Saturday, May 2, 2020

Native Perennials ZOOM with Peter Strom

Get a little guidance on figuring out what native perennials are right for you!

Attend a Zoom chat with horticulturist Peter Strom on Monday, May 4, 7 - 8 PM 
Peter is owner of Strom Horticulture LLC and known for his work at the O'Hara Nature Center in Irvington. He will talk about the plants on native plant plugs bulk buy that is being organized (see list below - more info in blog), what experience he has had growing them, and highlight his favorites for both shade and sun. In addition, there will be time for Q&A.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 811 3656 9762
Password: 693643

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Meeting ID: 811 3656 9762

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

purchase native perennials / order by May 4

For those of you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting in-person yet, I am Dobbs Ferry resident and a native plant enthusiast involved with the Dobbs Ferry Sustainability group.  My wife and I are currently working on a mixed sun/shade native perennial flower bed in our front yard, filling ~180 sq ft with 100+ plants in all. Though plugs are an economical way to plant en mass, it has been difficult to purchase native plugs outside of a wholesale purchase.

Would you be interested in being part of a group buy? If so, please read on. If not, let me know and I will promptly remove you from the distribution list.

This is a shortlist of the plants I'm most interested in: 

Latin Name
Common Name
Soil Moisture
Blue-Eyed Grass
10 - 12 in
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Big Leaf Aster 'Twilight'
30 - 36 in
Partial Sun
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Bluestem Goldenrod
2 - 3 ft
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Calico Penstemon, smooth beard tongue
2 - 3 ft
Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry
Hairy Beardtongue
18 in
Full Sun to Full Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Sweet Goldenrod
2 - 4 ft
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Creeping Phlox 'Emerald Pink'
6 in
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Creeping Phlox 'Emerald Blue'
3 - 4 in 
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Little Blue Stem
2 - 4 ft
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium-Dry, Dry
New England Aster 'Purple Dome'
2 ft
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium-Wet, Medium
Butterfly Milkweed
1 - 3 ft
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Willowleaf Bluestar
2 - 3 ft
Partial Shade to Full Sun
Medium-Wet, Medium
Heath Aster 'Snow Flurry'
6 - 8 in 
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry
Thread Leaf Tickseed 'Zagreb'
12 - 18 in
Full Sun
Medium, Medium-Dry, Dry

If you are interested in other native varieties, feel free browse these wholesaler's sites and/or their associated retailers to get a better idea of what might be available:

I'll purchase a flat of 50 or more plugs once there's a critical mass of committed gardeners for each variety.  In a few cases, potted plant purchases may become a smarter choice for specific varieties, TBD. Shipments will most likely occur between early-May and mid-July to coincide with plant maturity and availability from the wholesaler. For preliminary cost references, Asclepias Tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) is around ~$1.40/plug where as Mertensia Virginica (Virginia bluebells) is around $4.40/plug, not including shipping.

With respect to logistics and social distancing: if we do place an order, I strongly prefer repayment through PAYPAL or VEMNO with cash/check only as a last resort. Plug pickups will be left on our walkway within a prearranged 30-minute window with 30-minute buffers between each pickup, no exceptions. Thank you for your understanding.

What's next?  Email me your variety and quantity commitments as well as any questions you have. Hurry though, I would like to place our first order on or before May 4th!  I will follow up with additional communications with order, shipment, and repayment details as folks sign-up.

(518) 209-5541

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Resources for COVID-19

I wanted to share a resource with you all that can help right now.

A friend and colleague of mine, pediatric neurologist Dr. Maya Shetreat has created a series of video lessons on using food, herbs and supplements to support immunity, lungs and stress levels. It is free of charge, and very well researched. She is also the author of The Dirt Cure, one of my favorite books on children’s health. 

Here’s the link: 

As for me, my part in this pandemic is outside. I’ve got 3 Mount Kisco-based garden projects that are continuing even if schools and child care centers are closed. Being outside, with hands in the soil and faces in the sun seems to be a good place to be. Here’s a good piece about that:

And it is easy to “socially distance” outdoors in big community garden projects.

As our economy collapses from this pandemic, we will need to relocalize and decentralize our food. 

Your nearby food pantry will appreciate freshly grown food in the months ahead.

If you have a sunny spot where you live, consider growing some food. Its easier than you think!

Stay well,

Susan Rubin 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Good night, garden.

We put the garden to bed over the last few weeks. The water is off and the soil is covered with fresh cover crop, compost, chopped vegetation, and/or straw. Only the kale and some of the herbs are hardy enough for the cold weather that has begun. We have a new compost structure that will serve us well. 

It was a great season with many vegetables and herbs harvested for the food pantry and lots of good fellowship in the garden on Saturday mornings. We offered each other advice and encouragement, brainstormed challenges that came up, worked harder while we took turns going on vacation, and enjoyed the bounty of the earth. Working together in this beautiful garden is a real joy, and we invite anyone interested in joining us to stop by the garden some Saturday morning in the spring!

Monday, September 16, 2019

July in the Kitchen Garden

"Things are going great at the garden ... lots of food to donate to the pantry and everything is going wild ... tomatoes, cukes, beans, herbs, etc. with more greens planted for a fall harvest!"  - Iris Hiskey Arno, Roots & Wings Kitchen Garden

This summer we have nine kitchen gardeners hard at work. We’ve provided the food pantry with peas, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, and spices (sage, mint, oregano, dill, and mint) so far. Our tomatoes and tomatillos are beginning to come in, and our spice garden is constantly producing. 

One of our members donated an arched wooden trellis and we are growing cucumbers up and over it. Tomato plants were donated by Farmer Tom of the CSA and seeds and seedlings were donated by kitchen garden members. We have a thriving pollinator garden along the top of the stone wall by the street, outside the garden fence. Here echinacea (pink coneflowers), St. John’s Wort, yarrow, and milkweed not only provide a lovely splash of color but also make a wide variety of native bees very happy. We continue to maintain the pathways with wood chips from trees that were trimmed or cut down around the property—it’s an ongoing battle with crabgrass!

We work hard on our compost, which reflects our belief in permaculture and also nurtures our soil and plants. Unfortunately, the compost structure, which has stood us in good stead for a long time, is getting old and rickety and we hope to replace it soon. Likewise a section of our fence is sagging and overwhelmed by weeds. It provides neither the needed windscreen for young seedlings, nor a good space for vertical gardening. Replacing it is another needed improvement for the garden.

We gather to work together every Saturday morning, roughly from 10-12, and visitors of all ages are welcome to stop by, see what we are doing, and lend a hand if they like.

A shoutout and many thanks to Roots & Wings for this wonderful space!