Winter in the Garden

Yep, it finally feels like winter! Contrary to popular assumption, winter is a great time to garden in Oklahoma. Indeed, cold weather prompts many plants to turn their starches to sugars, resulting in the sweetest of carrots, turnips, spinach, kale and other roots and greens. These are all cold-hardy vegetables; freezing weather may set them back or even kill their top growth, but they quickly bounce back. Leafy greens that were frozen solid overnight can be harvested the next day as soon as they thaw out, and are tender and tasty. Amazing!

The trick is to get plants established by mid-fall, give them some protection, and harvest the already-growing leaves and roots during the winter. Shorter days, plus colder temps, equal slower plant growth. Don’t count on rapid re-growth in January; at that point, we’re harvesting from what’s already matured. Cold frames, row covers and solar cones all make astonishing difference in the winter garden. The photo here shows row covers protecting our veggies – along with our wild turkey mascot in front.

This is our first winter with our new hoop house. WE LOVE IT!! Many people equate hoop houses with greenhouses, but there’s a big difference. Greenhouses are heated, either by fossil fuels, wood or sustainable design. Hoop houses will freeze on a cold night; indeed, the temperature inside will not be much warmer than outside.

So why are they so effective? The hoop house creates a micro climate that warms up much earlier during the day,
stays warmer until later at night and protects against wind and storms. Our head lettuce, for instance, grew way faster and taller in the hoop house, and looked beautiful this morning even after last night’s hard freeze.

Late last night, we finished weather stripping the hoop house. As the sun began to shine this morning, we were delighted to step out of the frigid air into a balmy green world inside. Our happy thanks go to Thunder player Kyle Singler for funding our hoop house, our talented friends Steve and Andrew Hill of PFHoophouses, and the many hard-working volunteers who made it a reality.—Lia Woods

Slow Flowers’ Customer Spotlight

We’d like you to know about the people who use the flowers and foliage from CommonWealth’s sustainably-grown flowers. This time: The Wild Mother. In the photos below, The Wild Mother’s arrangements include some of our fall-grown flowers.

“Linger Long. Be keen. Absorb.” Words found on The Wild Mother’s website, these ideas describe what one might do when seeing the out-of-the-box beauties this small but mighty floral company creates. Run by Leah, Lauren, and Callie Palmer – three sisters from OKC with an eye for design and a heart for community – The Wild Mother “endeavors to break the mold of basic floral recipes—those lacking creativity and sold to consumers over and over again.”


Looking at their arrangements, it’s easy to see how they differ from many other floral designs one usually finds. Using grasses, fruits, and herbs, in addition to gorgeous flowers, The Wild Mother highlights beauty in contrasting colors and unexpected visual elements for their customers. In addition to their floral arrangements, they also write regular articles for their online magainze to highlight the ideas and vision behind their beautiful work. Besides weddings and events, they also provide seasonal arrangements, so make sure to keep an eye on them all year. You can check out their website here and follow them on Instagram here. -JoBeth Hamon