It's time to start thinking about planting — and maybe chickens too

It’s still winter at the moment, but the first official day of Spring is just over a week away, on March 20.  Some avid gardeners are already starting their seedlings indoors and considering new ways to protect their produce from groundhogs and other poachers.

If you’re planning on gardening or growing some of your food this year, a great source of information for urban gardeners is Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture nonprofit.  They are a great resource for information — here’s their Growers Resources guide, with information on soil and compost; seeds and seedlings; watering; pest and disease management.

Grow Pittsburgh also offers classes, workshops, and events for new and veteran gardeners.  Upcoming events include A Garden Primer, which covers all the basics, including which tools beginner gardeners will need, what and where to plant, and when to harvest. The course is held over three evenings; the first session is already past, but the next two are March 18 and March 25.

There’s also a free workshop, Container Veggie Gardening on a Budget, coming up on March 23 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at the Grow Pittsburgh office in Larimer.  Click here for more information or to sign up.

Did you know that the City of Pittsburgh has an urban agricultural zoning code?  If you have 2,000 square feet of more of land (including the footprint of your home), you can keep up to three chickens, and two beehives.  Click here for more information from Grow Pittsburgh

For even more information about keeping chickens in the city, check out Pittsburgh Pro Poultry People, or P4, who feel the current laws are too restrictive and are working for Pittsburgh Urban Farming Code reform.  Their site has a lot of great information, including a collection of old photos showing how livestock was an everyday part of city live in past decades.

Top photo:  a corner of the Wiggins garden — with groundhog trap.  PHCA photo.  Bottom:  some Polish Hill chickens, from the Everything Better Pittsburgh blog.