Backyard Gardening

Written by Maggie Murdock Nichols in the May 2020 Issue

As we prepared for Spring Break, we unknowingly prepared for an extended break from normalcy. Our suburb was certainly not sheltered from the blow of the Coronavirus pandemic. In an attempt to gain some sense of control, many ran for food and supplies leaving shelves bare. In a time when the grocery store has brought anxiety for a variety of reasons, many have looked to their own backyard, hoping it can provide a sense of stability and security. 

Conscious Community Co-op owners, Jennifer and Chris Webster have catered to a niche, providing organically grown produce, products, seeds and supplies. The onset of a pandemic and subsequent strain on the food supply caused that niche to expand rapidly. Jennifer says, “We saw a lot of panic, a whole dichotomy of emotions.” The couple says they watched as panic transformed into something productive. Gardening has a two-fold benefit, while the growers reap its benefits in form of produce, they also reap intangible benefits like the sense of calm getting your hands in the dirt can bring. “Sunshine and vitamin D does wonders for the immune system and mood,” Jennifer says. In a time where there is nowhere else to go, a gardener can look to their own backyard to find escape. 

Container Gardening

Chris and Jennifer have been bombarded with questions from novice gardeners and from more experienced gardeners who wish to grow their harvest. With an abundance of red dirt and bermuda grass, container gardening is a great option. Chris builds cedar raised garden beds in a variety of sizes. They can be purchased as Conscious Community Co-op or delivered for a fee. The Co-op sells locally sourced, high quality compost and soil that will make a great foundation for a successful planting season. When using a raised bed gardeners should consider that they aren’t absorbing any groundwater and need to be watered more frequently. 

Plan before you sow

Chris urges growers to have a plan before they start sowing seeds. When planting towering and climbing vines like cucumber and tomatoes, plant them towards the outside of your chosen space. Take advantage of their shade by planting lettuces and radishes below them. Now is a great time to plant squash, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, okra and green beans.

Jennifer and Chris recommend using heirloom open-pollinated seeds as opposed to hybrid seeds. Hybrid seeds were genetically modified and will continue to mutate. Heirloom seeds will give you a consistent harvest from year to year. 

Chris and Jennifer are farmers themselves, they own and operate Providence Farms, but focus on sourcing products from 40 local producers for Conscious Community Co-op. They are offering curbside and call in orders for those who wish to not come inside, and are open to the public. Conscious Community Co-op is located at 2900 East Waterloo Road in Edmond and can be reached at 405-726-2565. 

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