Garden School: How to Start Growing Food
Saturday, April 28
11 am to noon
3310 N. Olie
We’re delighted to welcome Dale Spoonemore of From Seed to Spoon. Dale has an inspiring story of how he turned his backyard into an urban farm, benefiting his family with healthy food and time outdoors, and helping him to treat anxiety and depression. You’ll learn all about how to plant, grow, harvest, and prepare your own food using Dale’s free iOS and Android mobile app. This will also be a hands-on demonstration showing how you can use Smart Pots, raised beds, and other strategies to simplify the amount of work and effort required to get started.
Highly recommended for new gardeners!
Instructor: Dale Spoonemore, founder of From Seed to Spoon

$10 per class; $15 per couple/pair; free to volunteers. See full schedule and season rates HERE.

Coming Up Next:

Saturday, May 5: RESCHEDULED: Food Forest II, with permaculturist Paul Mays, of SixTwelve.

“Hands in the Soil” – Clergy at CommonWealth

Clergy participating in our program “Hands in the Soil, Clergy atCommonWealth,” have now created the Clergy Garden and the Clergy Compost Pile here!

They come for a day once a month and learn about gardening by working in the garden and taking instruction with Lia. After a common meal eating CommonWealth veggies, they spend time together with Pat for spiritual nourishment and conversation around how to bring the values of gardening to their churches. 
It was a thrill to see them harvest in April the beautiful lettuce they planted in March and to watch them excitedly plant their own garden in Smart Pots.

Bug Spotlight: The (Ravenous) Black Cutworm

Black Cutworm, also known as Agrotis ipsilon, is one of the most common cutworms. The larvae of several species of night-flying moths in the family, Noctuidae, the female lays her eggs in the fall and after over-wintering, caterpillars emerge in early spring. You won’t see these guys during the day; they come out at night and feed on young plants. Ravenous butchers, they slice off young plants right at the base, destroying entire plants. When daylight returns, they descend back into the soil and curl up, not wanting to be disturbed.
There are a couple of things you can do to discourage the destruction. Make plant collars out of cardboard and place them around each plant, or encircle the plants with Diatomaceous Earth. Both techniques keep the hungry caterpillars from reaching the plant stems. Also, clean up debris left near the garden; that’s where female moths like to lay their eggs. Another technique with a double benefit: Encourage fireflies in your garden—they are natural predators of the cutworm.—Tesa
Farm update…

Freezing temps the last couple weekends have delayed us from planting our field tomatoes, but the tomato plants in our hoop house are already starting to flower! We planted these tomato seedlings inside the hoop house in March, and covered them with frost blankets on cold nights. Using no supplemental heat, just the hoop house plastic and frost blanket (rated at 6-8 degrees of freeze protection), the tomato seedlings came through a 24-degree night without a whimper!Cheers to Thunder player Kyle Singler for funding our hoop house, and to our tremendous community who helped us build it and keep it going!  -Lia
Apprentice Spotlight: Kelly Garrett

Living in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas, Kelly Garrett taught Title One fifth graders in the Teach for America program. She saw food security issues first-hand. “While some children were independent and lived on farms, others were eating Hot Cheetos which were what they could afford in the local quick shop. That was their local market and there was no produce there.”

That experience caused Kelly to want to learn to garden, and garden well.

In California, she learned about CSAs, where she saw giant boxes of fresh produce. By the time she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City, she was a stay-at-home mom with two boys under three years old. And, needing some break-time from parenting, she decided the time was right to learn to garden. She Googled “CSA Oklahoma” and stumbled on CommonWealth Urban Farms.

As a current apprentice, Kelly says she’s learning that she was doing some things wrong and there are lots of things she didn’t know: amending the soil bed; certain techniques, including removing tomato suckers and laying tomato seedlings on their sides when planting so the roots and lower stem are buried, which increases the root systems.

Kelly is not gardening yet at home because the soil there has been treated. She plans to garden in raised bed boxes and containers. And she’s looking toward other gardening as well: “I’d love to plug in to a school garden with kids when my children are in school,” she says.

While Kelly’s work at CommonWealth offers her parenting breaks, and learning how to farm, it’s also an opportunity to get to know the community. “I love the CommonWealth community and the experience here.”

Well, Kelly, it’s mutual. On days of apprenticeship meetings, we get to see Kelly’s little boys and they are a welcome part of the community.—Pat