Red Alert For A Green Thumb: Volunteer Needed To Help Maintain State College Community Garden

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — The community garden on East College Avenue at University Drive has gone untouched this summer as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy struggles to find a volunteer for its upkeep.

With only seven staff members and 132 gardens to monitor, the conservancy relies on volunteers to make the gardens possible.

“Our office is in Pittsburgh, and we have some gardens that are far away in Erie, North Huntingdon, Altoona, State College and even farther away in Harrisburg,” said Lynne McGuire-Olzack, the conservancy’s volunteer coordinator. “This is the first time we don’t have a volunteer in State College.”

Pottstown Community Garden Taking Root In Second Site

POTTSTOWN — Say goodbye to the crumbling eyesore, say hello to Pottstown’s second community garden.

The continuing efforts by the Mosaic Community Land Trust to transform falling-down buildings and lots into productive assets took another step forward this week with the demolition of 615 Chestnut St.; the vacant site of a former neighborhood store will soon become a place where local residents can grow food for their tables and flowers for their enjoyment.

The property was owned for several years “by a fellow down in Philadelphia who eventually gave up on owning the property because he didn’t want to have to pay to demolish it, so he donated it to the land trust,” said David Jackson, chairman of the land trust’s board of directors.

That leverage, he said, was the result of pressure from the borough codes department, which cited the property repeatedly for violations.

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4th Annual Citizens For Pottstown Revitalization Garden Party

Hi All,

Spring is officially here, I’d I like to invite you to the 4th Annual Garden Party held at the Washington/Chestnut Street Park this Saturday, May 18.

It will be a morning of beautifying the park with annuals and mulch donated by Colonial Gardens and light refreshments courtesy of Genesis Housing Corp.  Details are below and don’t forget you gardening tools! SHOVELS, RAKES and GLOVES!

TIME:  9AM – 11AM

Hope to See you there!


Mosaic Community Garden – Pottstown’s Hidden Jewel On Chestnut Street

Pottstown, PA – I was given a tour of the new Community Garden on Chestnut Street yesterday by Katy Jackson.  The garden was formerly a broken down playground full of weeds, drug dealers and hookers.  The school district and the borough worked with Mosaic to make this project happen.  It is now a source of pride and a stabilizing factor in the neighborhood.

The large space was cleared and has been subdivided into 34 individual plots that people are using to grow their own vegetables.  There is also a flower garden near the front entrance, a patio area and a common gathering area in the rear.  An amphitheater is being constructed for lectures and programs.  There is a shed full of tools, three hoses for water and several adult and child picnic tables.  In addition, there is a composter in the rear of the property that will be brought back into working order so that gardeners can all contribute to the communal composter.

There is an educational component to the garden as well as the ability to grow one’s own food.  There is art programming at the garden this summer in conjunction with the Olivet Boys & Girls Club/Ricketts Center.  20-25 children are attending.  The children have painted the benches the past three Thursday mornings and this Thursday they are gathering at the garden to paint bird houses.

There is special kids pizza garden and a middle school garden.

People are harvesting green beans, lettuce, yellow squash and tomatoes.

This Saturday, July 14th, there is a composting workshop at the garden.  Lectures will be given on traditional composting and worm composting.  This workshop runs from 9am to 11am.  The presenters will be Laura Washington and Scott Winter.

Future plans include selling produce grown from the garden and additional community garden sites being added in Pottstown.  There are many volunteers who have put hours of sweat equity into making this garden a huge success.  They should all be commended!

For more information about the tremendous project, click here:

West Reading Garden Sprouts A Community

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Under the sweltering sun at West Reading’s community garden, Lore DeHart offered up her arugula by the bundle.

As it turns out, she’s found, she’s not so big a fan of it after all.

Another thing she’s learned? Her radishes could use some work.

With two plots to tend to, it’s been a trial-and-error process for the retired Exeter School District teacher who, despite growing up on 6 acres of land, counts herself a novice among her fellow gardeners at the South Second Avenue and Chestnut Street garden.

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Urban Gardening In Pittsburgh And The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh is leading the way into the “green” and sustainable lifestyle for a big city.  An ambitious project, that has been 20 years in the making, is the transformation of a former mining site, mostly in North Fayette Township, into a community garden.  Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a work in progress.  The finished project will be 450 acres of public garden.  Yes, you read that correctly 450 acres!  It is hoped the Botanic Garden will attract a minimum of 300,000 visitors per year.  This Botanic Garden has another ten years to go before completion and will end up costing $30 million.  Phase One, which is expected to open in 2012, will be the Wildflower and Woodland Trail.  The Botanic Garden will be 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

The leftover coal extracted from the site is being sold to help pay for the $7.9 million clean up.  Grants have been received from various organizations to help pay for projects over the years.

One of the fundraising methods being used for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the annual Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Town & Country Open Garden Day Tour.  The tour, which is in its 14th year, raises much needed money for the Botanic Garden project.  The tour features 14 gardens.  Six of the 14 gardens are located in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood.  The Southside is an urban neighborhood of densely packed homes with small lots.  Not exactly an area most people would think of as a garden paradise.

In addition to the Southside, the tour also visits Sewickley, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights and Ben Avon.  You can take a bus tour or the less expensive self-guided tour.  There are two rooftop gardens on the tour this year!  The gardens are a mixture of urban, suburban, large, small, formal and informal – a little something for everyone.

The tour is Sunday, June 26th from 9 – 5.  The bus leaves at 8:30 a.m.  The bus tour, which includes lunch (Andora’s), is $110.  The self-guided tour is $50.  There is a $10 discount for members.  The deadline to buy tickets is Tuesday, June 21st.  Tickets can be purchased online or at several locations listed on the website.

The bus departure and drop-off point is the PSI Building, 850 Poplar St., Green Tree.

For more details visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden website:

Or call (412) 444-4464

Watch a video about the reclamation process at the Botanic Garden site!