Garden Dreams

I should’ve had my camera with me on Saturday when I went to visit Garden Dreams in Wilkinsburg, because it was tough to believe the thriving garden that was hidden there. Fortunately, Google Maps has streetview for Pittsburgh, so you can get a glimpse of a preview for yourself until such time as I can get back out there and take a couple of photos.

An old Victorian house sits at the corner of Center and Holland. Anyone looking at it can tell that it used to be quite stately; it’s plain to see by the many boarded windows that the building has known better times. The yard behind it is another matter altogether. I’d not hesitate to gamble that it has never known such care and cultivation as it knows now: kale, tomatoes, leeks, fennel, peppers, and more…. and that’s just what they’re growing in their small ‘farm.’ On top of that, there are plants aplenty for the home gardener to purchase and transplant—and expert advice to go with it.

When Aurora and I were buying our tomatoes (two plants that we chose from 80+ varieties in their catalog), we were advised not to be afraid to plant them deeply. We hadn’t even known that most gardeners plant their young plants up to their first set of branches, but the helpful attendant (who recounted his winter spending 80 hours a week caring for seedlings in the basement to get ready for the summer) advised us that if we cared to, we could go even deeper. “When we plant, we use a post hole digger and put them down to about here,” he said, gesturing towards a spot just a few inches below the plant’s top. “They’ll grow roots the whole way down the stem and it gives them a much sturdier base.”

Pittsburgh continues to astound me with the breadth of resources available here—every time I think I have a good handle in what the city has to offer, I discover something ‘new.’ If you’ve been accustomed to getting your plants from the big box retailer, swing by Garden Dreams and experience what a wide selection, knowledgeable help, and attentive customer service are like. Anyone who’s been buying their plants from outside the Co-Op (as Aurora and I have done) should visit to find out where those plants actually come from. Anyone interested in finding out the best way to care for their tomato plants might stop in periodically over the summer and keep track of their experiment in progress: three rows of tomatoes to be staked three different ways: with stakes, with cages, and with a bamboo cone. Really, it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to garden better.

Garden Dreams is located at 810-812 Holland Street in Wilkinsburg; and can be reached by phone at 412-638-3333.

One Response to “Garden Dreams”

  1. Becky Says:

    Thanks for this tip. We drove by it yesterday, and it looked really neat. Alas, we had a sleeping baby in the car and didn’t want to disturb nap time.

    By the way, love your blog. Keep up the good work.

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