Monthly Archives: July 2011

Beautiful Burgh Summer


 Greetings followers!

Its been an amazing journey in July with high temps, electrifying thunderstorms, sunshine tanning our skin and growing our plants up tall. The farm feels amazing – like you have stepped out of the City of Pgh and into a grotto of earthly delights – big flapping butterflies, crickets chirping, bees buzzing, flowers in blooms, grass soft under your feet, apples growing, berries sweetening! Oh we are certainly relishing in the summer months knowing here that soon enough we will cycle back through to our winter cold!

We are having an entire weekend of volunteer opportunity at Healcrest. Join us on Saturday or Sunday (July 30-31st) from 9am-12noon for general garden work. We are re-seeding some raised beds and the greenhouse, harvesting medicinal herbs and general garden bed maintenance. Its an easy three hours and we finish in time for trips to pool or finding cool rest in a shady spot.

Here is the RSVP form….please complete if you think there is a STRONG POSSIBILITY you will be coming this weekend!

For those interested permaculture, biodynamic farming and general eco-spaces, Healcrest is beginning to define itself as a Food Forest and a permaculture site. We have always been apt to allow nature to work its magic-  keeping tree lines growing, incorporating wild, northeast herbs into food beds and pairing fruit & nut trees with the general landscape. We are not your traditional raised beds, straight rows, bare spaces – we are an ecosystem in the city, a place of green life.  That said, we invite nature enthusiasts to visit us and share in the development of our natural resources.

Here is a link to the Permaculture Institute. They give a great description of Permaculture Food Forests and you can get a better sense of what we work towards here everyday at Healcrest.

http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/Permaculture-Food-Forest/

In fact, here is a list they generated for plants in the permaculture food forest garden. I starred off what we have here at Healcrest:

Daylilies        **                                 Lemon Balm Melissa    **

Alfalfa                                                  Egyptian onion         ** (we have a heirloom German variety)

Walking onion **                            Chives  **

Strawberry   **                                Raspberry  **

Red  Clover  **                                 Stinging nettle **

Clary Sage                                          Garden Sage  **

Purple Sage  **                                 Rhubarb **

Hairy Vetch **                                 Ox eye Daisy (Black-eyed Susans & Garden white daisies) **

Oregano  **                                        Siberian Pea Shrub

False Indigo Bush                            Lovage **

Mullein **                                           Valerian

Echinacea **                                     Lavender **

Yarrow **                                          Anise (Chocolate, Mountain & Spear) Mint

Cherry (shrub and tree)               Pears, Plums, and Peach trees **

Apple **                                             Apricot

Mulberry, black  **                       Hops, kiwi vines

Grapes (wild and cultivated) **

Black Walnut **                              Blackberry brambles

As you can see, we are well on our way to permaculture, biodynamic, conservation space. Healcrest must continue to grow and develop as the City of PIttsburgh grows and develops. As houses go up around us, and young people fight the economic slump and stay in this great city- preserving an active, natural and healing green space will be asset to not only property values, but to the health & wellness of community. This is our mission. We are working to be a part of economic & community growth – not an opposition to it.  Read on fans & followers, support and grow with us!

Of course, fans, some pics….for inspiration….we hope we see you tomorrow or Sunday!

The berry/herb garden...lavender, rasberries, blackberries, sage, Greek oregano...

 

Volunteer at work w/ greenhouse in the distance

 

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Filed under Gardening, local food, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Urban Farming

Fresh Fare


We are starting to see a real abundance here at Healcrest. The greenhouse has produced deliciously sweet and crisp green peas, a lovely arugula and mesclun lettuce mix, dinosaur kale (that has now become kale chips) and really good-sized red beets, italian flat parsley and genovese basil – yum. With these beauties you can make an amazing pesto, blanched and seasoned kale (or the kale chips), steam beets or borscht and have an amazing salad on the side.

Lavender/Echinacea/Sage

My little helper has been doing an amazing job on our rasberry bushes. He has learned to pick the big red ripe ones and fill his belly. And when he tires of that, he finds the bucket I am dropping my picks into, and I find 1/4 of the bucket gone! Amazing he hasn’t turned into a rasberry by now!

So the farm at this time is a ton of work. The rain/sun combo makes it a lush jungle here  – hard to believe we are smack in the east end of a major metro area. But with years now of planting herb and food seeds, we get enormous growth. Everything from bamboo, to mugwort, roses, chaste-tree, comfrey, columbines, apple trees, grapevines, mullein, bee balms, oak and maples, mulberry trees, blackberry vines – well we are in abundance but often fighting back the growth! The birds are in abundance, we see hawks and falcons, we have ground animals to keep out, snakes, worms, bunnies and deer. It was my dream to make this place a haven of nature, a sanctuary in the midst of the city. It is becoming that each year!

I am in great need of an arborist. So if anyone out there knows or is one, willing to donate some time to our urban farming endeavors – please contact us here by making a comment – or through our website – www.healcrest.com. We have an old apple tree that needs

Kale, basil, parsley

some major love and by the time it stops fruiting, I want to be prepared to give a major trim. We have new baby apple trees sprouting and our older-timer needs to share some space (and produce on some lower limbs – so we can actually reach the apples!!!)

So here are some great pics of our produce and other joyous times on the farm. Tomatoes, squash, okra, beets, asparagus, peppers are all following soon (you should see them in the late July/August post)

Like always, families, gardeners, and fellow Pgh neighbors are welcome to volunteer! Subscribe to this blog and you will get that automatic inspiration!

Any WWOOFers out there as well who want to rough it in Pgh – we have plenty of flat space for camping and could use the helping hands.

Aba & I are working on the garden fence!

 

Peas are yummy!

Organic rasberries fresh from the urban farm!

Raw Kale chips - crisp from the dehydrator!

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Filed under Gardening, local food, organic farming, organic gardening, Pittsburgh, Urban Farming