to the delights of growing food.

Fall and winter vegetable seedlings will also be available for sale.

September 14th: Black Gold – making your own Compost.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): David Braden & Allen Parleir.
Do you want to learn how to make that beautiful, rich, black substance we call “gardener’s gold”? David and Allen have been building compost piles for many years, and have a profound appreciation for rot! David will show participants the composting operation at CommonWealth, and the elements that make it a success. Allen will demonstrate different methods for building a successful home compost pile.

David Braden is a compost master and co-founder of CommonWealth Urban Farms.

Allen Parleir is a coordinator of Closer to Earth and co-founder of CommonWealth Urban Farms.

September 28th: Backyard Fruit Production.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): Julia Laughlin.
magine stepping out your door to pick a fresh fig, or a handful of ripe blackberries! Join us to learn about backyard fruit trees and berries, including which ones grow well in our climate, and recommended varieties. Julia will share growing tips, sustainable management techniques and maintenance needs for different crops.
Julia Laughlin is well-known in OKC for her efforts to promote local food and sustainable agriculture. She was on the faculty at OSU-OKC beginning in 1992 and taught classes in many areas of her field, becoming Department Head of Horticulture in 1999, and being awarded the “Teaching Excellence” award in 2006 by the OSU A and M Regents. Julia was also one of the main founders of the OSU-OKC Farmers Market. Following that, she managed a small fruit, vegetable and micro-green farm, “Prairie Earth Gardens,” in eastern OKC, and also hosted “The Garden Party” radio talk show on KTOK 1000 am radio. Julia is currently the Oklahoma County Horticulture Educator for the OSU Extension Service and specializes in organic gardening and horticulture. She is the Advisor of the Oklahoma County Master Gardener Volunteer Organization, appears regularly on the Fox 25 “Growing Oklahoma” segment, and leads domestic and international tours on horticulture and ecological, sustainable small farming.

October 12th: Plant Propagation.
11 am – Noon

Instructor(s): David Rushton.
Explore the many techniques of plant propagation! Seeding is the most common method, and participants will learn how to set the stage for good germination and healthy seedlings, as well as tips on seed saving. David will also demonstrate how to propagate plants by stem cuttings, root cuttings, division and grafting, and how to decide which method lends itself best to each situation.
David Rushton has been a vegetable gardener for most of his life, and is an active volunteer with CommonWealth. He is currently transforming his half-acre lot into a permaculture oasis with 30 raised beds of annual vegetables in addition to a food forest.

October 26th: Potluck in the Garden.
Noon – 2 pm.

This celebration of life in community at an urban farm is one of our favorite events of the year. Homemade music, tours of the farm, great food and hanging out with the community. Bring your favorite potluck dish and join us!

November 23rd: the Great Pumpkin Smash.
9 am – Noon

This family-friendly event is free.

What to do with all those pumpkins, once Thanksgiving is over and cold weather sets in? Bring them and the kids to CommonWealth, where we’ll make a big compost pile and everybody can toss and smash pumpkins to their hearts’ delight. Messy fun for the whole family! You can bring your leftover hay bales, too, and we’ll add them to the mix.

Email with any questions and for more information.