“The soil stewards of generations past recognized that healthy soil is not only imperative for our food security—it is also foundational for our cultural and emotional well-being. Western science is catching up, now understanding that exposure to the microbiome of a healthy soil offers benefits to mental health that rival antidepressants. After mice were treated with Mycobacteium vaccae, a friendly soil bacteria, their brains produced more of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. Some scientists are now advocating that we play in the dirt to care for our psychological health.”

—Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

Garden School 2019. What a line-up!

March 2nd: For Beginners Only
11 a.m. to noon
3310 N. Olie
Note: if cold or rainy, we’ll meet inside.

Have you always wanted to plant a garden, but felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start? We’re here to help! We’ll walk through the steps of choosing where to locate your garden, how to set up a container garden with Smart Pots, and what to plant first. This workshop coincides with the launch of CommonWealth’s free Beginning Gardener Video Series, designed to support new gardeners from day one through the entire growing season. Here’s to a successful first garden!

We’ll have Smart Pots available for sale, as well as potting soil, seeds specially chosen for beginners, and coupons for our seedlings (available for pick up in April.)

Instructor: Elia Woods, co-founder and farm manager of CommonWealth

$10 per person; $15 per couple/pair. Volunteers, free.

March 16: Low Tunnels for Season Extension

It’s astonishing how well vegetables will grow when protected from wind and cold by low tunnels made from hoops and row cover. We use this simple method at our farm to protect greens and root crops through the winter, to start vegetables earlier in the spring, and to keep them going later in the fall. Elia will demonstrate how to use hoop benders to turn lengths of EMT pipe (galvanized electrical conduit) into 3’ wide or 6’ wide hoops that will last for decades. This is a great opportunity to bend hoops for your own garden. You can bring your own EMT pipe, readily available at hardware stores in 10’ lengths; we recommend ½” diameter. We’ll also have pipe available for sale that you can bend on-site.

Instructor: Elia Woods, co-founder and farm manager of CommonWealth

Check out the 2019 schedule here.
And consider this: You can sign up to be a CommonWealth patron at the level of $10 monthly and up and receive discounted Garden School admission. Learn more here:www.patreon.com/commonwealthurbanfarms

Beginning Gardener Video Series

How to Grow a Vegetable Garden Even Though
You’ve Never Planted a Seed in Your Life

This Friday, CommonWealth is launching a new video series, designed to support new gardeners from day one through the entire growing season. We’ll post a new video every Friday, starting this week and continuing through October.
Nothing beats the delight of planting a tiny seed and watching as it actually sprouts and grows! After 35 years of gardening, I still get as excited as I did with my very first garden. We’ve designed this video series to help beginners have a successful, productive garden. In small bites each week, we’ll cover how to get started, where to find the stuff you need, what to plant and when to plant it, what to do when you spot a bug, how to water, how to harvest, and what to do with those yummy vegetables you’ve never eaten before. —Lia
Look for a reminder email on Friday with a link, or check our Facebook page to view the video. Our first video will complement our For Beginners Only! Garden School this Saturday.

Consider the ways…you can get involved!

Creating a life-affirming community takes all of us showing up as our true, extraordinary selves. We welcome your participation, in whatever form fits for you—adding your hand to the shovel, your voice to the table, your dollars to the budget.

CSA/Veggie Club. Members pay for eight months of veggies, which they pick up Saturday mornings at the farm. We have a few slots available for this year. Email Pat for details: pathoerth@gmail.com

CommonWork. Saturdays from 9 to noon, 3310 N. Olie. Possibilities include planting, weeding, watering, composting. Working on the farm, in the greenhouse, on the flower lot, in the food forest, hoop house, pollinator garden, herb garden. You could also be involved in special events, Veggie Club set up, Garden School. Just show up on Saturday morning and we’ll find a way for you to participate!

Garden Tours. Free every first Saturday of the month, at the farm 3310 N. Olie. Or, for a fee, schedule a group tour, here.

Patreon is a platform for ongoing support between patrons and creators. If CommonWealth means something to you, please consider joining our endeavor. You can become a patron for as little as $2 per month. Perks await those who join up. Cool perks! Including discounts on Garden School classes, customized seed packets, educational videos and more. View our introductory video.

Apprenticeships. Apprentice seasons are spring, summer and fall. Check out the details on our website.

Garden School. Twice a month, we offer classes in a variety of farming and gardening subjects, taught by CommonWealth staff and friends. Find the full year’s schedule here.

Of a Certain Nature…

Sightings & Sounds at CommonWealth

Friends drop by the CommonWealth Urban Farm community off and on for a few moments of quiet and to breathe 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 and wonder of this place.  And so, we are! 

In that space between day time and night time, that coming-in-space, that time of twilight, the sparrows and the blackbirds return to the bamboo forest on 32nd street, calling us all in from the fields, celebrating a days’ good labor, reminding us to rest and renew.
Blackbirds in Bamboo, at Twilight