Pittsburgh: A New Home A New Career–Grow Where U R Transplanted

This blog started with posts that focused on my gardening hobby and somehow transitioned into my passion for public radio and sustainability. Now after weeks without posting, I have good news along with a sweet little story that combines my love of flowers and public radio.

I left the Philadelphia area a month and a half ago and moved to Pittsburgh with the thought that I needed to build a career in a city. And I decided Pittsburgh was the place because I not only know Pittsburgh better than I know Philly, but I also really love the people. One of my friends from Pitt often refers to Pittsburgh as “a big hug.” And despite the frigid temperatures this week, that’s exactly what I feel like I’ve gotten in the last few days.  Continue reading

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Stargazers Vineyard and Winery: Our Environment Episode 4

Find out more about the Vineyard and the history behind the name Stargazers

Southeastern Pennsylvania is home to a number of picturesque wineries, and Stargazers in Coatesville can be counted among them. But the vineyard and winery also stands out for the unique environmental example made by its owners.

Stargazers’ owners and operators, John and Alice Weygant, use energy-efficient methods to make their wine. And those sustainable methods carry over to their home with solar panels, cisterns that recycle rainwater, and highly efficient building design. In this episode of Our Environment, I left the studios of 1370am Pottstown and spent time with the Weygants in their winery and in their home, finding out how sustainable living can be easy, economical, and even profitable.

To find out more about where Stargazers’ surplus solar energy goes and how you can take advantage of clean electricity, visit http://www.theenergy.coop/Electricity/electricity.htm

Visit Stargazers on Facebook

Our Environment Episode 2 Mosaic Community Land Trust part 2


Listen here to part 2 of my interview with Katy Jackson of the Mosaic Community Land Trust. Mosaic’s approach to community revitalization starts with promoting responsible homeownership and pride in the Pottstown community. In this second half Mrs. Jackson told me about the development of Pottstown’s first community garden.

Our Environment is a weekly program on WPAZ radio, playing at 12:30pm every Friday.

For pictures of Mosaic’s work, take a look at their video on YouTube.

Inevitable Compost

Some things are meant to be, whether we like it or not.  To me, composting is inevitable if you really enjoy gardening. I live with my mother in Chester Springs, PA and I have as much gardening  freedom as one can have in a new townhouse development where landscaping is restricted by an association.  Continue reading

Buggin’

This has been, and will probably continue to be, a very buggy growing season. With all of the recent rain relief in the Philadelphia area, I’m happy that I can stop being a slave to the garden hose for a few days.  But with all this new moisture, heat, and my naive decision to plant so many things in a small area, I still have to check for pests constantly. Continue reading

Mint-Jewelin’

I just left a friend’s house in Phoenixville with a clementine box full of  mint plants (Mentha spicata, I think) which I dug up from his yard.  It’s amazing how veracious some mint grows, yet it’s so useful and lovely to smell that many people don’t give it the same disrespect as other such weedy plants.

Freshly dig mint

The first mint I dug up seriously seemed to be one 2-inch seedling but turned out to be an off-shoot of a 2-foot plant. I pulled up 3 of those bad boys and I know I’ll probably be in over my head in no time.  Normally I wouldn’t transplant like this because I could also be introducing foreign pests into the bed but I’m planning to plant it in a corner of my garden bed that’s full of big nasty dandelions and only a few bushes nearby that the landscape could do without if they do die.

I have a bit of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) growing near there now, which I dug up at my local park and I’m hoping it, combined with the mint, will weed out the dandelions.

Jewelweed has medicinal uses and this mint is the best kind for teas, so if I’m going to have a weedy patch, it might as well be a useful one!

Out Planting the Planter

The more unruly the better.

Last summer I had no idea what I was doing.  Let’s start there.  I planted what looked pretty, straight out of the pot.  I didn’t pay attention to the notes on the tags about growth patterns, and even if I did, I lacked the wisdom and foresight to take all the information into account.  With that said, I must admit, despite my ignorance, my plantings look awesome! Continue reading