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Fascinating new varieties for spring planting

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog hip hop2'Hip Hop' violas are one of the new introductions this year. Violas love cold weather and can be planted soon.

I can't wait to get started in the garden. Every season breeders come up with some new varieties for us to plant.

Here's a segment from Pittsburgh Today Live which goes over just a few of the new introduction. They all came from Chapon's Greenhouse in Baldwin. Every garden center and nursery will have something new to try. Spend a Sunday with gardening friends exploring a place you don't usually go. It's a fun way to discover interesting plants.

 

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Garden chat with Doug at 12 noon today. Celebrate the first day of spring!

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog sc real tight blThe snow crocus is the harbinger of spring. Photo by Doug Oster

Let's celebrate the first day of spring by talking gardening. All you have to do is log in here.

I did a lot of these last year and we had fun. Ask questions, tell stories and complain about the endless winter!

I'll be chatting live at 12 noon on Thursday 3/20/14. Just click the link above.

Hope to see you there.

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Dirty Ball's Happy Hour at UP

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

 

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From left: Renee Williams, Catherine Loevner, and Sam C. Badger

 

If you needed a boost of positive energy, UP Modern Kitchen (how appropriate!) was the place to be on Tuesday night. The Attack Theatre’s Dirty Ball held its kick-off happy hour party there, and it was quite a crowd. Sam C. Badger, one of the co-chairs who looked as though he stepped off the set of “Mad Men” in all the right ways, gave me the scoop about this fabulous party to support Attack Theater on April 12.

 

“It’s just the most fun event of the year. You can wear anything, and I mean anything. Less is more, glitter, sequins, superhero costumes...anything you want,” he said.

I filed this away for later, thinking of a mermaid-inspired dress I own that has been dying for a night out.

As I made my way through the crowd, I bumped into one of the co-founders of Attack Theatre, Michele De La Reza. She was an enthusiastic breath of fresh air.

 

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  From Left: Michele De La Reza, Peter Kope, Rebecca Himberger

“This organization prides itself on performance, and so does the Dirty Ball. We make it special because of who we are -- dancers, performers, artists. It truly is a unique event that sells out every year,” she said. “This year we expect more than 1,000 guests.”

The theme of this year’s party is Pirates & Robots, but don’t let that influence what you wear: You don’t need an eyepatch or a parrot on your shoulder! Ms. De La Reza made it clear that she wants everyone’s creativity to shine through in their fashion choices.

So I can’t be the only one wondering why they call it the “Dirty Ball” ...these aren’t necessarily two words that go together. Peter Kope, co-founder, was more than happy to solve this little mystery for me: “We always said that if we were going to have a ball--we were going to have a dirty one,” he said with a naughty glint in his eye.

Other committee members mentioned that this is one of those parties that you definitely want to stay through ‘til the end. “It borderlines debauchery, but in all the right ways,” added Larry Leahy.

 

Are you ready to get down and dirty? Get your tickets now for what promises to be one of the best parties of the year!

For more information check out: http://www.attacktheatre.com/dirtyball

 

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Peas are sprouting, peas are sprouting outside! Here's how I did it.

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog germination peas2There's nothing better than seeing peas sprouting in March. The will be ready to pick in May...of maybe sooner? Photos by Doug Oster

Sometimes it all works out.

When cabin fever raged, I stormed out to the garden on a 64 degree day on March 11th. That's a full week before I would normally plant peas, but I was compelled to garden.

The next night temperatures dropped to eight degrees, but I still felt I had done the right thing by planting pea seeds along with seedlings of spinach, arugula and cilantro.

The greens all survived the cold but I wondered if the peas might rot in the cool, wet soil.

Today they showed signs of sprouting and once they do, the plants can take any amount of cold which is left.

Here's how it did it.

Even though air temperatures were in the 60's, most of the beds were still frozen. I had a few covered with plastic skylights which were in better shape. Still, there was no way to dig in that dirt, I would have destroyed the soil structure.

Being the first customer of the season at Hahn Nursery was quite an honor as I bought four (frozen) bags of compost. They were thawed out in my unheated greenhouse and then applied on top of a bed.

The 'Dwarf Gray Sugar' pea seeds were soaked overnight to help them germinate and then pressed down into the black compost. Then the bed was covered with the skylight to act as a greenhouse.

Here's a video detailing the operation.

This is the earliest I've ever been able to get peas to sprout and I'm thrilled to be back in the garden. You should be planting too! Don't dig yet, add compost and plant things that love cold weather.

blog peas germination3I've got a bunch of these plastic skylights and they work great as season extenders.

blog germination pea1This tiny little pea seed will make lots of tasty spring peas.

 

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Free lawn seminar in North Hills

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog lawn care

A representative from Jonathon Green is visiting Best Feeds Garden Center at 2105 Babcock Blvd. in the North Hills on Thursday 3/20 at 6:30 p.m.

Tim Duffy works for Jonathon Green a company which offers many organic choices for lawn care. He'll discuss  the best way to grow grass in our climate and will answer all your lawn questions. Tim will cover crabgrass control, spring feeding, seeding, over-seeding and more.

The event is free and no registration is required.

Here are all the details.

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