Container Herb Gardening With Seasons on the Hudson

I recently visited Seasons on the Hudson in Irvington, NY to participate in a container herb gardening workshop hosted by Gerald Palumbo, owner of Seasons on the Hudson and Seasons, A Floral Studio in Manhattan.

Container herb gardening is easier than I thought. These lovely little eco-systems can be customized to your palate. Love Italian cuisine? Basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary are the herbs for you. These little gardens are convenient and beautiful. Notice how Gerald liked to alternate tall and squat herbs so the containers had a visual appeal with dimension and balance.

Over the years, my containers of herbs have sat on my front steps, making an obstacle course for visitors who gingerly navigated pots teeming with fragrant mint and basil, dill, chive and parsley. My big mistake had been not using pots with irrigation holes at the bottom OR adding a buffering layer of gravel, like Gerald demonstrated, or small stones that I have on hand from terrarium building projects.

Note that Palumbo points out that herb container gardens will not grow beyond their “quarters” like herbs might when planted in the garden. Think about how mint just takes over the garden like ivy does in the yard. With regular pruning and care, these herbs will stay fresh and flavorful all summer long. Some will thrive more in the winter months will plenty of sunlight.

Not only are these beautiful planters great for cooks to use at home, but they also make perfect centerpieces. In fact, Palumbo has found that instead of conventional flower arrangements at weddings, many couples are requesting herb containers that guests can take home after the celebration.

Palumbo sells customized herb garden containers similar to the one we created in the video for $75 at his stores in both Irvington and Manhattan. They can tailor your container garden to your preferences.

Seasons, a Floral Design Studio                                        Seasons on the Hudson

888 8th Avenue                                                                          45 Main Street

New York, NY 10019                                                                 Irvington, NY 10533

phone: 212.586.2257                                                                phone: 914.591.7377

Thanks to Miko, manager of the Irvington shop, for filming this video.

 

Contributions made by Sam Donsky

Stokes Farm: Fresh Herb Wreaths, The Perfect Hostess Gift

Stokes Farm in Old Tappan likes to call itself a small town farm with big city charm.  If you have visited their farm stand in Old Tappan on DeWolf Road or one of their three New York City farmers market setups, you’ll likely agree that the statement holds true.  When Isaiah Stokes set sail from England in 1873 for America, he quickly purchased 40 acres of land in Old Tappan which he developed into farmland.  Several generations later, his descendants have added 17,000 square feet of greenhouses to keep a robust harvest possible even as the temperatures dip.  I visited with 6th generation farmer Jenny Lichtenwalner to learn about herb wreaths, which are exquisitely fragrant and made with Stokes own rosemary ($25) or rosemary and thyme ($28). I can’t imagine a lovelier hostess gift.

Fragrant fresh herb wreath, hand-made by Stokes Farm in Old Tappan, NJ
Fragrant fresh herb wreath, hand-made by Stokes Farm in Old Tappan, NJ

Upwards of 1,500 wreaths were sold last year between the farm stand, its NYC outposts and through online purchases through their website. Visit the Old Tappan farm stand on Tuesday, November 19th or the 26th to purchase (pre-orders accepted now) or call 201-768-3931 to arrange shipping.  Each wreath, about 12 inches in diameter, comes with a card on wreath care.  The herb is made hours before sale and keeps its suppleness for about one week before entering into its “dry” herb life chapter, when it can be plucked at for quick additions to soups, stews, roasts or teas. Its usefulness certainly outlasts floral arrangements and its value to the home cook or lover of herbal fragrance wafting through the air will last well beyond the holiday season.

The farm also offers its Stokes Farm Thanksgiving Thyme Saver Box, chock full of NJ grown fresh fruits and vegetables.  Sizes and prices vary from small ($39), adequate for feeding 5 people up to large ($99), adequate for feeding 15.  A flyer suggests that the bounty will be adequate for the preparation of winter squash soup, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberry jelly, sweet potatoes and apple pie.  Box orders must be placed by 8:00PM Monday, November 18th.  Pick up is on Tuesday, November 26th betwen 9:00AM and 5:00PM.

On a recent visit, Stokes had a fine selection of winter squash.  It’s the only farm in the region I have been able to find my favorite mini white Jack-A-Boo pumpkins for decorating my Thanksgiving buffet table.  Halloween seems to clean other farm stands and grocers out of these squash.

White Jack-A-Boo Pumpkins
White Jack-A-Boo Pumpkins

Stokes Farm

23 DeWolf Road

Old Tappan, NJ

Call 201-768-3931 for hours, shipping and pre-orders.  Email Jenny at jenny@stokesfarm.com.  http://www.stokesfarm.com