Washington County Spring Garden Seminar stars Mrs. Know-It All on March 7

Written by Doug Oster on .

DeniseDenise Schreiber is Allegheny County's greenhouse manager and Mrs. Know-It All on The Organic Gardeners Radio Show.The time if right to start thinking about this year's garden and there's no better way than attending the annual Washington County Master Gardener's Spring Gardening Seminar.

This year's keynote speaker is my friend Denise Schreiber, greenhouse manager for Allegheny County Parks and Mrs. Know-It All on The Organic Gardeners Radio show, heard every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio.


Come enjoy Denise Schreiber talk about "The Future of Horticulture and Where We Are" and "Urban Myths and Legends of the Garden. Denise really knows her stuff, is a great speaker and will answer all your garden questions too. She will also have copies of her book, Eat Your Roses.

There will also be workshops being offered, including "Let the Roses do the Work,"  "How to Harvest and Preserve your Herbs," "Make and Take Floral Arrangement," "Crop Rotation in the Home Vegetable Garden," "Cooking Class," "Habitat Gardening," and "Four Season Gardening."

It's only $20! There is an additional $15 fee for the floral arrangement workshop.

The event is March 7, 2015 at the Trinity Middle School 50 Scenic Dr., Washington, PA 15301. All the details are here.


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Nuclear Talks

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Boehner and Netanyahu are both to blame for going behind Obama's back to make political points. I hope it backfires and both Boehner and Netanyahu lose their jobs, but I am guessing that is wishful thinking. 

030115 Nuclear Talks


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Jones' winning plays help RMU complete comeback win

Written by Craig Meyer on .

While he sat on the sideline for back-to-back games in mid-February – one while serving a suspension and another nursing an ankle injury – Lucky Jones had time to think.

With only a handful of games remaining in his final college season, the Robert Morris senior’s often drifted to one subject.

“How could I make winning plays?” he recalled thinking. “How could I make senior plays? How can I just get back to being the best player I can be?”

Those questions will remain unanswered for at least the next few days as the Colonials begin their push for their first NCAA tournament berth since 2010. But in the final game of the regular season, Jones began to paint of picture of how his decorated career may end.

Jones scored 20 points, six of which came in overtime, and made a handful of decisive plays late to help Robert Morris erase a 10-point second half deficit in a 71-70 victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) in overtime at the Sewall Center on Saturday.

The win allowed the Colonials (16-14, 12-6 Northeast Conference) to clinch the No. 2 seed for next week’s conference tournament.

“The only thing I was thinking about was not worrying about how my senior year went on personally, but how could I finish on a great note?” Jones said. “I don’t think I’ve played to my expectations this year and the only thing I kept thinking about was how could I improve?”

Rodney Pryor led Robert Morris with a team-high 22 points, continuing a four-game spurt in which he has averaged 25.5 points per game while shooting 60.7 percent.

Tied at 57 at the end of regulation, Saint Francis started the extra period on a 10-2 run, but Robert Morris found its way back. Four consecutive points from Jones got the Colonials within one point and, from there, freshman Marcquise Reed made a pair of free throws to give them a one-point lead.

“It was like we got hit with those paddles,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said. “We were resuscitated and all of the sudden momentum was on our side.”

With his team down two and only four seconds remaining, Saint Francis’ Greg Brown sunk a running jump shot, but Jones was able to draw a charge to negate the basket. He went to the free throw line and buried two free throws to seal the win.

“It’s one of those things where as a coach you see it one way and the officials saw it as a charge,” Red Flash coach Rob Krimmel said. “I certainly respect those three guys and I thought they did a great job in a hostile environment. Of course, I saw it as a block and an and-one, but they saw it differently. That’s part of the game.”

Though Toole noted that there are certainly more ideal ways of entering the postseason, he was impressed with how his team responded to an adverse situation.

And as the games wind down, he’s hoping his players, even those that aren’t seniors, adopt a similar mindset to the one that Jones has forced himself to carry.

“There are a couple of teams in our league where their seasons finished today and we get to move on,” he said. “The longer you want to continue to play the more focus you have to have and the more urgency and intensity you have to have.”

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Perron on shootouts - 02-28-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

We wrote a story for the main Web site and newspaper for Sunday about the Penguins' futility at shootouts this season (They have a 3-5 record.)

Sometimes, good quotes just can't get used in those stories due to space limitations. This blog post is one of those times.

David Perron (right), one of team's regulars in the shootouts, offered some thoughts earlier today following practice about the shootout.

You practiced shootouts today?

"Today, for a little while, [head coach Mike Johnston] got six [skaters]. We split in two teams of three and we just played it like a real three-versus-three, like a regular shootout. One team has [goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury]. The other has [goaltender Thomas Greiss]. We switched for a second round. We've done that for practice the last few weeks here. And they keep track of who's scoring and which goalie and stuff like that. I think it's is nice because you try to have a good percentage."

Did you practice them much with the Oilers or Blues?

"I think every team kind of has their own way of doing things. Some teams do the whole team but I think it's more for the goalies that they try to cut it down to six players so the goalies don't get too tired doing it like 40 times in total. I think that's the reason behind [only using] six guys. I'm sure if there's a guy they think can be in the group, they'll add him."

Can you scout a goaltender for a shootout?

"I used to look at that stuff. I would make some good moves. But I just like to go down [the ice]. Sometimes, I'll look at the goalie, like the way he warms up before the shootout. Or I'll ask a few guys around. But I think so far with this team, I just kind of went down. I try to have a shot and I try to have a backhand or a forehand move. I try not to complicate it more than that because I think you can score on any goalie with those three moves. So you've just got to pick the right one and do it at the right time. If he poke checks you, you can slide it five hole or something like that. Early on maybe in my career, I would try to do more moves. You go down thinking about it too much what you want to do instead of just letting it happen."

(Photo: Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

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It's time to start seeds! Here's how and some free seeds too

Written by Doug Oster on .



20150225dohomesseeds1Tyler Dixon, greenhouse manager at Soergel Orchards in Franklin Park gets ready to start some 'Tiny Tim' tomato seeds in the greenhouse. Photos by Doug Oster

By Doug Oster Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

20150225dohomesseeds2These lettuce seedlings will go out in the field early in the spring.Sunlight streams through the greenhouse windows at Soergel Home and Garden in Franklin Park as greenhouse manager Tyler Dixon drops small tomato seeds into 72 cell flats. The temperature is in the low 80s,
He fills the flats with a light, organic planting mix from Dr. Earth. After moistening the growing medium, he plunges his fingers “knuckle deep” into the mix to provide a home for the seed, covers them with more mix and then adds a little more water.
The flat is being filled with ‘Tiny Tim’ tomato from Livingston Seed, a diminutive heirloom variety dating back to 1945. The plants only get about 1 foot tall and produce cherry tomatoes all summer long. He’s planning to fill larger containers with ‘Tiny Tim’ for deck or patio growing.
Even though he’s starting some tomatoes now, “the rule of thumb of thumb is to take the average last frost date and count back six to eight weeks,” he says. That means Pittsburghers should start most vegetable and flower seeds anywhere from mid-March to early April. Because every gardener wants the first tomato of the year, a few early varieties can be started soon as well.
One trick Mr. Dixon uses to get seeds to sprout is providing bottom heat. He recommends a flat rubber electric heat mat beneath each flat. Seeds like tomatoes and peppers will germinate much quicker when given warm temperatures.
Mr. Dixon says when the soil is moist and seeds planted, the flat should be covered with plastic so the seeds don’t dry out. Once the seeds sprout, the plastic is removed and the flat is taken off from the heating mat.
Behind him is a large table filled with flats of sprouting lettuce, greens and cole crops like broccoli. They were started weeks ago and will be planted in the garden sooner as a mild frost doesn’t bother them.
Matt Hirsh, greenhouse manager from Chapon’s Greenhouse in Baldwin Borough, grows his vegetable seedlings organically. He keeps them on the cool side after sprouting.
“Once they are up, run them a little bit cooler” -- 50-60 degrees with as much light as possible. Cooler temperatures will keep the plants compact, he added.
Mr. Hirsh recommends a large, south-facing window as a light source, and if that isn’t possible, fluorescent shop lights will keep seedlings happy.
He adds that the seedlings can’t just be planted outside when the weather breaks. They need time to adjust to the fluctuating temperatures, wind and other variables spring has to offer. “Slowly get the plants used to the outdoor conditions, gradually put them out in a partially shaded area and then get them used to the sun,” he said.
The techniques for vegetables works well for most flowers, too. Some smaller seeds that need light to germinate are surface sowed. The seeds are sprinkled on to a planting mix, pushed into the growing medium and then sprayed with a little water. The flat is covered with plastic and placed under lights until germination.
For bigger flower seeds like nasturtiums or black-eyed susan vine, Mr. Hirsh soaks them in water overnight to speed sprouting.
Both greenhouse managers agree that starting from seed gives gardeners many more options in what they grow; they’re not limited to the seedling varieties at garden centers.
“Many gardeners enjoy growing plants that are unique. Sometimes the only way they can do that is starting from seed,” Mr. Hirsh said.

Since 2000, I have been giving away seeds of ‘Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top,’ a great Pittsburgh heirloom tomato. All I ask is that gardeners send back seeds from their ’Potato Top’ tomatoes at the end of the season to keep the project going. For more information, check my garden blog at the end of this column.
To get a small packet (approximately five seeds), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Doug Oster, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. The seeds come with instructions for planting and saving the seeds. Be patient: The seeds will be sent out soon as the orders are processed.


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