PITTSBURGH – Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County are hosting one of this fall’s first harvest celebrations at the Urban Edible Teaching Garden located at 400 North Lexington Street in the city’s North Point Breeze neighborhood on Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
“Saturday, September 28 is a day to celebrate the garden’s inaugural harvest,” said Philip Bauerle, the Interim Penn State Gardener Coordinator in Pittsburgh. “Many different varieties of crops have been grown, most of them experimental and designed to reap sturdier, healthier crops. Our harvest celebration includes taste testing of different vegetable varieties, sweet treats, and information about the results of our first year and how they will help urban gardeners be more successful.”
Some of the goals in the Urban Edible Teaching Garden this growing season were:
- More heat tolerant lettuce – Regular lettuce doesn’t stand up well to mid-summer heat, turning particularly bitter.
- Higher anti-oxidant tomatoes – The dark purple-black “Indigo Rose” tomato is reported to have higher levels of anti-oxidants.
- Self-pollinating cucumbers – Regular cucumbers need to be pollinated by insects to bear fruit, which makes them vulnerable to the infection. Cucumbers can suffer from bacterial wilt, which is transported from plant to plant by the cucumber beetle.
- Straw bale gardening – Planting vegetables directly into a straw bale has many advantages. It’s a low cost materials compared to soil; it retains water well; and, it elevates vegetables, thereby gardening enthusiasts who cannot flex enough to work on the ground.
- Growing amaranth – A pseudo-grain crop, amaranth is commonly eaten like a grain. This gluten free product is considered a crop of the future as it is easily harvested and is a good source of protein.
- Container-grown vegetables – Containers are a convenient way to grow crops in spaces that typically can’t support plants. A variety of corn that Burpee released this year is particularly promising.
The Urban Edible Teaching Garden is an educational project planned and nurtured by the Penn State Master Gardeners. The garden is supported by a grant from the Sprout Fund.
Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County is a program of the Penn State extension system. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 enabled the establishment of Penn State as one of the nation’s first and Pennsylvania’s only land grant institutions. Penn State’s land grant mission of teaching, research, and service is delivered to the residents of Allegheny County and Pennsylvania through the Penn State Extension program.
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