Sara and I, along with a few hundred mosquitoes, got our tomato plants caged today. Afterwards, as I was sloshing through the rice paddies – er, the urban farm, I took note of where the soil is waterlogged. In the low areas with the poorest soil, we’ve lost a few rows of crops, but the damage has been minor.
There’s a stark difference between new garden rows and areas that we’ve cultivated for several years, adding wheelbarrows of compost and growing cover crops to improve the soil. I was pulling green onions from one such row yesterday; the soil was dark brown, friable, moist but not saturated. Compare this to new rows that are heavy red clay now turned to red MUD. Astonishingly, it takes only a few years to transform the mud rows to fertile, loamy garden soil. I’ve watched this process repeatedly in our gardens, and it still amazes me. A few dollars of cover crop seed, a couple compost heaps, and you and your soil are in business.
Our hearts go out to those who have lost houses and livelihoods to the flooding. Farmer friends in Texas have written of the devastation there, and of the work ahead to restore homes and lands.
Saturday, May 30th from 8:30 to 9:15 am, with Paul White of OKC Compost.
Don’t miss this one! Paul will lead us through the steps of brewing compost tea with a simple method you can set up at home. Compost tea can be used as a foliar spray or soil drench to suppress foliar diseases, increase nutrient uptake in plants and speed the breakdown of toxins. Bring lots of questions!
Larkspur is our featured flower this week. An annual often confused with its perennial cousin, delphinium, larkspur is a spring bloomer with an open, airy appearance. Spurred petals, like fairy wings, hover along tall spires in hues of lilac, white, rose and deep purple. Grown en masse, the effect is a fog of flowering softness.
As delicate as they appear, the long stems are sturdy in bouquets. Harvested before the upper blossoms have opened, we easily get a week or more of vase life. This is a reliable flower to grow at home. Simply broadcast the seed in early fall; after they germinate, the young plants will carry through the cold of winter, then grow rapidly in early spring. Larkspur usually flowers in late April and early May, although the chilly weather we’ve had this year has allowed us to enjoy larkspur all month. My front yard, now the larkspur capitol of the neighborhood, is happy testimony to larkspur’s propensity to self-seed.
Our Slow Flower bouquets are available at our Saturday morning Farm Stand, or pre-order here.
Farm Stand: Saturdays from 9 am to noon
CommonWealth Urban Farms, 3310 N. Olie, OKC
Rain makes for happy greens, and we have them! Chard, kale, broccoli greens, pea shoots and a new crop of bok choy. Plus the last of our green onions and some lovely new leeks. Broccoli and new potatoes round out our offerings this week.