Workshops and Programming

Special guest shadyside worms

This is a lovely article about our trip to Allentown to teach some kids in an afterschool program about composting and worms, check it out!

The Brashear Kids

If you are looking to set up workshops for your organization or business this spring or summer, send us an e-mail and we can get started planning!

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Turn your food scraps into fertilizer!

If you’re one of the many people that would like to compost, but don’t have a yard or the proper space, you finally have a way to do it! Our residential composting program, the Curbside Compost Exchange, is designed just like your recycle pickup, except we take your food scraps and return fertilizer that you can use to enrich your soil, or donate to a local community garden or urban farm program.

A big THANK YOU to my good friend Brent Riley, owner of Access Media Labs out of Frederick, MD for helping us out with some super awesome stickers for our compost buckets! I’m too excited not to post some pictures. I LOVE ‘EM! ūüėÄ

Our 2 gallon, or 3.5 gallon compost buckets

Our 2 gallon, or 3.5 gallon compost buckets

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Environment and Energy Community Outreach center

EECO center

This past week we have been fortunate enough to teach some composting workshops to a few summer camp groups at the EECO center(Environment and Energy Community Outreach) in Larimer.
It has been so much fun! The kids are learning all about nutrient cycles, composting, and of course WORMS! We even take a trip to Larimer’s community garden to get some hands on work done.
If you would like to have Shadyside Worms teach some workshops on composting or soil science, shoot us an e-mail so we can set up a meeting with you and make great things happen for your community.

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We are all growing!

Please take some time to check out all of the the cool things we have to offer here, from worm bins to our composting program- but more importantly, take some time to go out in nature and enjoy the beautiful ecosystems all around western Pennsylvania! Appalachia is a truly unique place to live in and explore, and this time of year there is nothing more beautiful than the natural composting that feeds our wilderness.






Sometimes we wish we could spend more time out in the wilderness, but this is also a busy time of year for composters with all the urban gardening/farming projects going on. Our apologies if it is hard to reach us, PLEASE keep trying, we value our customers, and hope that as we chug along through our second year, we will be able to make more time for everyone!



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Summer 2014!


We will be selling worm castings for all your plants throughout the summer! Please contact us to see what we have, a lot of our compost goes out to the customers in our compost exchange program, but we do try to make more for others.

Check out the link in the post below to see why fresh worm castings make the best seed starter medium. Don’t be fooled by sterile packaged soils, buy fresh nutrient rich dirt that is filled with life!

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Why Vermicompost?

I can’t think of a whole lot to add that isn’t already incorporated in the awesome video on Cornell University’s website, so I’ll just go ahead and post it so you can start learning about the benefits of worm castings for fertilizer and for a premium growing medium for your starters next spring. If you sign up for the Curbside Compost Exchange today, you will be eligible for more than enough pure worm castings in the spring to start your seeds in, plus more compost to put in your garden or potted plants. Check out the video!


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Fall Workshops 2013!



Stop in to Shadyside Nursery, or e-mail us at, to register for a Fall Planting/Planning workshop! There will be two workshops in September:

Workshop#1– Learn how to design a successful cold frame for the Western Pennsylvania climate zone, and plant some fall crops as well! We will have some starters for you if you want to get some gardening in before winter. We will also teach you about composting, from food to lawn scraps, and how to prepare your garden for the next season. At the end of the workshop, we will be breaking out the calenders and brainstorming to help you create your own personal gardening calender for the year so you’ll be ready to grow organic foods and decorative plants from seed to harvest.

Saturday Sept. 7th     3:00pm Р4:30pm

Saturday Sept. 14th   3:00pm Р4:30pm    

Workshop #2– Improve your gardening skills by learning how to build a raised bed and incorporate a variety of techniques in square foot design. Gardening in an urban area often requires some good planning depending on what crops you’re growing. As well, we will be discussing what we call “winter hardy” crops. These are things like garlic, horseradish, onions, and other crops that you plant in the fall to harvest the following year. We are going to have some beautiful heirloom garlic, and some cuts of horseradish for you. We will be teaching you some basics in soil science in this workshop, so you will know how and why to test your soil and maintain a healthy organic garden. At the end of the workshop we will be breaking out the calenders and brainstorming with you on how to create your personal gardening calender for the year so you’ll always be a step ahead.

Saturday Sept. 21st    3:00pm Р4:30pm

Saturday Sept. 28th    3:00pm Р4:30pm

Workshops are $10 per person, $15 if you are registered for both. Please e-mail or call us to register, or go to Shadyside Nursery @ 510 Maryland Ave. next to Harris Grill. We will be e-mailing the workshop agendas after you register. Please bring your payment to the workshop you attend.     (412)532-6896

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The months of July and August are a great time to put down some compost tea for your plants while they grow into their last stages of development and production. Compost tea will supplant any nutrients that have been taken up by your plants including potash which is vital to cell membrane health and strength. The beneficial microbes will also help suppress disease, and you will be able to get the most out of your garden and grow well into the fall season.

COMPOST TEA:      $2 per gallon

Come in to Shadyside Nursery and we will fill up a jug for you, or you can buy a 1 pound bag of worm castings, and soak them overnight in 1 gallon of water and then it’s ready to use.

One pound of worm castings in One gallon of water will go a long way to fertilize your plants

One pound of worm castings in One gallon of water will go a long way to fertilize your plants

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Seed Bombs !


Seed Bombing has its roots in guerrilla gardening and proactive environmental protests, but it also shares some history with places like Hawaii and Africa, where seed bombing can be a useful technique for introducing wildlife into landscapes that have been cleared out by volcanoes or wildfire.

The idea is simple. Make a small clump of seed mix by mixing clay, compost, and seeds(preferable native species) and form it into a ball that can be thrown into empty or abandoned lots that suffer from a lack of wildlife. You can toss them over fences, off of bridges, or wherever you want to see a little more flora. The clay helps hold everything together, and the compost provides the base and nutrients for the seeds.

Shadyside Worms was able to provide some worm castings to the Teen Department at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for their seed bomb program. The worm castings were made available by two of our customers in the Compost Exchange program who decided to donate the exchange from their first 3 month subscription. We always encourage people in the compost exchange to donate their castings if they don’t want to use them, and we were more than excited to be a part of the seed bomb making!

Vermicompost in particular works perfectly for seed bombing. The nutrient content allows you to skip using fertilizer, and more importantly, the beneficial bacteria contained in the castings actually help prevent disease in seedlings by warding off harmful spores that invade the seed as they germinate. If you would like to know more about this, check out our link from Cornell University on our previous post, and keep up to date on our blog as we show you our own controlled experiments with growing seeds in vermicompost!

Now go make some seed bombs and lively up your neighborhood or yard. KABOOM!


I can’t wait to see this guy grow real soon. Come on rain…just one more storm…

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Beaver County Times

I was happy to hear from the Beaver County Times when they said they wanted to include me in an article as a part of their environmental series called “Veil of the Valley”. This article, titled “A soiled past, a natural future”, covers the issue of fertilizer run off and it’s effects on the environment.

Growing up in Maryland, fertilizer run off is something I learned about starting in elementary school. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is the largest on the east coast, and even 60 miles away from the water you will see signs above sewage drains saying, “CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED”(probably painted by some school kids on a field trip learning about the environment). Nonpoint source pollution is one of the reasons I got into composting in the first place.

Even though Pittsburgh isn’t in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the effects of fertilizer run off is still seen in the rivers running all the way down in the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally made fertilizer is often seen as a healthy solution because it doesn’t have excess chemicals- even so, the more important issue I like to bring up is the fact that naturally made compost builds healthier soil by increasing important beneficial enzymes and bacteria, that in turn help the soil hold excess nutrients for much longer- extending the life of your yard or potting soils for future seasons.

Along with a farmer from Oak Spring Farms, Shadyside Worms was able to join the conversation about natural fertilizers like our worm compost, as a healthy and sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizers. If you want to know more about it, check out the article below:

Veil of the Valley: A soiled past, a natural future

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