Urban gardening is about to get easier

IKEA, the Swedish master of innovation in affordable home designs, is going to unveil their new hydroponic counter top garden kit next month.

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Here’s an example of a DIY hydroponic garden. flickr photo by J Wynia 

It’s OK, we didn’t know what hydroponic gardening was before this either. Hydroponic means growing plants in water instead of soil. The advantage seems to be that it can be done in a much smaller space—and it can be done year-round! There’s no price yet for IKEA’s KRYDDA/VÄXER, but we are definitely intrigued by the possibilities.

Now, as it turns out, people have hacked other IKEA products into hydroponic gardens long before the company came out with their own. So for anyone interested in an even more DIY option, check out ELIOOO.

Now that we know that hydroponics exists and seems to be fairly simple to DIY, we’re excited to start growing our own veggies, no matter the season, no matter how busy we are, no matter how much space we may or may not have.

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Spring into action with these seasonal events

Spring is in the air in Pittsburgh this week, so we decided it’s time to check out what’s happening in the area. As plants begin blooming, animals begin waking from hibernation and returning from migration, us humans are getting moving too. Here’s what’s going on in Steel City this spring.

Spring events in Pittsburgh
Spring and Easter are just around the corner, and there’s plenty to do all around Pittsburgh as the weather warms up.

Trax Farms

Starting on Monday, the Trax Farms store will be open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. If you’re looking for the perfect wine for your St. Patrick’s day, check out Trax Farms’ Green Apple. For the kids, the annual breakfast and lunch with the Easter Bunny kicks off next weekend and continues through Easter. Tickets for Easter events are $8 and are on sale now. The store will be closed on March 27 for Easter Sunday. On April 23, there will be an Arts and Crafts Show. Also arriving in early April: perennials, shrubs, and trees.

Soergel Orchards

Soergel Orchards has green apple wine for St. Patrick’s day as well. For any aspiring gardeners, there’s a $5 class at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 24 all about cultivating a lush lawn. Their Bunny Festival is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturday, March 26th. Unfortunately their meals with the Easter Bunny are sold out. The festival, however, is free to attend and it features an Easter egg hunt, a scavenger hunt, crafts, and other activities. Plus, you can order your Easter baked goods from their Bakery now. They even offer peanut free and gluten free options.

Kennywood

The 2016 season of Pittsburgh’s amusement park kicks off on Saturday, May 7. Although that’s still a while off, now is the time to look into season tickets. The Ride and Slide pass for $134.99 gives you season access to Kennywood as well as Sandcastle (which opens Saturday, May 28). The $129399 Premium Pass is limited to Kennywood, but it comes with some pretty sweet perks. You can use it to get into the park 15 minutes before it opens, you get 5 parking vouchers, a souvenir cup, 1 VIP coaster tour, and more. Now, if you don’t need all that, a regular season pass is $89.99, and you’ll get a discount when you renew it next year (this year, renewals are $5 less than buying a new season pass). If you’re 55 or older, you can get a Senior Pass for just $54.99. Is a season pass worth it? Well, if you go to the park at least 3 times with your regular season pass, you’ll have saved money. The Park’s diner, Johnny Rockets serves up some seriously good burgers. Plus, Noah’s Ark just got a renovation, so that classic is all shiny and new again this season.

Market Square Farmers Market

Once more farmers markets start announcing their 2016 seasons, we’ll be posting a roundup of all of them. For now, we can confirm that the Market Square Farmers Market is coming back on May 12, along with the Lunchtime Concert Series. It runs through October 27. Keep an eye out for the list of this year’s vendors, set to be announced later this month. This will be the 12th season of the market, and with 30 vendors hawking their fares each week last summer, you can bet this year will be just as, er, fruitful.