Tag Archives: greenhouse

Spring Has Sprung at Healcrest Urban Farm!


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Whew! Spring has sprung and we are seeing the evidence of that all over the farm!

The daffodils are in full bloom, the forsythia has one whole garden in a wash of yellow, the hawthorns are budding out the cutest little leaves, and our perennials are coming back from the intense winter hibernation we were all in.

046Meg and Michelle have been busy tilling the ground in several gardens to get beds ready for the hundreds of plants we have started inside.  Many herblings are more delicate than vegetable starts so we’ll wait till after the last frost to plant outside.

IMG_2791We are orienting garden beds differently this year in one garden and are breaking ground the what we used to call “the knotweed field”.  Although it does have medicinal qualities: the knotweed root contains high amounts of resveratrol- the feel good chemical in red wine, we are striving to eradicate our pristine piece of land from this invasive creature.  Slowly, but surely.

IMG_2789Suzy has built a rain barrel system to catch rainwater off the roof of our shed so that we can water everything grown on the farm with water collected from the farm.

 

 

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As usual, the chickens have the run of a garden during the day to dust bathe and sun themselves.

 

We will post soon about upcoming classes and volunteer days!  Here’s to spring!

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Filed under Gardening, organic farming, organic gardening, Sustainable Living, Urban Farming

Volunteer at the Farm


Volunteer at the Farm

Join us for local beer, wine, pizza & Teapops!!

Volunteer Days at the Farm
Come enjoy some of our local favorites, Spak Bros. Pizza, and Growlers of East End Brew, in our lovely gardens!

SUNS 4-7pm 7/14, 7/21, 8/4, 8/25 and
WEDS 5-7:30pm 7/17, 8/14, 8/28

Bring water to drink, wear clothes to get dirty in, and we suggest covered shoes

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July 11, 2013 · 12:55 pm

Orchards and Flowers Budding::Happy Earth Day


Orchards and Flowers Budding::Happy Earth Day

Healcrest is literally Springing to Life! Thanks to help of dedicated helping hands who love getting their hands a little dirty and tending to the soil and plants.

Buds, Bees, Birds, Blossoms! We’re lovin’ life, enjoying the spring showers of rain, help, motivation, creativity, and abundance! More Here http://www.healcresturbanfarm.com/

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April 22, 2013 · 7:06 pm

Gettin’ Organized!!


Gettin' Organized!!

We have a great crew this season! It is wonderful to have several dedicated and miipassioned interns and partners.

Our little collective is getting a lot accomplished and getting everything ready for an abundant 2013!

WELCOME Cat, Rachel, Michelle, Meg, Dana, Natalya, Buggy, and welcome back Jen and John for another great season!

With even more people contacting us with interest, we are excited for this new surge in energy…synergy!

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April 8, 2013 · 10:36 pm

ANNOUNCING! The Healcrest Urban Farm Tea-pop Shop!


ANNOUNCING! The Healcrest Tea-pop Shop!

ImageLast year Maria Graziani had an inspired idea, what if we combine tea, herbs, fruit, berries, and delicious sweetness in a frozen treat. After some tasty and not-so tasty experimentation Healcrest tea-pops were created. With growing interest in healthy treats, artisanal food, and locally grown produce, things we love in great quantities at Healcrest, we thought what a wonderful novelty item for Pittsburghers to enjoy this coming summer.

Well, WE DID IT!

ImageWe are ecstatic and elated to announce the arrival of the Healcrest Urban Farm cold-plate push cart! With the help from friends and supporters at Awesome Pittsburgh, CatapultPGH and KivaZip Micro-Lending, we made the BIG acquisition. You will recognize it as your standard ice cream or Italian ice cart, locate us by umbrella at your favorite event!

Try all of our seasonal flavors!

Please follow more of this story and watch Healcrest in the NEWS on Pittsburgh’s KDKA and in The Bloomfield-Garfield Bulletin

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

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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Moving forward


A beautiful late spring afternoon -warm thunderstorms and sunshine to encourage plantlings to grow and grow, and encouraging us to grow and grow in heart and mind. Almost to frost date here in Pittsburgh, so working daily preparing for planting. Resident farmer Ras Maisha Green has been so fruitful in blessing up the farm with his artwork. Here is a shot of him shining the image of his Majesty, Jah Rastafari, the Lion of Judah!, on the shed… and words of prayer and peace amongst our labors….

The greenhouse is in full swing, check out the plantlings – it was an adventurous day yesterday taking them from the science classroom at Fort Pitt and transporting 30 flats to Healcrest…all with babe on my back – look I tuckered him out that beautiful Binghi child.

I assembled myself the 80 gallon compost tumbler – we got it to provide direct incentive for volunteers and farmers to bring in their compost scraps and turn that tumbler, then we can generate compost more quickly. We will still do large piles with hopefully soon, scraps from market produce and coffee grounds, but for now we want to make sure WE are composting. Huh! By the way, the directions said, requires 2 people, and this mama here did it all by herself! She learned it from a Binghi man with building skills.

So as the rain comes down we are connecting with our blog followers to remind anyone interested to join us in this amazing process. Volunteers can committ 2 hours per week to get vegetables in return and your time will help feed hundreds of people. We will offering Farmers Market Nutrition program (FMNP) for WIC mothers and seniors and we hope to be at the East Liberty Farmers Market and hopefully the Pgh Public Market if we think produce is going to be sufficient. Help us out and we know it will!!

One Love People, always one beautiful peaceful fruitful Love

Jah Lives!

Nyabinghi Lion and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                one of his little cubs                                                                                                                                                                                                                   standing tall on the Farm!

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Greenhouse


We are starting our seedlings in the indoor, mini greenhouse at Fort Pitt Elementary. We are looking forward to a partnership with Garfield Community Farm in working with the students. Healcrest has designed a basic curriculum support for the Fort Pitt teachers and John, Kelly (Garfield Farms) and myself will be caring for the plants and supporting the teachers, where needed.

We will be growing food centered around the Caribbean, Africa, Mediterranean and Asia and the list will include:

Okra, Calaloo, Purple Carrots, Asian Cabbage, Jalapeno’s, Mountain Pepper, Long Peppers, Tomatoes of several heirloom varieties, Collard, Kale, Onions, Fennel, Asparagus, green beans,

We also will be growing our culinary herbs:

Sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, horseradish, spearmint, peppermint

And don’t forget the medicinals………….

lavender, mugwort, motherwort, bee balm, lemon balm, calendula, netttles, rasberry and blackberry leaf, red clover, red roses, nightshades, borage, hydrangea and some others I cant think of right now!!!

Finally – never finally but for now…….

We are planting an orchard this year so please come volunteer and help us out with our new apple and plum trees, grape vine, strawberry plants

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A new season, A new beginning


Healcrest Farm has been growing food and building relationships with our community since 2005!!!! It has not always been an easy road, developing those relationships. I have met many different people, of many different walks of life – from elders who grew up in the deep south and have lived most of their lives around fresh food, to youth who would rather throw an apple at their peers than eat it.
I have seen over 60 youth at the Farm in our summer internships and worked with 3 public schools in greenhouse educational programs. I am humbled at the progress that has been made in this small site tucked away on a hilltop in Pittsburgh.

I and this Farm might not be everything to everyone and often Healcrest UF falls short of being the local food source or the community-food educators or the neighbor we strive to be, but we never give up trying. Always with empathy to our neighbors unique experiences, to racial and social tensions, to all the things that oppress and strangle our communities and hold at arm’s length those things in Jah’s great earth that are LIFE. We press on.

Here is a small photo series of our times and growth so far. Enjoy!

Circa 2004

Land b4 the Farm, 2004

Building the garden beds

Summer Inters Building the Shed, 2008

Students at the greenhouse

Youth hard-at-work planting in the spring

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