Print

#SettingTheSEEN: A "Simply Sweet" Day!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

This week's show was so much fun to film. In honor of Women's History Month, Sara and I visited the new headquarters of Simple Sugars in RIDC Park. The company was founded by Lani Lazzari when she was just 11 years old! After an appearance on ABC's "Shark Tank", billionaire (and Pittsburgher) Mark Cuban invested in her company, which now just celebrated its 10th year anniversary. Talk about girl power!

And thank you to ModCloth for dressing Sara and I in Simple Sugars signature color...pink, of course! Check out this week's show to learn all about Simple Sugars and the amazing Lani Lazzari!

 

And until next time...we'll be seeing you!

Follow Natalie on twitter @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci to keep up with #wheresNataliePG

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

St. Patty's Day peas sprout, still time to plant

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog stpats pea sprouts sproutingThis tiny pea seed sat in 16 degree temperatures, but still sprouted a few days later. Hurray for spring peas! Photo by Doug Oster

It's always a risk planting peas on St. Patrick's Day, but one which usually pays off. I was thrilled to see this little pea seed begin to spout. It got very cold after the holiday, down to 16 degrees in my garden, but the peas have started to grow.

It was my grandmother's tradition to start peas on St. Patrick's Day, a tradition I've continued for the many decades I've been gardening.

There's a good feeling seeing the seeds germinate and I know my grandmother is smiling from above.

This is a great time to add some seeds to the garden, it's important to note, most soil is too wet to work right now. The strategy I use is to buy a few bags of compost and dump them on top of a bed. Now there's an instant garden, ready to be planted.

Soak pea seeds overnight before planting, that's the only seed I ever soak before putting in the garden. It helps them sprout when the soil is cool. There are also plenty of other cool weather crops to sow now too. Radishes, lettuce, arugula, beets, parsley, Swiss chard, carrots and more all love cool weather and will thrive once sprouted.

Get out out there and get your hands dirty!

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Tour the Spring Flower Show at Phipps with Doug

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog phipps umbrellasDon't forget to look up in the Palm Court to see these colorful umbrellas. Photos by Doug Oster

There's always something special about the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This year's theme is Spring Showers and it's a spectacular display filled with amazing combinations of flowers and more.

Here's a segment from Pittsburgh Today Live where I tour the show with designer and exhibit coordinator Jordyn Melino. Hang in there until the end, I think you'll enjoy our final "number."

blog phipps tulipsSeeing tulips in full bloom is one of the things that makes the Spring Flower Show special.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Arugula is my garden obsession and the seeds have sprouted!

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog arugula sprouting seedlingArugula sprouts easily inside and then will thrive outside in cold weather. Photos by Doug Oster

blog sprouting arugula adagioMy obsession with arugula began in 2006 on a magical trip to Italy to celebrate 25 years of marriage. Sitting on the patio of a small family run trattoria, my wife and I were served antipasto salad which included fresh rocket. We didn't know what rocket was, but when we discovered it was arugula, a plan was made to grow it in the vegetable garden.

The spicy green has a peppery flavor which seems to be a "love or hate" flavor for most. My family loves it and the garden is planted with nearly a dozen different varieties.

Arugula is one of those plants which doesn't ask much from the gardener. It sprouts happily outside when ready or can be started inside like these seedlings. It's nice to jump start the season and fill a four inch pot with seeds. They sprouted in just a few days on a windowsill and now will grow in an unheated greenhouse until they big enough to be tucked into some good compost out in the garden. Thinnings will be potted up into flats with a few of them sacrificed as a greenhouse snack. They could also be put out in the garden with a little protection, maybe planted under a milk carton with the bottom removed.

Wild arugula is almost a weed and in my opinion the most pungent (in a good way) 'Astro' is very productive and 'Adagio' is a slow bolting variety I'm trying for the first time this season. It has smooth leaves like 'Astro,' but is said to last longer in the garden when things warm up. Like most greens, Arugula thrives in cool weather and then will bolt (go to seed) when it gets hot.

It's the perfect spring and fall crop, but will grow in the summer with a little protection from the afternoon sun. I like to grow it in beds that get morning sun and afternoon shade. Succession planting every few weeks assures greens through the whole season. Plants left in the garden at the end of the season will over winter during a mild winter. If left to go to seed the plants will volunteer readily in the spring.

Every time I find a new variety in a seed catalog, it's ordered, planted, the results noted and compared against favorite varieties.

It's fun to have a garden obsession, every few years I find a new one. Of course I'm the only one who knows the difference between the different types when they are served. The family roles their collective eyes as I pontificate about the virtues of each, that's one way the obsession manifests itself.

Each time I bite into the fresh greens covered in good extra virgin olive oil, I think of the special time I had with my wife sitting outside of that little restaurant.

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

See Doug Saturday at Glade Run Spring Symposium

Written by Doug Oster on .

2015-Save-the-Date-Symposiumimage-663x1024

I'll be one of the keynote speakers on Saturday March 28, 2015 for the 16th Annual Glade Run Spring Symposium. The event is a great way to get charged up for the season and it benefits Glade Run Lutheran Services. The organization provides many types of help and support for children.

I'll be there all day, you can find all the details here- http://gladerun.org/blog/2014/12/30/16th-spring-symposium/

I'm giving a brand new presentation called "Savvy Solutions to Common Garden Mistakes." I'll also be answering garden questions, doing a demonstration on taking cuttings and more.

There will be a great lunch, celebrity waiters a pruning demonstration, silent auction and more.

If you mention my name when registering, you'll get the early bird rate and save $10.

Hope to see you there for a fun day of talking gardening to support a wonderful place.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.