top of page

Hazelwood garden and sustainability briefs | The Homepage

Summer harvests and fall prep at Hazelwood’s community gardens: Upcoming events at Hazelwood Community Garden on Monongahela St. planned for Sept. 23 and Oct. 13

By Valerie Testa

In nature, as in all of life, the one constant is change; our local community gardens are no exception.

A garden bed with flowers blooming.
Everybody's Garden at the corner of Lytle and W Elizabeth streets in full bloom. Photo by Valerie Testa

Everybody’s Garden, located on the corner of Lytle and W Elizabeth streets, currently has a variety of flowers and herbs growing as well as perennial vegetables and fruits. Support from neighborhood volunteers and The Mission Continues gave the growing season a great start with an initial garden cleanup. Phipps Homegrown Program generously supplied the garden with herb and flower seedlings as well as hosting workshops to give gardeners the knowledge needed to grow food successfully at home. We look forward to offering more of these programs in the future. The space would not look nearly as good as it does without this support.

A community garden with several raised garden beds.
The Hazelwood Community Gardens on Monongahela Street behind Three Rivers Village School have beds available for the 2024 growing season. Photo by Valerie Testa

Meanwhile at the Hazelwood Community Garden, just behind Three Rivers Village School, our growers are reaping a harvest of tomatoes, peppers, squash and other summertime vegetables (and sharing a bit with our resident groundhog).

The cost to rent a raised bed for the year is only $15. Many of our growers return from year to year, but there are still a few beds available for next year, as well as plenty of opportunity to be involved and enjoy the space even without your own individual bed.

We have a couple of Saturday volunteer opportunities coming up this fall. On Sept. 23 we’ll be planting the remainder of our pollinator perennials, prepping our largest bed for next season’s planting and Phipps will help build another three-part compost bin for the Hazelwood community garden. On Oct. 14 we will be cleaning up the perimeter of the garden, removing larger debris and vines. Events begin at 11 a.m. and we would love to have you!

Speaking of resident wildlife, our pollinators have Ivy Santry and Lena Fritsch to thank for the row of six lovely new pollinator houses which they built for their Girl Scouts Silver Award project. Thanks also to Grow Pittsburgh’s Community Garden Sustainability Fund for their gift of a variety of annual and perennial seedlings which likewise support the pollinators and beautify the space, plus topsoil and wheelbarrows to support the growers.

At the midpoint of my first season as the new manager of the Hazelwood Community Garden and Everybody’s Garden, I remain grateful for the opportunity to steward these spaces. I’m excited to see continued potential realized from the roots set down by former longtime stewards Matt Peters (Hazelwood Community Garden) and Jim McCue (Everybody’s Garden), both of whom are familiar to readers of this paper. The many people who have had the opportunity to enjoy these spaces share my gratitude for the tireless efforts of these community- and environmentally-focused citizens of Hazelwood.

The community gardens are for everyone and there is still so much potential for these spaces. Helping realize it is where you come in. If you want to help to expand on what is already in place at the Hazelwood Community Garden or at Everybody’s Garden, please let me know. I would love to hear from you. Email me at gardens @

Valerie Testa is the Hazelwood Initiative community garden manager. She lives in Hazelwood.


Phipps Homegrown program makes house calls

By Juliet Martinez

Staffer Allison Glick and a summer intern from Phipps Conservatory's Homegrown program visited Kris and Carl DiPietro's vegetable garden on Aug. 9. (Photos by Juliet Martinez)

The program offers regular visits to support members’ gardening efforts. Ms. Glick answered Mr. DiPietro's questions, offer suggestions, and help weed and harvest some of his crops.

Mr. DiPietro asked about moving or expanding his garden beds. Ms. Glick gave him several suggestions based on her in-depth knowledge of the building materials and other considerations. She and the intern also removed several weeds and harvested eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and herbs.

The Phipps Homegrown program supplies residents of Greater Hazelwood with garden beds, clean soil and young plants. and ongoing gardening support for free to residents of Greater Hazelwood. Learn more at


Hazelwood Sylvan Farm and Composting Day

By Juliet Martinez

Six adults stand together in front of a stack of pallets in a wooded area. They are smiling.
Photo by Daniel Little

Local changemakers gathered on Aug. 12 for the involveMINT Hazelwood Sylvan Farm and Composting Day. They worked and learned together about organic gardening and composting. Organizer Dan Little said the event is a prime opportunity for anyone interested in eco-friendly practices to learn and connect with like-minded people. Find out about future events at

Juliet Martinez is the managing editor of The Homepage.


bottom of page