Vegetable Gardening 101 and Container Gardening Workshops

Vegetable Gardening 101 and Container Gardening Workshops –

We need your ideas!

Square Foot Garden

Square Foot Vegetable Garden

Want to grow vegetables? Trying to avoid repeating a previous veggie disaster?  Learn the basics using Square Foot Vegetable Gardening in a 4 by 4 foot space.

No Backyard? Learn to grow vegetables in pots on your balcony, deck or steps.  Learn about all kinds of containers, including how to make and use a Self Watering Container.

Local Master Gardeners are coming to Rodef Shalom Congregation to share gardening expertise with you!

  • Doug Oster, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Backyard Gardener.
  • Nancy Knauss, a consumer horticulture educator at the Penn State Cooperative Extension.
  • Carol Brand, a retired Pediatrician and gardening educator. 

Ideas Wanted!

What workshops or programs would you attend?  The Edible Garden at Rodef Shalom needs your suggestions for topics related to gardening, permaculture, healthy and sustainable food choices, cooking, etc.

Please post your ideas here in the comments section!  

Save the dates!

  • Monday, May 23rd 7pm- Carol Brand, Vegetable Gardening 101
  • Saturday, June 4th 5:30pm- Carol Brand, Container Gardening
  • Friday, June 10th 6pm- Doug Oster (Topic needed!)
  • Monday, June 27th- Nancy Knauss (Topic needed!)

All are welcome!  Sponsored by Life Long Jewish Learning at Rodef Shalom Congregation.


Celebrating Earth Day – Go Green with Recycled Newspaper Seedling Pots, CSA and More

It may be too early to plant vegetables and fruits outside, but it’s the perfect time to plant seedlings indoors.  A few weeks ago, children at Rodef Shalom Congregation started tomatoes, carrots, chives, lima beans, parsley, squash, peas, snapdragons and pansies from seeds for The Edible Garden.

The Rodef Shalom Preschool kids planted their seeds in biodegradable seedling trays. 

Rodef Shalom Preschool Seedlings

The older kids in the Rodef Shalom Religious School made seedling pots out of recycled newspaper then planted their seeds. 

Edible Garden Seedlings in Recycled Paper Pots

Making recycled newspaper pots is fun, easy and a perfect Earth Day project for the entire family!  Use only black & white newspaper because the ink is soy-based and not toxic for growing edibles.

Check out this how-to video for Newspaper Seedling Pot Instructions.

Becoming earth friendly can be a family affair!  Do you need a little kid-friendly and eco-friendly inspiration?  Here are some wonderful ideas:

Before you put household items in the recycle bin, take a look at these ideas to reuse these items in your garden.

Here’s an idea to save for later when your garden is grown – recycle your edible plants and make a beautiful Edible Bouquet.  This idea, and others ways to recycle your edible plants, are highlighted on the blog:  Eat Drink Better.

Edible Bouquet

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

One last idea – Participate in Community Supported Agriculture at Rodef Shalom!

Shop for local, organic food delivered directly to Rodef Shalom Congregation from Isadore Foods. Order vegetables, fruits, free-range chicken and eggs, meats, and dairy products from family-owned farms in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Weekly and bi-weekly subscriptions, as well as a la carte items, are available. Pick up your order on Thursdays at Rodef Shalom from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Orders are packed in easy-to-carry bags. Click here to learn more about Community Supported Agriculture. 


Become a new customer by clicking “join” and filling out the registration form.

Add items you want to buy to the online shopping cart.

For 10% off your first order, use code “postcard.”

Check out by choosing the Rodef Shalom pickup location and entering your payment information.

After you place your order, you will receive a confirmation email with your delivery date, time, and location.

Questions? Call (412) 400-4721.  


How are you celebrating Earth Day? Please share your ideas!

Composting with Kids


kids composting

Help your kids develop their green thumb by teaching them to compost.  Composting is a fun family project that’s easy to do and great for the environment. Teach your tykes how simple it is to recycle waste and turn it into nutritious soil for your yard or plants. The micro-organisms that make the compost, need an even mixture of “greens” and “browns”. They also need water and air for a perfect compost formula. Here’s the compost recipe:

One part “brown” (dead dried plants – they provide the carbon): dried leaves, pine needles, straw, hay, wood shavings or chips.

One part “green” (fresh living plants – they provide the nitrogen): grass clippings, vegetable and fruit leftovers, plants, coffee grounds.

Place layers of brown, green, brown, green, brown into the composting bin, being sure to add water after every layer – make sure that the compost is always moist so the microorganisms can do their job. Stir every 3-4 weeks and voila… nutritious, rich soil!

A couple of composting no-no’s: NO meats, dairy, oil, fats, diseased plants or pet droppings!

Compost Stew

A great book to read is, “Compost Stew” written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff  “Apple cores, bananas bruised, coffee grounds with filters used.  Just add to the pot, and let it all rot into compost stew!”

Repost via our friends –eco ike: March 2011.

Follow eco ike on facebooktwitter!

Vermicomposting for Kids at Rodef Shalom Preschool

Rodef Shalom Preschool Worm Composting Workshop

The students, parents and teachers at Rodef Shalom Preschool gathered around Ms. Nancy from the Pennsylvania Resources Council to learn about composting with worms.

What goes in a worm composting bin?


We all learned what goes in a worm bin and what doesn’t.  No citrus please!


Tearing newspaper for the worm composting bin


Time to make our own worm bin for the preschool!  First tear newspaper into strips and put them in the bin.  Then wet the paper until it is moist but not too wet. Hide food for the worms at the bottom of the bin under the paper.  How about a banana peel?  Ok, now let’s add the worms!

Kids looking at worms


The worms, “red wigglers”, are not native to Pittsburgh so please don’t release them into our environment.  Of course we had to test the wiggle power of the worms!

Kids holding worms



Come visit the Rodef Shalom Preschool and check out the worms!







Container Gardening Ideas for Fresh Food

Edible Container Garden

How can you grow fresh food and beautiful gardens in small spaces?

Let’s say that you love to garden and the thought of growing your own food appeals to you. Perhaps you also think that you don’t have enough space or that you physically can no longer get down and dig in the dirt, well there is a solution, how about a container garden?

HGTV Container Garden

Growing plants, both edible and otherwise, as well as fruits and nuts is possible for most individuals. All it takes is a few containers and some ingenuity. Planting containers can occupy small balconies, even smaller ones can rest comfortably on windowsills. Container gardens enable those restricted by space, physical disabilities, and location to be be successful in creating their own gardens.

With a container garden, you can offer your plants optimal soil conditions as well as move the containers according to their sunlight needs. It is also a great way for kids to get involved in the education of growing their own food as well as a way to encourage responsibly.

Container Gardening with Kids

Vegetable Garden on a Deck

Are you interested in starting a container garden? Keep an eye on the Rodef Shalom Congregation website for a two workshops: “Vegetable Gardening 101” and “Growing Vegetables in Containers”.

Until then, here are a few resources to get you started:

Happy gardening !!!!