Good Gardening News

Suzanne Good reached out to us back in mid-June to see if we had any vegetable plants left that we were willing to donate for raised beds behind a high rise building in Hazelwood. Many of the residents are older or in wheelchairs, so the raised beds are great for easy access. We were happy to partner with her, and one day her and her son, William, stopped by to pick all of the plants up, along with some compost. Russ had drawn up a planting design to give an idea of spacing requirements. We did the easy part, now Suzanne and William had a lot of work in front of them.

Here is how she described planting day–

“Are you familiar with the book, Stone Soup?  It is a children’s book in which newcomers (I think) to a village announce that they will be preparing a delicious soup for the people in the village.  Their first ingredient/contribution to the soup is three (?) stones.  As members of the community become aware of the soup preparation, each member contributes something, i.e. onion, celery, potatoes, etc.  In the end, the soup is delicious and there is plenty for all.  I was reminded of this book as William and I worked throughout the day.

First, we were given your generous donation of all of the plants and a truck load of dark leaf mulch (I think I want that in my own garden next year!).  You not only donated the plants and soil enrichment (with instruction as to how to distribute it), you drew up a plan for the placement and arrangement of the plants in the beds!  When William and I left the greenhouse, we could not have been more encouraged or prepared!  

When we first arrived, we placed the plants on one of the tables adjacent to the beds.  The table was in full sun and it was going to take some time – many trips with a wheelbarrow between the truck in the building’s parking lot and the beds behind the building – to prepare the beds with the leaf mulch, so the plants, which now looked a little droopy, needed water.  The building’s social worker Gwen Harris (pictured in purple), who had come out to say hello, offered to find a bucket and bring us some water for the plants.

Shortly thereafter and in the heat of the day, Ralphina Coleman (pictured in red), came out with ice pops.

Throughout the late afternoon and early evening, residents came out to say hello and check out the plants that were being planted.  Carlos Page, a resident and member of the Bible study (not pictured) stopped by to say hello.  He was not able to help with the planting, but he offered to take responsibility for watering the garden.

Richard Lucas arrived to help as did Janet Evans.  When Janet Evans’ aide, Ashley, arrived Tuesday night to work with Janet, we were nearly finished.  The final step would be watering the beds, but there was no hose.  Ashley announced that she had a hose at her home in Squirrel Hill that she had never used, it was still in its original packaging, and she said she would be happy to give it to us.  She went home to get the hose.

Any final pictures were taken in darkness (and on someone else’s phone so I will try to find and send those to you).  William and I left at about 10 pm.

I cannot thank you enough for all you and Russ contributed to this project.  As I mentioned in earlier emails, this has been such a strange and troubling time. In the midst of all of this, I found an even greater degree of comfort, purpose, satisfaction, and hope in my own gardening, which then evolved into my desire to tackle the beds behind the high rise. This experience has been such a gift on so many levels.”      

Thank you Suzanne for all you do for the community! We were happy to be a small stone in this “Stone Soup” garden.











 

Weekly News, 8.12.20

Hello,

I hope that you are finding JOY in nature and gardening this week. It has definitely brought smiles to the residents of a high rise in Hazelwood, thanks to the time and generosity of Suzanne Good. Be sure to see the details of this Good Gardening News at the end of the newsletter.  

New Arrivals this week–

  • veggie transplants for fall including arugula, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, pak choi, spinach, and swiss chard. Plant now for a fall harvest!
  • fall annual color including sunflowers, strawflower, bidens, dichondra, ornamental grasses, calibrachoa, and verbena.
  • perennials including asters, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Lavender ‘Phenomenal’, Salvia ‘May Night’, and Lamium ‘Ghost’.
  • shrubs including Azalea ‘Girard’s Crimson’, 3 colors of the ‘Pugster’ Butterfly Bush, Boxwood NewGen Freedom and Independence, Rose of Sharon ‘Lavender Chiffon’, Sky Pencil Holly, Blue Point Juniper, Blue Star Juniper, Sugar & Spice Arborvitae, Vitex ‘Blue Puffball’, and more.
  • Masserelli’s fine stone fountains and statuary.

Our crop of fall mums and other fall annuals should be ready in about 2 weeks or so. Fall pansies are usually after Labor Day, and by mid-September at the latest. For now, ENJOY the rest of summer! Technically we have five more weeks of it 🙂

Take care,
Melanie

Recipes–


Basil Pesto

Peach Cucumber Salad with Basil Vinegarette

Blackberry Basil Mojito
 
Happy PA Produce Month! 🌽

This month we celebrate the peak harvest of most PA vegetable crops. To do that, we’re sharing each Friday this month we’re giving away a Ball Preserving Starter Kit and a $25 Bedner’s Gift Card on our facebook page.

Congratulations to Gayle Kamienik, the winner last Friday!

For a chance to win, look for and comment on our post this Friday morning. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced by 5pm Friday night.

Savory Southern Tomato Pie

This month we’re sharing some of our favorite recipes for enjoying the fresh vegetable harvest. If you love tomatoes and basil, this one is a must try!
 

6″ pots of Basil, $6.99 each
BUY 1, GET 1 FREE!

Ball Preserving Starter Kit, $32.99

includes 4 half pint jars with lids and bands, 1 pectin packet, 1 flexible canning rack, 1 jar lifter, 1 headspace tool and 1 jar funnel

25% OFF!

Stop by to see our Nursery Clearance Area!
Select plants are 50% OFF.

 

Weekly News, 8.5.20

Hello there,

As I type this the smell of fresh veggies sauteing fills the room, and PA Produce Month is on my mind. I love this time of year for the abundance of fresh produce, right here at the farm. What I love even more are the sounds and smells of Russ chopping and cooking them up. Dinner is almost ready, and I’m thankful to have a husband who likes to cook!

Growing fresh produce is in the Bedner DNA, and though it’s a smaller part of the business, it’s one that is important to us to keep going. We believe it is our responsibility to continue the family tradition of providing healthy, fresh food for the community. We’re working on extending our produce growing season too, by utilizing some of the production greenhouses. Stay tuned… we’ll be filling you in on our exciting plans soon!

In other news this week—

  • produce currently available includes tomatoes, (regular, heirloom and roma), sweet corn, two types of beets, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, green bell peppers, hot banana peppers, shoshito peppers, cucumbers, pickles, Soergel’s apples, and Chambersburg peaches. Availability may change daily due to weather and crop conditions. Buy some to eat now and extra to freeze or can for later, (see the video below for easy freezing tips).
 
  • our mum crop is coming along nicely, as well as other fall annuals like ornamental kale, an ornamental eggplant called ‘Pumpkin on a Stick’, seven different colors of ornamental peppers, a burgundy colored cordyline (like a giant spike plant), five colors of celosia, and more. Look for these to be ready by Labor Day.
 
  • we only have one spot left in Thursday night’s terrarium workshop. This Saturday Russ will be giving a DIY demo on how to build small hardscape edging and walls. Then next Thursday night we’re looking forward to welcoming back Denise Schreiber, (aka Mrs. Know-it-All of the KDKA radio gardening show). She’ll be here to entertain us with a talk on urban myths and legends in the garden.
Next week I’ll share another garden tour with you. This time from a long time customer, friend, and fellow plant lover, Barbara Alsip. I’ll also share an inspiring gardening story with you of how a local woman volunteered her time to plant raised bed vegetable gardens for a high rise community in Hazelwood.

Happy gardening, and produce-eating too!
Melanie

 

Plant Spotlight

BEHOLD, THE SUN KING! 

No, not Louis XIV of France, rather, a fabulous high-impact perennial. Aralia ‘Sun King’ brings a bold pop of glowing color and texture – the perfect anchor for the shade to shade-to-part-shade border. “Discovered” by plantsman Barry Yinger in a Japanese garden center (atop a department store), this perennial has become a beloved shade garden staple across the country. Bright yellow shoots emerge in spring, then grow up, up, up…can reach 6′ tall and nearly as wide. The small, cream-colored umbels of flowers are attractive to bees and are followed by tiny dark (inedible) drupes. Despite the Sun King’s stature, it’s very well behaved – little to no reseeding or suckering.

HARDINESS 

USDA Zones 3 to 9

LIGHT 

Part shade to full shade. A few hours of sun brings out the yellow; tends to be
more chartreuse in deeper shade.

SOIL 

Not picky – but can flag during dry spells, so provide additional water as necessary. 

USES 

Terrific in combination with hosta, ferns, and past PPOY stars such as Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (2013) and Brunnnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (2012). A knockout when placed near Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ or other maroon-leaf woody. And don’t forget containers – Sun King is bold and beautiful in
a big pot!

UNIQUE QUALITIES 

Bold, gold, compound foliage is deer resistant. Bigger than your average perennial, Sun King is frequently described as 4’ tall and as wide, once established, but 6’ tall is not unusual for older plants. Aralia ‘Sun King’ won the International Hardy Plant Union Outstanding Plant Award in 2012. The species Aralia cordata is a member of the Araliaceae family. Native to Japan, Korea, and SE China, where the young shoots are harvested and blanched or pickled. 

MAINTENANCE 

Low maintenance deciduous perennial; remove dead foliage after a freeze. Supplemental water helps keep foliage from getting crispy during a dry spell. 

2020 Perennial Plant of the Year, Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’
www.perennialplant.org
 

Other Plants of Interest at the Greenhouse This Week

 
What is PA Produce Month? Established by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing & Research Program, PA Produce Month is a good ol’ celebration of one of Pennsylvania’s shining stars – vegetables! It encourages all Pennsylvanians – consumers, farmers, and the media – to express gratitude, excitement, and pride for 31 days out of the year when many local vegetables are in their prime, August!

To celebrate, we’ll be giving away prizes every Friday in August on our facebook page. Follow our page for your chance to win. 
Happy PA Produce Month! Preserve your PA-veggie bounty and enjoy delicious, local vegetables all year long with these three easy tips!
 

Russ’ Recommended Roasted Beet Recipe:
  • Slice and chop into 2″ pieces.
  • Toss in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
  • Serve warm.
 
 

Weekly News, 7.29.20

Hi friends,

How is your garden growing? I’m learning to let go of the disappointment when things don’t turn out how I had hoped and planned. It’s not easy, and takes effort. My morning glories are taking way longer than I thought they would. My rosebud impatiens got downy mildew. The rabbits had a buffet on my strawflower and calibrachoa. 

There are some things that we can control, and others we cannot. I can learn more by reading, talking to experts, and trying new strategies, and then do my best to create a desireable outcome. Add in a healthy dose of faith and patience, do my best, and the enjoy the results. Maybe it’s not perfect, and that’s okay. What I’m learning so much this summer is how to enjoy what I have, and not worry about or long for what I don’t. I’m taking in every bit of beauty that I can find. It may not have been how I expected it to be, but it’s still beautiful. Blessings abound when I open my eyes to see them. I’m taking it all in right now, and I wish the same for you.

Part of taking in the beauty around me lately has been visiting YOUR gardens as part of my Garden Tour 2020. I’ve loved seeing your passion, hard work, and self-expression in your garden. Be sure to check out this week’s tour at Laurie and Dave’s in South Fayette. It was so peaceful in all senses, I could have rolled out my yoga mat right there. From the sounds of the Corinthian Bells, water fountain, and spa-like music on the outdoor television, to the fragrance of the garden phlox, and the taste of the lime basil sugar cookies, (need to get that recipe), it truly felt like a retreat. Check it out below, though the pictures never do these gardens justice. 

Here’s what’s new this week—

 

  • also newly arrived and being unpacked is wall art that is created and produced in the USA, and made by local artists in Oregon. Each piece is a collage of individual wooden boards, that they use as a canvas and then spray semi-translucent, all-weather Ultra Violet protected images directly into the wood grain. The result? An interplay of texture and color-art that lives so naturally on the wood you might think it grew there. The pieces will withstand wind, rain, snow and sun and looks amazing indoors or out.

  • August is PA Produce month. To celebrate, we’ll be giving away a Ball canning kit and $25 Gift Card, every Friday in August on our facebook page. Follow our page for your chance to win. I’ll be sharing some fresh harvest tips and favorite recipes each week in August too.


Have a great rest of your week!

Take care,
Melanie

 
 
 
 
 
What is PA Produce Month? Established by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing & Research Program, PA Produce Month is a good ol’ celebration of one of Pennsylvania’s shining stars – vegetables! It encourages all Pennsylvanians – consumers, farmers, and the media – to express gratitude, excitement, and pride for 31 days out of the year when many local vegetables are in their prime, August!

To celebrate, we’ll be giving away prizes every Friday in August on our facebook page. Follow our page for your chance to win. 
August is PA Produce Month
 
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