$10 per workshop, $15 per couple/pair, unless otherwise noted. Or volunteer on a Saturday morning, and get in free!
Classes are from 11 am to noon at CommonWealth Urban Farms at 1016 NW 32nd, OKC
Compost as a Heat Source for Hot Beds & Greenhouses
We’re offering this workshop twice this spring:
Tuesday, March 2 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Saturday, March 6 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Rain Dates: Tuesday, March 9 and Saturday, March 13
This workshop is geared toward backyard gardeners & small farmers who want to start their own seedlings in mid-winter and spring, using a reliable, inexpensive and fossil-fuel-free source of heat: compost!
Hot beds are an ancient and very simple method of extending the growing season. By creating a covered bed over an active, hot compost pile, seedlings or vegetables can be grown during cold weather.
Participants will tour CommonWealth’s compost-heated greenhouse and our hot beds, both of which will be full of spring seedlings. We will build a hot bed together, and gain the hands-on experience needed to successfully create one at home. Workshop also includes a discussion of the compost-heated greenhouse; how we built it, how it works, and the elements required for its success.
This workshop is offered free of charge, thanks to a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry.
March 13: How to Grow a Vegetable Garden Even if You’ve Never Planted a Seed in Your Life
11am to noon
It’s actually pretty simple! Elia will cover 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!
Instructor: Elia Woods is a co-founder and partner-farmer at CommonWealth Urban Farms. She has been gardening and farming for over 30 years, and loves introducing beginners to the delights of growing food.
Veggie seedlings will be available for sale.
Get a head start on the growing season by starting seeds inside! We’ll show you several simple at-home set-ups for starting seedlings, and walk through the basics of growing seeds into healthy, vigorous transplants. If you’ve been dogged by poor germination or spindly seedlings, we have answers at hand! We’ll also demonstrate how to take cuttings and root them, a simple method for propagating herbs & many other plants. This is a hands-on class; each person will choose from a selection of vegetable or flower seeds as well as herb cuttings to plant & take home.
Instructor: Elia Woods is a co-founder and partner-farmer at CommonWealth Urban Farms. Nothing makes her happier than planting seeds and starting baby seedlings.
In this two-hour hands-on course, we will learn procedures and methods for identifying wild plants. These methods include learning basic plant structure/morphology, plant family characteristics, using floras/keys and hand lenses, plant ecology, and pressing plants for herbariums.
Instructor: Micah Friedman is a 9th grade science teacher who spends his free time walking around looking at plants. He finds never-ending entertainment in learning about their history, qualities and uses.
Learn the medicinal properties of common and culinary herbs. Timothy will share simple ways to incorporate these benefits into your daily life.
Herb seedlings will be available for sale.
Instructor: Timothy L. Trujillo is a Natural Health Practitioner and Director of First Medicines, whose mission is to provide holistic education, care and resources to reduce suffering and enhance health.
The monarch butterfly populations have plummeted at an alarming rate and Oklahoma is critical to their survival. Our great state is centrally located in their migration flyway. Now is the time (before it’s too late) for us Okies to get our hands dirty and help the monarchs! Learn what you can do in your garden and beyond to help save the monarchs! We’ll tour CommonWealth’s own pollinator gardens and each participant will receive a packet of free pollinator seed mix.
Pollinator seedlings will also be available for sale.
A permaculture food forest is a low maintenance, sustainable and productive garden of trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables, based on the natural systems found in forests.
We began planting a food forest at CommonWealth several years ago, and are continuing to expand and develop it. Elia will start with an introduction to Food Forest design, then we’ll roll up our sleeves and plant the next round of trees, berries and other perennials.
Instructor: Elia Woods is a co-founder and partner-farmer at CommonWealth Urban Farms
Did you know there are over 4000 species of bees in North America? Many of them are right here in our own back yard! Bees provide better pollination than any other type of insect. Bees are present in our landscapes, sipping nectar, gathering pollen and constructing nests. Come explore how to attract native bees to your garden, build a bee nest box and release live native bees in the CommonWealth pollinator garden.
Instructor: Jody Lesch, Garden School coordinator and resident “Bug Lady”
Insects provide many beneficial services in our landscape, including pollination, soil building, and pest control. Plus, they are fascinating! Join us as we go on a bug hunt, and learn how to spot particular insects, learn local beneficial insects, and what plants can be grown to attract more beneficial insects.
Instructor: Kat Gant runs the school garden support program of OKC Beautiful, OKC Harvest. Kat has 20 years of experience within sustainable horticulture, including community gardening, farming, advocacy and teaching. Before joining OKC Beautiful, Kat managed a certified organic farm in OKC and developed the Employee Garden at Chesapeake Energy.
July 17: Growing Microgreens at Home
11 a.m. to noon
There is a $5 materials fee for this class.
Grow your own super-nutrient-dense microgreens at home. This will be a hands-on class so come ready to get dirty! All materials provided, but bring a small spray bottle if you have one. Additional supplies will be available for purchase.
Instructor: Joshua Guess, founder of Rooted Farm, has been growing microgreens for 10+ years and is passionate about connecting people with clean, nutrient-dense foods.
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.
Instructor: David Braden, compost master and co-founder of CommonWealth Urban Farms
Allen Parleir, coordinator of Closer To Earth and co-founder of CommonWealth Urban Farms
August 14: Grill It!
11 a.m. to noon
Nothin’ beats fresh veggies from the garden that have been tossed on the grill. Their deepest flavor is enhanced. Learn tips & tricks from grillmaster Steph as she demonstrates how to grill a variety of vegetables—and take part in sampling the results!
Instructor: Stephanie Jordan knows her way around the garden and the grill! Steph combines her experiences as a personal chef, farmer and educator to create healthy and delicious food based on locally grown produce.
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 & winter gardening.
Fall vegetable seedlings will be available for sale.
Instructor: Elia Woods is a co-founder and partner-farmer at CommonWealth Urban Farms. She has been gardening and farming for over 30 years, and loves to help home gardeners become more successful in growing their own food.
There is magic in the Monarch chrysalis! Were you one of the lucky children whose teacher kept one in the classroom? Not only is a beautiful experience, raising butterflies is helpful! Fewer than 10 percent of monarch eggs and larvae will survive to become adult butterflies, largely due to predation of the larvae. Raising them in an indoor habitat boosts survival to rates well over 90 percent. A panel of experts will show participants how and where to look for butterfly eggs and larvae and how to support them as they go through their amazing transformation.
The first 10 educators get in free and there will be door prizes and giveaways.
Instructors: Holly Hunter is a retired IT professional who now spends her time gardening for wildlife. She runs a Monarch Way Station for her local library in Warr Acres, and she works with Okies For Monarchs and the Master Gardeners to install pollinator gardens in public spaces.
Jennifer Klein Plato provides habitat for Monarchs and Black Swallowtails at her home garden, Waystation. Last year alone, Jennifer raised and released over 150 monarch butterflies.
Stephanie Jordan is owner and Bee Herder at Slightly Buzzed Honey & Bee Products. A “Master Mom,” she releases over 100 Monarch butterflies each season. She works with Commonwealth Urban Gardens to select, raise and market many varieties of milkweed.
Have you ever thought about keeping backyard chickens? Hens are fun and easy pets to include in your life, and they lay eggs, too! Come meet a couple of local hens and learn everything you need to know about raising and taking care of your own flock.
Instructor: Sara Braden has been sharing her backyard with chickens since 2009.
Allen loves his worms, and is passionate about the care and feeding of worms and their immense value to gardeners. Participants will get an inside look into Allen’s worm bins, and learn the do’s and dont’s of building one at home.
Instructor: Allen Parleir, coordinator of Closer To Earth and co-founder of CommonWealth.
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, demonstrations, games, great food and hanging out with the community. Bring your favorite potluck dish and join us noon to 2 p.m.
Nov. 13: Create a Pollinator Overwintering Habitat
11 a.m. to noon
When the leaves and temperatures begin to drop, many pollinators are looking for a place to spend the winter and it could be right in your own garden. Most pollinators prefer to stay at home and ride out the cold. The availability of nesting and overwintering habitat is very important in providing shelter and food for beneficial insects. We will construct a natural habitat at the pollinator rain garden and explore ways you can provide nesting and overwintering habitat in your own yard.
Instructor: Jody Lesch, Garden School coordinator and resident “Bug Lady.”
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.