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Where to get free wooden chips


Hosted by Grow Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Phipps, this year's Seed Swap will be bigger than ever! Come to exchange and procure seeds, attend a workshop, and meet fellow gardeners. 

Date: Saturday, March 15th


Seed Swap: 11:00am-2:00pm 

Seed Starting workshop: 12:00pm presented by: Gabe Thailove, Phipps Conservatory

Seed Saving workshop: 1:00pm presented by: Cassandra Morgan, Grow Pittsburgh

LocationCarnegie Library Pittsburgh (Main), Oakland 

International Poetry Room, 2nd Floor  


This event is free and open to the public.

For more info contact Jessica: [email protected]

Our planning meeting will be held this year on February 8th, 9:30 am at Biddle's Escape.

This year we are back and more organized than ever!  We are your best source for FREE GARDENING CLASSES AND NETWORKING EVENTS hosted by local, experienced gardeners.  We've participated and hosted over 100 meetups in the past 5 years, and we plan to continue offering topics including everything from basic gardening, wild-crafting, cooking, to advanced permaculture design.  From beginner to expert, we have something for everyone. 

This "open-space" style meeting is for networking, feedback, and planning out the year's events schedule. If you'd like to learn, teach, or share about your backyard gardening skills, this is the place to be!

Come with ideas for workshops and workdays you'd like to see or be willing to lead. Dream about warm weather, and share your experiences gardening in the Burgh. Beginners and experts are invited to share.

Join Us:

To host or teach a gardening class in 2014 
To meet and network with urban farmers and gardeners 
To promote and share your neighborhood gardening projects 
To give your all important feedback which keeps our group growing!

Biddle's Escape-401 Biddle Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Country Barn Farm First Year Beekeeping Class

Where:      Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve,614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238

 When:     Saturday, September 7th 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00pm    

 Description:       This is a classroom-based course offering an introduction to honey bee biology and basic approaches to beekeeping.  The course will include:  an overview of honey bee biology in order to understand the challenges facing honey bees, and an overview of the basic equipment and techniques necessary to be a successful beekeeper.  The goal is for students to learn how to keep bees for the first year.  There will be an opportunity for an onsite apiary visit if the weather permits for interested students who have protective gear. 

 Instructor:     Joseph Zgurzynski, a  Master Beekeeper with over 30 years of  experience

Course Fee:       $115, includes one year of after class mentoring via email and phone, numerous hand outs, coffee, and a certificate of completion.  PASA members receive a $10 discount on the class.   Pre-Registration Required. For a registration form, please email [email protected], or call 412-225-0930.

This Workshop is Offered in Cooperation with PASA and the Good Food Neighborhood


Plant to Plate, Pitt's student run urban garden project, recently received an abundance of cedar and pine wood chips, and are looking to give away the excess. For pick-up arrangements please email [email protected]

It's that time of year again, where I seem to be starting seeds non-stop!  I have fun, but I am exhausted!  I started a lot of hot peppers, tomatoes, leeks, herbs, lettuce.  I lifted the plastic off a section of where my leeks over-wintered and saw new sprouts on my chives already!

Starting my second year on the chickens.  I have more eggs than I can use.  Nice to see my son (teen) go out to the chicken run, get out the eggs, and come in to make himself breakfast LOL!  Neighbors like the chickens...who knew? I have organic feed delivered to my doorstep for about the same price it would cost me to drive overto Regent Square to AnimalNature. Saves on gas and my precious time.  Weekends are always so packed and I'd rather be out gardening than spending time in the car to go buy chicken feed :0)

This cold weather has to go! I am ready to get out there and get started!


Anybody have any experience with building greenhouses out of old windows here?  I am thinking the frost heave is going to be an enemy.  I was originally thinking of doing it like you do portable sheds but without a floor so it just sits on top of the ground...well, resting on cinder blocks...? What do you think?

Saturday March 2nd, 3-5pm

The Zone @ 5217 Butler St.

Don't know the first thing about organic vegetable gardening, but want to learn? Never even picked up a spade?

Fear not! Grow Pittsburgh's Organic Gardening Basics workshop will cover all the basics. Learn:

* What to plant and where
* How to compost
* Basic pest & disease identification and management
* …and much more!

Did we mention they'll be light refreshments and giveaways? 

This event is FREE and open to the public.  This class is sponsored by GROW PITTSBURGH AND LAWERENCEVILLE COMMUNITY GARDEN

One hundred trees are being planted throughout downtown Millvale this spring. On Saturday, April 6th we will meet at the library and plant about 50 of them. The other half will be planted on April 20 as part of a neighborhood-wide clean up and green up effort.

Breakfast, drinks, and lunch will be provided by Western Pa Conservancy! Yum. Yum.

At the future home of the Millvale Community Library, 213 Grant Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15209


Today we attended a planning meeting with about 20 participants (plus a few more online) to begin planning and share a little bit of knowledge through group discussions.  The topics and my notes were:

1.  Gardening Organization - Look for community garden lists at Grow Pittsburgh's Community Garden Guide

2. Soil - starting from empty lot to vegetable garden, sheet mulching and cultivating beneficial fungi and microbes is probably the best cheapest way.  Break the soil up without turning it over and mulch on top. Use any organic material such as newspapers (we think the ink is plant-based) cardboard, compost, woody stuff, plant wastes, leaves, clippings. You can make great soil from just dry leaves.  Make sure to agitate the soil to continue to get air so your biology can breathe.  Look up more on Mother Earth News: "lasagna gardening".  To make it look nice, use a raised bed.

3.  Aquaponics = water + plants + fish tanks. Our freind, Mark has a setup where the dirty fish water feeds the plants and the plants filter the water for the next pass through the fish tank. We look forward to featuring his setup and pictures in another meetup very soon. 

Maren Hosts Sustainability Salons, and features a ton of environmental events. For More info on Maren's Sustainability Salons Check her blog Maren't List.

Fugus can save the world!  More on Mushrooms: Paul Stamets TED Talk


We also received some solid ideas for classes including a "Getting Started" gardening talk by Jeff O., "Aquaponics" by Mark, Maren's House Tours (link above), and planting trees in Millvale on April 6.

We'll start posting events as they get planned.  Check here or for event info.

Thanks for your support!

<3 Jeff

Has it been 5 years already?  I've learned so much from this group.  I am excited to see you all for a new season of gardening skills sharing.   ~Jeff


5th Annual PGE Planning Meeting

Saturday Feb 16th. 2:00pm

Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill

 Please join us for the 5th Annual PGE Planning Meeting. This "open-space" style meeting is for networking, feedback, and planning out our 2013 events schedule.  If you'd like to learn, teach, or share about your backyard gardening skills, this is the place to be!

Dream about warm weather, and share your experiences gardening in the Burgh.  Beginners and experts are invited to share.  This year we will continue our Free Member-Supported Gardening Class Programs with indoor discussion groups and outdoor working groups.

Join Us:

  • To host or teach a gardening class in 2013
  • To meet and network with urban farmers and gardeners
  • To promote and share your neighborhood gardening projects
  • To give your all important feedback which keeps our group growing!

Pittsburgh Garden Experiment:  "growing your skills"

Click Here for the Meetup event RSVP.  or just show up!

I really enjoyed reading paguyhere's forum post about this event at Seven Springs.  He was there with his converted-to-electric 1986 Fiero (photo), attended several classes, and heard Darrell Frey speak about permaculture.  Sounds like this is definitely worth checking out next year.

Hi I wanted to share this class. I've been to a few of Carol's free veggie growing lectures and they are great! Late season planting: learn about planting vegetables now for harvest into winter and spring Thursday Sept 6th at 6:30 pm @ McKeesport Carnegie Library RSVP on the McKeesport Carnegie library website


I've decided to conduct some interviews with some locals doing cool projects that I think would be beneficial and interesting for other members to know about. I want to shine the spotlight on people, showing off what they care about and what they've been up to.

If you're interested in being interviewed by me and sharing what you're working on for all to see please do not hesitate to message or email me, I'd love to hear about what you've been working on!

I've decided to kick off the first of what I hope will be many more interview style articles to come with a peek into the busy life of Jeff Newman. Enjoy!


Name: Jeff N., Favorite Edible Plant: Raspberries, Favorite Flower: Purple Cone Flower (yea, it’s native)


What do you do for a living?

I do a bunch of things…I try to make compost, I do property maintenance work and I own three small businesses.  Two of them are compost related (Steel City Soils and root juice) and the Peddlin’ Company- it’s a startup business that’s trying to do bike trailer food vending.  We’re making gourmet pierogies and selling them out of a bike trailer on Carson Street.

What are you passionate about?

Trying to do positive things, trying to stay on the positive side of things and really just to try and make my day to day work honorable in some way and working for the good of things instead of against it. And soil. Soil has been the practical expression of that passion.

What projects are you currently working on?

Well, my businesses.  Steel City Soils has been working on converting food waste into probiotic liquid cultures, or A.A.C.T., which means actively aerated compost tea!  So our project is the application of those teas and tracking the effect of them. We’re trying to show you can decrease diseases in soil that would lead to diseases in plants. If we can introduce more biodiversity in the soil system then we can stabilize the system and help promote immunity to pathogens.  Healthy soil is alive. With that increase in microbes you get an increase in root penetration- building a stronger root system helps the soil to retain more moisture-.

How did you get interested in/started with your project/s?

Basically I was thinking about how could I start a fifty-year business. I wanted my business to last fifty years, so I started looking at trends and I saw that organic soils are going to become increasingly more valuable and need to be worked on. So I decided to apply my energy to cultivating food-producing organic soils in our region, using nutrients that would otherwise be wasted.

How do you foresee it developing in the next six months to a year? What would you like to see happen?

Hopefully we will be able to launch the tea business, Root Juice Spray Service and be able to do applications in peoples gardens within the next sixth months to a year. 

Have you run into any obstacles in your time working on this project?

Yea. One of the biggest things is just the stigma of “waste” in general in today’s society.  Once it’s out of peoples’ hands they forget about what happens to it.  We’re trying to get people to think about what happens to their waste once it is picked up by someone else and to feel responsible for that.  Making things profitable is difficult as well. It’s easy to come up with ideas about being sustainable.  I guess the next step is taking my ideas and making them into practical, workable projects.

Is there room for other people to participate in this with you and to what extent?

Yea, definitely, they can check out Pittsburgh Garden Experiment, which is a project of ours, to network.  As far as food waste goes, I would encourage people to compost themselves or to patronize places that practice composting.  For example, the Quiet Storm Café, E-squared and the East End Food Co-op all compost.

I’m also planning on giving a lecture on August 29th at Cedars Hospice in Monroeville. (

I’d also like to try and get together a potluck to talk with other PGE members about what they’ve been doing. (

Steel City Soils is also working on trying to organize our third annual Harvest After Party again sometime in late October.  Just coming out and being involved in generating ideas and networks of people that care about growing is a wonderful way to support each other.

 If members were interested in offering you assistance and/or connecting with you over what you’re doing, where can they reach you?

They can contact [email protected] with any inquiries or call our number 412-254-DIRT and of course just keep an eye out on the PGE board and our meet up so they can participate in events! 


Join Bedner's to celebrate local farm products on Saturday August 18th & 19th from 11:00am to 5:00pm * U-Pick Veggies – Take a hayride out to our produce fields to pick-your-own fresh vegetables. The veggies to be picked at each event will depend on crop conditions, and will be at least one of the following: cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini. $12 (a chip basket will be provided to fill with produce. Hayride Only: $5, children under 3 are free). Hayrides will leave the Greenhouse at 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm. * Live Cooking Demonstrations – 2:00-4:00pm. Watch a professional chef demonstrate cooking techniques with our fresh produce. Sample some of the chef’s creations. FREE *Wine Tasting with J & D Cellars - a BRAND new local winery with bottles for sale. * Guest Farm Market Vendors – 11:00am – 5:00pm. Our guests will vary each weekend, and include: hot foods, baked goods, and a local winery. * Live Music * Free Face Painting

Sand-cast Birdbath Workshop
@ Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse
6:30p  June 27, 2012 (almost full!)
2:00p   July 1, 2012

Our popular sand-cast birdbath workshop is back this year!  In this workshop, we’ll cast our very own garden-ready birdbaths to take home. Whether you make one for your own garden or create one as a gift, these birdbaths will add beauty to the garden while attracting western Pennsylvania’s diverse and beautiful birds to your yard. $15/birdbath, payable at greenhouse on day of event. Pre-registration required.

Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse
315 Coleman Rd. McDonald, PA 15057

Miniature Fairy Garden Workshop
@ Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse
2:00pm      June 30, 2012


Join us at Bedner’s to craft a planter fit for fairies! Each container garden begins with a bowl-planter and we’ll use a hand-selected array of  miniature flowers and foliage, iridescent stones that shimmer in the moonlight, and much more! Your magical miniature landscape will give the illusion that tiny creatures are afoot! Class costs $12, which includes bowl planter, soil and moss. Plants are extra, starting at $2 (Most attendees have opted for 3 to 5 plants per container) Fine handcrafted fairy accessories are available to add beginning at $1.50/piece. Participants will pay after completing project.

Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse
315 Coleman Rd. McDonald, PA 15057
(724) 926-2541

Take your Dad to see some Chicks this Fathers’ Day!


2nd Annual Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour

Sunday, June 17, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The 2nd Annual Chicks-in-the-Hood, Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour, is a one-day, self-guided urban chicken coop tour comprised of volunteers who are enthusiastic about showing how chickens and urban agriculture are thriving in the North Side and East End neighborhoods of the City.  The tour seeks to educate visitors about keeping hens and delight them with garden ideas and backyard sustainability projects.  Open to adults and children, the tour showcases various styles of chicken coops and breeds.  Urban chicken farmers will be on hand at each location to discuss the how-to’s of chicken keeping.  There are opportunities to photograph and get to know the chickens up close and personal.  A wide-variety of coop styles, as well as the surrounding backyard gardens, make the tour interesting and fun for the whole family!

Tickets for the tour are $10 - kids are free! A ticket purchase gets you a tour booklet, a map with directions to each participating coop on the tour and an official Chicks-in-the-Hood collectible pin!   All proceeds from ticket sale will be donated to Grow Pittsburgh

Tickets will be available the day of the tour at (1) The Quiet Storm at 5430 Penn Avenue in Friendship/Garfield;  (2) Tazza D’Oro at 1125 North Highland Avenue in Highland Park; (3) Animal Nature  at 7610 Forbes Avenue in Regent Square;  (4) Thompson 0.08 Acres at 1240 Resaca Place, Pittsburgh  15212; and  (5) Choderwood at 7665 Lock Way West, Pittsburgh 15206, located at the Highland Park Dam at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard.  Questions?  Contact Jody via email [email protected].

Brought to you by:  Pittsburgh Pro-Poultry People!  P4 is a group of volunteers who seek to promote the joy of chickens and the freedom to design and build small structures within the City without permit requirements.  We are passionate about urban chickens for many reasons, including:  they bring us closer to the food chain and circle of life; they provide fresh eggs, create fertilizer for the garden and are voracious insect eaters; and they are great pets! 

Our motto is:  Every plot of land should have at least three chickens.  Help us make our motto a reality!

5/20 at Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse in McDonald

11:00a – 12:00p: Master Gardener Talk: Pollinator-friendly Color for All Seasons

Want to create an environmentally friendly, vibrant, blooming garden with color for all seasons? Join us as Master Gardener Sue Ralston shares techniques, tips and ideas for selecting and maintaining pollinator-friendly plants and flowers that will ensure a colorful garden for all three seasons. A colorful blooming garden not only adds beauty, but benefits "garden-helpers" such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Pre-registration requested. FREE.

Full Bloom Festival Weekend:
Classes and Workshops, Wine, Food & More!

Activities 5/19

11:00am - 1:00pm: South Fayette Conservation Group Info Booth
South Fayette Conservation Group, a local nonprofit, will be sharing information about their organization and their conservation efforts for the land and waterways in our local area. Visit their info table at the greenhouse to learn about the group, their work and volunteer opportunities.

12:00pm -4:00pm: Master Gardener Q & A Session
Looking for gardening tips, resources and advice or have a gardening question you'd like to have answered? Washington County Master Gardeners are ready to answer your questions and share their expert knowledge of gardening with you. Stop by our "Master's Table" while at the greenhouse for helpful printed guides and to talk face to face with a friendly local expert in our growing zone. FREE.


Food and Drink

C.T. Miller Winery
This popular local winery joins us at Bedner's to share their wines. C.T Miller will have bottles for sale and will also be conducting wine tastings all day at our greenhouse. Reds, whites, roses and ice wines available!

G.R.M Concessions
Delicious mediterranean and middle easten food and desserts. Check our their menu!

Fabulous Homemade Cookies
Outstanding cookies, pastries, baked goods and coffee.


Celebrate Earth Day @ Bedner's Greenhouse!

April 22nd 12:00p – 1:00p  Vermicomposting Workshop         

This workshop will introduce the basics of creating and maintaining a successful vermi-composting operation. Learn how the redworm, nature’s all-star recycler, can help you transform compostable kitchen refuse and yard waste into rich, healthy soil for your garden. Make your very own small composting container to take home, complete with ready-to-work redworms! Composting worms and compost container materials provided. Class costs $25, which includes small composter and red worms. Payable at greenhouse on day of event. Pre-registration required. Space is limited.

April 22nd 2:00p – 3:00p   Rain Barrel Workshop

Under the guidance of Don McGuirk from the Scott Township Conservancy, participants will learn how to construct a rain barrel for use at home. Don will demonstrate using a recycled, cleaned food barrel and readily-available hardware that by simply drilling a few holes, you can make your own. Don will provide instruction on the proper use and installation of the rain barrel once you get it home as well as the benefits of rain barrels as a means of conserving water and managing stormwater runoff. Participants will be entered into a raffle to win a completed barrel. All particpants will be provided with detailed take-home instructions and a resource guide for materials. Class costs $10/person, payable at greenhouse on day of event. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited.

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