MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 4, 2013

Grogg’s makes it easy being green

One-of-a-kind place focuses on organic

Molly Day
All the Dirt on Gardening

— Grogg’s Green Barn in Tulsa is a one-of-a-kind store for northeast Oklahoma gardeners who want to grow native plants, use non-GMO seeds, treat plant diseases and insect problems organically and prefer to purchase vegetable plant starts that are grown using those methods.

Kelly and Carla Grogg encourage gardeners to use native plants because they are insect, disease and drought resistant, requiring less intervention to keep them healthy. The perennial native plants that they sell are grown in biodegradable coir pots from locally collected seeds.

Open since 2011, Grogg’s Green Barn is located in an eco-inspired building. Rain water is collected in a 4,000 gallon cistern to use in the fountain as well as to irrigate plants. There is a 3 minute OETA interview with the Groggs at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9a_Bq4JS5o.

Shopping at Grogg’s is a unique experience. There are plenty of knowledgeable staff people around to answer questions and give guidance. The store is bright, open, and does not smell like chemicals.

They sell both traditional glazed containers and hard-to-find Wally wooly pocket planters (www.woollypocket.com) in three sizes. Their wall of tools is loaded with bamboo-handled shovels, rakes, etc., that are functional and lightweight.

If you are ready to get your compost going, they have a how-to class on Saturday and sell compost starter, compost worms and compost sifters. In addition to compost worms ($16), Grogg’s sells lady beetles, lacewings, beneficial nematodes, etc.

To help encourage the next generation of gardeners, Grogg’s has a section of the store dedicated to tools and educational nature toys just their size.

You will not be able to buy flats of common plants such as petunias, but you will find a wide variety of plants few other stores carry such as Autumn Black Magic Chokecherry shrubs, Indian Arrow Wood Wahoo, Prairie Cord Grass, Silphium Sunflower and many other native selections.

Right now the greenhouse area at the side of the store is loaded with organically grown plant starts for our fall gardens. The selections include: heirloom tomatoes, chard, collards, kohlrabi, arugula, fennel, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cilantro, stevia, sorrel, etc.

To improve the quality of your garden soil, Grogg’s stocks dozens of organic amendments, soil, mulch, etc. Look for dried molasses, worm castings, diatomaceous earth, orange oil, Neptune’s Harvest fish and seaweed products, cottonseed, etc. They also have vermiculite and perlite for starting seeds and cuttings at home plus sticky traps to catch those pesky gnats.

Other organic pest control methods available at Groggs: Thuricide, Sluggo (1 percent iron phosphate), Nolo Bait (Nosema locustae), Neem oil, Deer Scream, and a shelf full of other options.

Back by the glazed pots you’ll find bird houses, decorative glass chips, tree gators, and decorative plant markers. They carry seeds from Johnny’s Select Seeds and Botanical Interests. This week there was a bin of 2013 seeds for $1 a pack. Pop them in the freezer when you bring them home and they will be good to plant indoors this winter or outside next spring.

If you have been curious about having backyard chickens, their Oct. 19 class “Backyard Chickens: Fun to have and beneficial” will provide the basics. Grogg’s sells a chicken starter kit as well as chicken food.

Also in October, garden-guru Alan Storjohann will be hosting his radio program live from Grogg’s during their Oct. 12 Fall Festival that runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Last year’s festival included yoga classes, Master Gardeners’ on-site demonstrations, plus cooking, canning and preserving classes.

Experienced and new gardeners find that Grogg’s makes it easier to be green.

If you go

WHAT: Grogg’s Green Barn.

WHERE: 10105 E. 61st St., Tulsa.

INFO: (918) 994-4222 or www.groggsgreenbarn.com.

HOURS: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

CLASSES: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. “Backyard compost how and why — Let’s talk worms, science and ingredients you need to be successful;” Sept. 14 at 3 p.m., “Children’s event: Scavenger Hunt in the Garden;” Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m., “Propagation and Dividing Skills.”