Free computer recycling event in Shadyside on August 16

Electronics Recycling










Securely recycle your old computers next Saturday, August 16, when  Commonwealth Computer Recycling will be providing on-site hard drive destruction and recycling services from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside.

The following computer components will be accepted for free at this event:
— Desktop, laptops, tablets, servers, hard drives (on-site data destruction will be offered for $10 per hard drive)
— LCD monitors
— Cell phones, Ipods, MP3 players, etc
— Computer Peripherals include keyboards, mice, printers (< 50lbs), power supplies, motherboards / circuit Boards, cables, UPS batteries & backup systems, power supplies, memory, hard drives, computer fans, routers, switches, wireless routers, access points, bridges, firewalls, cabling, modems, KVM switches
— Phones, phone systems
— AC Adapter & wiring

The following items will be accepted for a $10 DISPOSAL FEE:
— CRT monitors
— Audio/video equipment
— Radio, receivers, amplifiers, tuners, equalizers, tape decks
— VCR, DVD & Blue Ray Players
— Wooden speakers
— Consumer/household goods
— Sweepers, hair dryers, toasters, blenders, coffee makers, microwaves and other consumer electronics

The following items will BE ACCEPTED for an additional charge (space permitting):
— Televisions

The following items will NOT BE ACCEPTED:
Universal Waste
— Alkaline batteries
— Light bulbs

Freon containing appliances
— Air conditioners
— Dehumidifiers
— Refrigerators

Calvary Episcopal Church is located at 315 Shady Ave in Pittsburgh.  CCR is Department of Environmental Protection permitted and an R2 certified Responsible Recycler.

Portion of proceeds benefit Calvary Episcopal Church.  Click here for more information.

Tour de Trees: take a bike ride along the riverside with Tree Pittsburgh!



Tree Pittsburgh is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the City’s vitality by restoring and protecting City trees.  They’re also the organization that brought the goats to Polish Hill last month, as part of a long-term project to restore the trees on the hillside at West Penn Park.

Not only is this a great project, it isn’t costing Polish Hill anything — Tree Pittsburgh is doing this sort of work all over Pittsburgh.  Their mission is “… to be a leader in creating a healthy, attractive and safe urban forest by inspiring and engaging citizens to maintain, plant and protect trees. Taking care of our trees will improve our quality of life by maximizing the substantial environmental, social and economic benefits that trees provide.”

Tree Pittsburgh’s Tour de Trees is a fundraiser to help them continue this work.  For individuals or families who like biking and are interested in the riverfront ecosystem of our city, this would be a fun thing to do — and it will help support an organization that’s doing things for Polish Hill and Pittsburgh.

Find out more about Tour De Trees, or register.


Volunteer opportunity: learn the skills to help clear illegal dump sites

Interested in a volunteering opportunity that gets you outside and provides a workout?   Allegheny Cleanways’ Dumpbusters program has cleared illegal dumpsites all over the city (including in Polish Hill), and they are always looking for more volunteers.  This is hard physical work, often on steep hillsides, and it requires some training and experience.

Urban EcoStewards, a partnership of several organizations, is offering a classroom workshop Saturday at REI, 412 S. 27th St., South Side, will be followed March 8 by a field practicum at a site still to be determined.  Trainees will learn how to assess a site, plan a strategy and organize a team to clear it.  This sort of preparation is necessary for the difficult work of removing large and often very heavy objects out of ravines.  Both the workshop and the field practice are free, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  To register, visit

For more information about the program and the problem of illegal dumping in Pittsburgh, read this article by Diana Nelson-Jones in the Post-Gazette.

Grow Pittsburgh’s vegetable gardening course is back for 2014



Who says that gardeners have the winter off?  Once the gardens have been put to bed for the winter, it’s time to study and plan next year’s growing season.  For those who are new to vegetable gardening and hope to start next year, this is a great time to learn.  Grow Pittsburgh has just announced the 2014 dates for its Garden Primer course, which covers all the basics, including which tools beginner gardeners will need, what and where to plant, and when to harvest.  In addition, those taking part in the course will be given step-by-step instruction on everything from starting a compost to properly transplanting seedlings.  All classes will take place at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church and will run from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

The class will be offered three times:
On Tuesdays:
February 11, 18 & 25  OR    March 4, 11 & 18

On Thursdays:
April 3, 10 & 24 (note: there is no class on April 17th)

The cost is $60 ($50 for Grow Pittsburgh Members)and includes a detailed resource manual and some light snacks.  To secure your place in a class and make your payment online visit and select from either the February, March, or April sessions.  Payments can also be made by sending a check to Grow Pittsburgh at 6587 Hamilton Avenue, #2W, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.  A limited number of scholarships and childcare are available.  Please email or call the office at 412-362-4769 for more details.

Garden End-of-Season Checklist from Grow Pittsburgh


Now that the cold weather is upon us, it’s time to start preparing our gardens for winter.  Put your garden to bed with this handy checklist courtesy of Grow Pittsburgh’s City Growers program.

 Garden Area
— Frost: A windless, cold, clear night usually means a killing frost. If one is coming, protect vulnerable plants.
— Annuals: Feed any crops that will be left in the ground for over-wintering; pull out and add non-diseased plants to the compost pile (put diseased plants in the trash). Dead material can harbor disease or pests if left in the garden plot overwinter.
— Soil: Apply soil amendments and compost to the garden area.
— Mulch: Strawberries and overwintering annuals get two inches. For fall planted perennials, spread a thin layer of mulch at planting, and then a thicker layer once the ground has frozen. Mulch bare beds with leaves, cardboard, straw, or burlap.
— Perennials: dig up, divide, and move to a new area of the garden. Plant new or replacement perennials. Pot up anything that won’t survive the winter (rosemary, for example).
— Asparagus: Cut the tops off and add a winter dressing of aged manure to the bed
— Raspberries: Cut back old growth, secure canes to stakes to protect them from wind whipping
— Trees and shrubs: stop fertilizing to allow this year’s growth to harden off before winter. Fall planting encourages good root development, allowing the plants to get established before spring. If weather is dry, provide water up until the ground freezes.
— Compost: Turn as often as possible to get it hot before winter settles in.
— Take down any hanging planters

–Inventory tools, clean, sharpen, and oil before storing for winter; repair broken tools
–Lawnmowers and weedwackers: after last mowing, run machines out of fuel and store in a dry place.

 Water System
— Hoses: drain and put them away so they don’t freeze and burst
— Rain barrels: drain all rain barrels and store (in shed or upside down and secured so they don’t blow around). Reconnect disconnected downspouts.

 Planning and Organization
–Map the different crops and their locations to refer to when planning for next year.
–Mark your perennials with permanent tags so you’ll know where and what they are when they die back at the end of the season.

For more great winterizing tips, check out the Urban Harvester, a weekly gardening blog written by Grow Pittsburgh’s Susanna Meyers.

(Photo of the Wiggins garden by Leslie Clague)

Get your garden ready for winter: free workshop on Oct 17

Grow Pittsburgh just announced a new workshop:  Putting the Garden to Bed.  It’s time to get your garden ready for winter.  If you aren’t sure what needs to be done, stop by this workshop hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County for helpful tips and tricks to make sure your garden is ready for next spring.  The workshop will be presented by Heather Mikulas at their Edible Teaching Garden.

The workshop will take place on Thursday, October 17 from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. at 400 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh.  To register, email or call 412.441.4442 x 3925.

And here’s more information about getting your garden ready for winter from The Daily Green, Gardening Know-How, and the National Gardening Association.

(Above:  the Harmar garden in the winter.  Photo by Leslie Clague for the PHCA.)

Join Allegheny cleanways on September 21 and help clean up the riverbanks of the Allegheny

Join Allegheny CleanWays for the annual International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 21st from 9 am – 12 pm.  This year’s cleanup will be on the riverbanks of the Allegheny River near the 40th street bridge.  Volunteers should wear long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots and meet in the parking lot underneath the bridge.

Allegheny CleanWays will supply all equipment and supplies as well as food and refreshments after the cleanup. Check out the Allegheny CleanWays website for more information.

(Above:  the 2012 cleanup, on the Allegheny River around Millvale.  Photo courtesy of Allegheny CleanWays.)

What's going on at West Penn Park? It's the City's Edible Gardens program!

Last week, the PHCA Green Team and a crew from the Department of Public Works installed raised beds at West Penn Park.  The beds are a part of the City of Pittsburgh new Edible Gardens Program, an expansion of the Green Up Pittsburgh program.  In partnership with the servePGH initiative and the City’s Department of Public Works, Edible Gardens across Pittsburgh will harvest and distribute nearly one ton of produce to at least 200 families in its first year.  Partially funded by a $100,000 Cities of Service volunteering grant by Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Mayor’s servePGH initiative, $44,000 is being dedicated to planting 10-15 high-yielding vegetable and fruit gardens.

Below, the DPW crew building the raised planting beds.

Once a vacant property location is selected, volunteers work side by side with the City’s Green Team to create, design and plant produce. Community garden stewards will be responsible for maintenance, weeding, harvesting and distribution throughout the season.

(Photos by Myra Falisz for the PHCA)