It’s planting time in Westchester — time to stock up on seeds and turn over the soil. Even if your family doesn’t own its own garden, this is the season to visit one. With climate change and global unrest, it’s important for kids to learn about sustainable landscaping and the importance of growing locally. While there are many wonderful school gardening programs like Wellness in the Schools, Westchester parents might want to consider introducing their kids to one of Westchester’s many gardens — whether it’s in your backyard or somewhere nearby.
Where to Buy Gardening Supplies in Westchester
Plant Me a Rainbow in Edgemont is a great place for the DIY gardener. Founder Sandra Nam Cioffi offers phone consultations and will send you a welcome kit and a garden kit that provide bed-prep and planting tools, step-by-step instructions, standard layout and spacing options, and 100 sustainably sourced perennials.
Mossy Fern in Hastings opened in 2019 and sells the kind of exotic houseplants that will rock your Instagram feed. They also carry rare plants, like Monsterra Constellation and Baginda Silver Dragon, as well as standbys like ferns, palms and fiddle-leaf figs. The cute shop is great for outdoor plants, herbs and garden supplies.
Rosedale Nurseries in Hawthorne stocks hardy trees, shrubs and perennials, and offers a full range of both colorful annuals and culinary plants, including herbs, vegetables and fruits. It’s a great nursery for pros who are looking for specialty soils and fertilizers, quality tools and reliable garden supplies.
Ridgeway Garden Center in White Plains is a family-owned store selling quality, affordable shrubs, annuals, perennials, edibles, herbs, as well as bulk and bagged materials, tools, fertilizers, organic products and more. Their inventory – from Florida tropicals to West Coast specimens to native plants – is curated by a knowledgeable staff who will deliver to your home.
Hilltop Nursery & Garden Center in Croton carries quality trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, topsoil, mulch, etc. and their pros can help you make the right decisions about what to plant. This is a good place for basics like organic potting soil, peat moss, fertilizer, deer and animal controls, flower and vegetable seed, grass seed and gardening tools.
If you need some help getting started, check out Healthy Yards, an organization that believes in the importance of backyard gardens (and the role they can play in Westchester’s biodiversity). Their experts can answer questions and advise Westchester families on what to plant and how to maintain a garden, including which plants are native and how to conserve water.
Community Gardens in Westchester
If you don’t have your own spot, consider joining a community garden, where you can lease a sunny section and tend it at your leisure. Many of these gardens also contribute to local food insecurity programs.
Ward Acres Community Garden in New Rochelle is operated by volunteers and features 88 small plots that you can rent for a nominal fee from May to November. Six of the plots are harvested and donated to H.O.P.E. Community Services Soup Kitchen. Another six plots are used by the Ward Elementary School.
The Ossining Organic Community Garden is a sunny, secure (deer free!) space with 50 plots to organically grow vegetables, fruit and flowers. Gardeners should expect a weekly average of four to five hours of work towards the maintenance and upkeep of their plot and the community garden.
InterGenerate Garden in Chappaqua was founded in 2009 and now has about 20 plots, plus a giving garden which provides food to people who need it. They support the local food movement through workshops and speaking engagements and co-sponsor related events.
Family Visits to Westchester Gardens
Our New Way Garden is a nonprofit that educates the public about locally and naturally grown food. They also own several natural, food-growing gardens in Westchester, including New King Street, Reach Academy/Kenneth Clark Academy, Rick’s Giving Garden, Old Oaks, their own greenhouse in Purchase.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown is a sustainable farm that offers children-oriented tours of its growing spaces and pastures. Visitors are also invited to taste the work of Stone Barns’ farmers and artisans during culinary demos and community meals.
Early spring is an ideal time to educate your kids about gardening and the joys and ethics of growing locally. Even if you can’t plant your own, plan a family visit to one of the wonderful Westchester gardens.