Lake Ronkonkoma Beach

Recently, there was a cleanup/ beautification happening at Lake Ronkonkoma Beach. We were so excited to be a part of another project like this through Keep Islip Clean. There was many volunteers from the Lake Ronkonkoma Beautification Group and Nature’s Bounty. All the before pictures were taken on April 1st, and all the afters were taken on April 18th. From all the wind, there was so much sand blown up around the garden. A big thank you to all the volunteers that removed all the sand by hand. The volunteers that participated at this cleanup/ beautification also tended to another memorial garden area, and cleaned the rest of the Lake Ronkonkoma Beach! All of the flowers for this project came from Stables Nursery in North Babylon. Thanks Ken! 

2018 Nassau County Master Gardener Application

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County Master Gardener Program.

The Master Gardener program is a volunteer program  developed by the Cooperative Extension System. Volunteer involvement is critical to the program as Master Gardeners serve an important role by interacting with and educating the community, maintaining the demonstration gardens at East Meadow Farm and providing accurate research and science based horticultural information throughout Nassau County.

The term “Master Gardener” has become synonymous with a knowledgeable individual, provided with  in-depth horticultural training, working to enhance their community and share their knowledge with others. To prepare Master Gardeners for their role in the community, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County provides an in-depth training program. Staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University faculty and local horticulturists serve as the training team for the program.  The cost of the course is $350.00 plus $70 for materials, includes trips, CCE-NC membership & training fees. The non-refundable fee is to be paid upon notification of acceptance with an additional $125 deposit, refunded upon completion of 150 hours of volunteer service.  Application deadline is February 28, 2018.  Scholarships are available, please contact us for details.   Contact us at: Horticulture Center, Demonstration and  Community Gardens at East Meadow Farm 832 Merrick Avenue East Meadow, NY 11554 (516)565-5265 Ext. 14.

To access the application and for full details, visit

Thank you to mjigarden for the original information and email. You can read more here.

Free Admission to State Parks on Black Friday

This year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced free admission to all New York State parks this Black Friday (November 24th.) He wants to encourage New Yorkers and their families to take advantage of the 335,000 plus acres of state-owned land. During Thanksgiving weekend, State parks offer many different events and programs that are great for all ages. To see a full list of state park programs happening on Black Friday and the holiday weekend, click here. “On Black Friday this year I urge New Yorkers to get outside and to take advantage of the world-class parks in every corner of this state, By offering free admission, we encourage families, nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike to enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty right in their backyards.”

Space Salad!

In early 2016, NASA reported that they were sending flowers and vegetable seeds up to the space station. A few days ago, crew members installed the largest plant-growth system on the station. For the first time, three distinct plant crops are being simultaneously grown in space! By having “space gardens” aboard the space station, it is both beneficial psychologically and nutritionally. These individuals spend months in microgravity monitoring experiments millions of miles away from their family and loved ones, so growing a garden gives them something reminiscent of home and something to care for. 

On October 27th, crew members harvested the sixth batch of crops from the experiment VEG-03D in the Vegetable Production System (known as veggie.) Only about half the greens were cut using a technique called cut-and-come-again. This allows the crops to continue to grow, which in turn allows the crew to eat more of the future harvests. Crops that were grown included Mizuna Mustard, Waldmann’s Green Lettuce and Outrageous Red Romaine Lettuce. 

The plant habitat that the crops grow in is a fully enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber. Inside the chamber is red, blue, green and white LED lights to create a broad spectrum. The chamber also has more than 180 sensors that record information on temperature, oxygen and moisture levels to the Kennedy Space Center in FL. If all goes well, the space garden will soon have Arabidopsis (small flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard) and dwarf wheat.

Thank you to for the original information. You can read more here.

Mosquito Mate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have given permission to a company that says they want to “breed the worst mosquitoes out of existence.” Known as Mosquito Mate, the company intends to release nonbiting male mosquitoes into the environment. These males are infected with a strain of bacteria that kills eggs; The goal is for these males to mate with the female mosquitoes that bite during the summer. By eliminating eggs, this will reduce the amount of biting-disease carrying mosquitoes. Trials have been done with great success in Kentucky, California and New York. After introducing the new males, there was an 80% reduction in biting mosquitoes. These highly engineered insects are licensed to sell in 20 states, including New York. Eventually they will be offered for sale to property owners. 

Thank you to Constance Gibbs from The Daily News for the original information. You can read more here.

Long Island Garden Events, September 2017

September is here on Long Island, that means it is time to clean up your garden beds and get out and enjoy the start of the crisp fall air! There will be many tours and public events happening all over Long Island to celebrate the upcoming autumnal season. Here is a list of some of the events going on. 

Ongoing Events

  • Tai Chi & Yoga at Old Westbury Gardens – throughout Autumn at Old Westbury Gardens, Click here to learn more.
  • Free Guided Tours of Bayard Cutting Arboretum – Saturdays at 11AM at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Click here to learn more.
  • Madoo Garden – Every Friday and Saturday from 12PM-4PM at Madoo Garden, May 15th until September 15th. Click here to learn more.
  • Free Lawn Care Advice (in person or via email) at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton – Tuesdays through the end of October 2:30PM-5PM, Click here to learn more.
  • Pallets in the Park – Wednesdays and Saturdays through October at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Click here to learn more.
  • What in the World is a Herbarium? – Through October 29th in Ross Gallery, Click here to learn more.
  • CHIHULY Nights – Thursdays to Saturdays through October 6:30PM-10:30PM at New York Botanical Gardens, Click here to learn more.
  • LI Dahlia Society Volunteers Meet – Saturday Mornings through November 9AM at the William Wolkoff Garden at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Click here to learn more.

Dated Events 

  • Then and Now Tour: Garden Styles at Brooklyn Botanic Garden – September 9th, 11AM-12:30PM. Click here to learn more.
  • Late Summer Seasonal Stroll (Adult Program) – September 9th, 11AM-1PM at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve. Registration Required. Click here to learn more.
  • Talk & Tour: Tranquility in the Garden – September 11th, 2PM at Old Westbury Gardens. Click here to learn more.
  • Fall in Love with Composting – September 13th, 6PM-8PM at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. PreRegistration Required. Click here to learn more.
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour of Urban Gardens & Parks – September 16th, 8AM-4PM. Click here to learn more.
  • Bird Walks with New York City Audubon – September 16th, 9:30AM-10:30AM. Registration Required. Click here to learn more.
  • Afternoon Tea & Tour – September 20th & 21st, 1PM at Orchard Hill in Old Westbury Gardens. Advance Tickets Required. Click here to learn more.
  • Stargazers Skywatching Session at Old Westbury Garden – September 28th, 8:30PM. Click here to learn more.

Thank you to Mjlgarden for the original information. Click here to view more events!

Garden Walk – “Secret Gardens of Islip”

On Saturday, July 15th (rain date July 16th) the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet will have their 5th Garden Walk – “Secret Gardens of Islip” – from 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.  Come enjoy a beautiful summer day as 5 friends of the society open their gates for guests to stroll through and enjoy these unique gardens; entertainment by Carols for Causes and light refreshments served at each location.  Tickets can be purchased, in person, starting June 1st, at Caroline’s Flower Shoppe, 341 Main Street, Islip (631) 581-3464, or through Eventbrite, starting May 12th (there will be a small processing fee).  Tickets are $20/adult (no one under 16) pre-purchase and day of tour.  The 2016 Garden Walk was highlighted in Newsday’s “weekend top 10 things to do”.  For more info call, (631) 245-0675.

Click here to purchase tickets from eventbrite. 

To purchase tickets from Caroline’s Flower Shoppe visit:
341 Main Street, Islip – 11751

2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery

Here are some photos from the 2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery in Westbury, NY. There were so many bright colors and beautiful displays. My favorite display was the “Under the Sea.” The waterfall, and all the hanging jellyfish from the ceiling really captured the feeling of being underwater. All of the flowers were incorporated beautifully, they didn’t seem like an afterthought. 

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Best U-Pick Farms on Long Island

Spring is coming- which means warm weather, sun and picking your own fruit as a family. Long Island has the best farms on the east end to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of some of the best.

U-Pick Strawberries

  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Wickham Fruit Farm – 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue (phone: 734-6441)
  • Fox Hollow Farm – 2287 Sound Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-1786)
  • Anderson Farms – 1890 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead (phone: 727-1129 or 727-2559)
  • Hank Kraszewski – 324 Co Road 39, Southampton Bypass, Southampton (phone: 726-4667)
  • Patty’s Berries and Bunches – 410 Sound Avenue, Mattituck (phone: 655-7996)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)

U-Pick Vegetables

  • F & W Schmitt Farms – 26 Pinelawn Road, Melville (phone: 271-3276)
  • Krupski Farms – Route 25, Peconic (phone: 734-6847)
  • Doug Cooper Farms – Breakwater Road, Mattituck (phone: 298-5195)
  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Fritz Lewin Farms – Corner of Sound and Edwards Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-3346)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)
  • John Condzella – Route 25A, Wading River (phone: 929-5058)
  • Seven Ponds Orchard – 65 Seven Ponds Road, Water Mill (phone: 726-8015)

U-Pick Fruit

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. Click here to read more.

Sign Up For Spring Gardening School 2017!

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County will be holding the 35th Annual Spring Gardening School on April 22nd, 2017! It will be held at Longwood Senior High School in Middle Island from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. This event is a popular was to kick-off the new gardening season; Providing up to date information in all areas of horticulture. Classes are taught by Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension Educators! This year we will have a keynote speaker, her name is Polly Weigand and she is Executive Director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative. Three classes of your choice are also available for every level of gardener (ranging from beginner to advanced.) Class topics include Low-water gardening, Gardening in deer country, Designing drip irrigation, Creating a rain garden, Organic landscape maintenance, and many more! The fee is $65 per person; early bird registration is $60 before March 1st. Included in your fee are free soil pH testing, plant diagnostic clinic, plant sales from some of the finest nurseries, continental breakfast, delicious boxed lunch, Long Island Gardening Calendar, raffle prizes and door prizes.
Register early, because classes fill quickly! Registration is mandatory; there are no walk-ins. A full listing of classes can be found on the registration form for download here! 

Hope to see you there! 

Prune Your Oak Trees Over the Winter

Cornell Cooperative Extension has sent out another notice about Oak Wilt, which was found earlier this summer in the Town of Islip. Since the original notice over the summer, more and more accounts of Oak Wilt have been happening in other towns within Suffolk County. The DEC is urging homeowners to prune their oak trees during the winter and not during growing season.  “One way that oak wilt spreads is through insects (sap beetles are one of the main culprits), which can move the fungus from an infected tree to a healthy tree. During the warmer growing season sap beetles are active and attracted to the fresh wounds, increasing the chances of disease spread.” So be on the lookout! You can read more on the DEC’s website here.

Long Island Garden Events, Winter 2016-17

Winter is here on Long Island, that means it is time to clean up your garden beds and pull out that garden catalog to plan for next year! There will be many tours and public holiday events all over, but don’t fret- there will be some outdoor events and classes going on. Here is a list of some of the events going on. 

Ongoing Events

  • Seasonal Highlights Tour at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens –  Throughout November and December, 1PM-2PM. Click here to learn more. 
  • Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden – From November 19th to January 16th, Click here to learn more.
  •  Wild Medicine in the Tropics at NY Botanical Garden – From January 21st to February 12th, Click here to learn more.
  • The Orchid Show at NY Botanical Garden – From February 18th to April 9th, Click here to learn more.
  • Training Course for New Suffolk County Master Gardener Volunteers – Starting February 1st and ending June 28th. Click here to learn more. 

Dated Events 

  • LI Dahlia Society Meeting and Talk: Dahlia 101 “Storing Dahlias Over the Winter” – Thursday November 17th, 6:30PM at East Islip Library. Click here to learn more. 
  • Gardening Lessons: Designs for Easy Maintenance – Saturday November 19th, 10AM-2PM at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Click here to learn more.
  • Thanksgiving Floral Design – Saturday November 19th, 10:30AM at Old Westbury Gardens. Click here to learn more. 
  • Floral Design Workshop: Holiday Centerpiece – Sunday November 20th, 1PM-2:30PM at Queens Botanical Garden. Click here for more information.
  • Holiday Wreath Workshop – Saturday December 3rd, 11AM-12:30PM at Cornell Cooperative Extension. Call 631-852-4600 for more information and to register.
  • Introduction to Ikebana – Sunday December 11th, 10AM-1PM at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Click here to learn more. 
  • The Camellia Festival – Sunday February 19th, 1oAM-4PM at Planting Fields Arboretum. Snow Date: Sunday February 26th. Click here to learn more. 

Thank you to Mjlgarden for the original information. Click here to view more events! 

Master Gardener Events

The Master Gardener Newsletter is a great service to be subscribed to. It let’s us know about future events and classes being held by and for Master Gardeners on Long Island! The Master Gardeners will be holding a Spring Gardening School on April 22, 2017 for Earth Day. They are in need of instructors for workshops in the following topics:

  • Landscape Alternatives to Lawns
  • Fairy Gardens
  • Gardening for the Birds
  • Accessible Gardens: Low-Maintenance Techniques for Everyone
  • Designing Drought- Tolerant Landscapes
  • Engaging Children in the Garden
  • Growing Food in the Winter

This is the 2017 SGS Instructor’s Workshop Description Form to fill out and submit toRobin Simmen no later then November 16. This will give CCE Suffolk enough time to create the registration brochure and send it to all instructors for proofreading before they publish it in January. The workshop description form will be mailed with individual evaluations to all the people who taught in 2016. However, if they want to get ahead on submitting workshop ideas for 2017, they can download the form and get started! They ask if you haven’t taught before, they need you and your ideas! Consider offering a workshop next April at Spring Gardening School. The Master Gardeners also came up with a list of committee chairs and co-chairs (if there is no name listed, they need someone (maybe you!) to step forward and help organize that area.) The listed chair people will be looking for and collecting the names of committee members, so please email them directly to join these committees.

  • Breakfast and lunch monitors – Carol Tvelia,
  • Information Packets – ?
  • Indoor/Outdoor signs and maps – Diane Herold,
  • On-Site Check-In – Barbara Renner,
  • Digital Media Help – Kathleen Cleary,
  • Raffle Prize Donations – ?
  • Information/Big Raffle Prize Sales – ?
  • Spring Gift Basket Sales – ?
  • Plant Sale – Denise Zizzo, and Brian Smith,
  • Classroom Assistants/Soil Testing – Mary Howe,
  • Door Prizes – Barbara Renner,
  • Transporting Raffles to School Location – ?

A great way to volunteer your time as a Master Gardener is to help make Spring Gardening School a success! The next meeting to plan is scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd at 1:00PM at Griffing Avenue. They ask you to please RSVP to

2017 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Course

Applications for the 2017 MG Volunteer Training Course are available online on the Master Gardener Volunteer page of their website at The next training course for new MG Volunteers will be held in 2017, beginning February 1 and ending June 28. Weekly Wednesday evening lectures will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. at CCE Suffolk, 423 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead. Starting April 1, Saturday morning classes will also be held 9:00 a.m.-noon in the field (weather permitting) every other week at various locations from Amityville to Riverhead until the course ends June 28. The cost of the course remains $375 with an additional $125 deposit, refunded upon completion of 125 hours of volunteer service. The deadline to apply for the 30 seats available is October 31, 2016.

Agriculture, Food & Environmental Systems In-Service Conference at Cornell in Ithaca Open to MG Volunteers

Registration for the 2016 Cornell Cooperative Extension conference is now open! The deadline to register is October 7. You can complete a registration form by visiting the Ag In-Service website at and clicking on the “Registration” tab. This conference is open to all CCE educators, volunteers, and community partners. Note that in addition to horticulture, there are other subject tracks such as invasive species, environment and natural resources, etc. You can register for any track in any given session.


Master Gardener Volunteers Needed 

Please contact to volunteer for any of these projects:


The Seniors Center in Aquebogue at 60 Shade Tree Lane

would like MG Volunteer assistance to plant an herb and/or vegetable garden with hopes that the kitchen staff could use plants from the garden to prepare lunch for senior citizens. Sponsored by the Riverhead Recreation Department, this Senior Center would like it to become an intergenerational garden where classes on using culinary, medicinal, or fragrance herbs could be scheduled for the public at large.
The Riverhead Free Library is looking for assistance in redesigning and replanting the gardens on their grounds. Your expertise will be recognized by plaques confirming your hard work. Please stop by and take a look at the potentially beautiful area surrounding the building. The library is looking for mostly native plants and easy care growth that will invite patrons to tour the presentations.
Long Island Maritime Museum (LIMM) depends on a small group of MGVs to maintain its modest-sized main garden, Long Island native plant/butterfly garden, and Bayman’s Cottage garden. They could use some additional help with weeding, trimming, and watering. LIMM runs a summer camp program for K-6, has regular visitors and large gatherings such as the Seafood, Pirate, and Kite Festivals. If you’re in the West Sayville area and can devote an hour or so a week, they would love to have you join them.

Meadowcroft, the gardens of the John Ellis Roosevelt estate supported by the Bayport Heritage Association on Middle Road near the Sayville-Bayport border, seeks MG Volunteers to work once a week on Friday mornings for a couple of hours, from June to September. Meadowcroft consists of a rose garden, perennial garden,annual garden, herb garden, and vegetable garden. Bring gardening gloves, bucket for compost additions, kneeling pad, any hand garden tools you may have, and a desire to dig in. They will supply herb flavored water (bring a drinking vessel), pleasant conversation, and MGV camaraderie.

Mercy Haven’s Growing Together Community Garden was created in 2012 and has harvested thousands of pounds of fresh produce that goes directly to its residents, garden members, and  food pantries. The Garden is located in Brentwood, Long Island, behind the Mercy Enrichment House, a central gathering space for affiliates of Mercy Haven, a nonprofit agency that provides housing and services to Long Islanders who are homeless, living with mental illness, or living in poverty. Mercy Haven is always looking for volunteers who can not only gain the benefits of the harvested produce, but also the benefits of working together and creating a healthier community.

Maureen’s Haven and ADD (Aid to the Developmentally Disabled) in Riverhead have joined forces to create a new community garden downtown on Lincoln Avenue. This new open green space benefits group home residents of ADD and participants of Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach, and provides common ground for growing plants that feed, heal, and offer aesthetic pleasure. The new community garden is a place where everyone in the community can garden for nourishment and pleasure. MG Volunteers are requested to assist with this exciting new green space in Riverhead.

The Mount Sinai Garden Club, which meets at the Heritage Park in Mount Sinai on the first Thursday of every month at 7:15 p.m., is looking for Master Gardeners to speak on the following subjects: composting, ticks,vegetable gardening, creating a plant maze, transplanting, rose care.

Bridge Gardens, the botanic garden in Bridgehampton, invites MG Volunteers to get involved in its weekly routines of weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, and pest management in its ornamental and vegetable gardens. Bridge Gardens can offer MG Volunteers experience with herbs, roses, annuals, perennials, and shrubs and trees, both native and exotic. The staff are flexible about work schedules. If you are interested, please feel free to contact Rick Bogusch, Bridge Gardens Manager, at 631-537-7440.

William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst received a grant to install a Tisch Garden, which has been planted, and is looking for MG Volunteers to help start a gardening club to teach young students about gardening.
The Education Garden at Bethel Hobbs Community Farm in Centereach grows flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects for the farm, and welcomes MG Volunteers who want to help with this effort. Fresh vegetables grown at the farm are donated to Long Island soup kitchens and food pantries.
The Farm at St. Peters, a beautiful hidden oasis behind St. Peters by the Sea Episcopal Church off Montauk Highway in Bayshore, is looking for volunteers to assist with bed preparation, planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. This CSA serves 20-25 member families and could use some MG Volunteer assistance.
Long Island Harvest has many opportunities to help promote food security by creating school and community gardens, encouraging farmers to grow an extra row, doing field gleanings at the end of the growing season, and teaching people how to grow healthy food. Help is also needed to repair their greenhouses behind their warehouse in Hauppauge.
Thank you to CCE and Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter for the original information.

Autumn Festivals on Long Island 2016

Here is a list of fall festivals and fairs happening this upcoming autumn this year! Go out and have some family fun!

Long Island Family Festival
Tanner Park in Copaigue, Admission: free
September 16 (6-10pm), September 17 (11am-10pm), and September 18 (11am-6pm)

Pickle Festival
John Gardiner Farm in Greenlawn, Admission: $5 donation, free if younger than 12
September 17 (10am-4pm)

Schmitt Family Farm Fall Festival
6 Bagatelle Rd. in Dixhills, Admission: free, fees apply for games and rides
Saturdays and Sundays through October 30 including Columbus Day (10am-6pm)

Dockside Family Festival
Captree State Park in Babylon, Admission: free, $8 parking fee
September 17 and 18 (11am-5pm)

Garlic Festival 
Garden of Eve Farm in Riverhead, Admission: $5, free if 6 and younger
September 17 and 18 (10am-6pm)

Hicks Nurseries Fall Festival
100 Jericho Tpke in Westbury, Admission: free, accepting non-perishable food donations
September 17 through October 30 (8am-6pm)

Fink’s Country Farm Fall Festival
6242 Middle Country Rd in Wading River, Admission: $15, free if 2 or younger
September 17 through October 30 (9:30am-5:30pm)

Cow Harbor Day
Northport Village Park in Northport, Admission: free, $30 pay-one-price rides
September 18 (11am-5pm)

Fall Festival at Dees’ Nursery
69 Atlantic Ave in Oceanside, Admission: free, small fee for crafts and activities
Every weekend in October including Oct. 10, and excluding halloween weekend (11am-5pm)

East End Marine Festival
Village of Greenport, Admission: free
September 23 (6:30pm-9pm), 24 (10am-5pm), and 25 (9am-5pm)

Fish Hatchery Fall Fair
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium in Cold Spring Harbor, Admission: $6, $4 for ages 3-12 and 65 and older
September 24 (10am-4:30pm)

Harvest Fair
Rogers Mansion in Southhampton, Admission: free
September 24 (starts at 11am)

Valley Stream Community Fest
Rockaway Ave in Valley Stream, Admission: free
September 24 (10am-5pm)

Family Festival by the Sea
630 Lido Blvd in Lido Beach, Admission: free
September 24 and 25 (11am-6:30pm)

Queens County Fair
Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park, Admission: $10, #5 for ages 12 and younger
September 24 and 25 (11am-6pm)

Long Island Fair
Old Bethpage Restoration in Old Bethpage, Admission: $12, $8 for ages 5 to 12
September 30 to October 2 (10am-5pm)

Fall Farm Festival at White Post Farms
White Post Farms in Melville, Admission: $19
Weekends starting September 24 through October 30 (10am-4pm)

Long Island Apple Festival
Sherwood-Jayne House in Setauket, Admission: $7, $5 for children and seniors
September 25 (11am-4:30pm)

Long Island Potato Festival
Elks Lodge in Southhampton, Admission: $20, free for ages 12 and younger
September 25 (11am-4pm)

Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, Admission: $12, Free for ages 3 and younger
October 1 and 2 (11am-5pm)

San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons
Hampton Bays Rail Road Station in Hampton Bays, Admission: free
October 1 (10am-10pm), October 2 (10am-8pm)

Fall Harvest Festival 
Brightwaters Farm in Bayshore, Admission: $10, free for ages 1 and younger
October 1 through October 30 (9am-5pm)

Long Island Fall Festival
Heckscher Park in Huntington, Admission: free
October 7 (5pm-10pm), October 8 and 9 (11am-9pm), October 10 (11am-5pm)

Fall Harvest Festival 
Mill Neck Manor House in Mill Neck, Admission: $15 a vehicle
October 8 and 9 (9am-5pm)

Montauk Fall Festival
Village Green, Admission: free
October 8 and 9 (11am-5pm)

Barnyard Adventure and Fall Festival at Harbes Family Farm
Harbes Farm in Mattituck, Admission: $7.95 on weekdays, $12.95 weekends
Late September to the end of October (9am-6pm)

Harvest Festival
Bennett’s Farm in East Setauket, Admission: $8, $6 for ages 12 and younger
October 9 (12pm-4pm)

Crestwood’s Fall Fair and Open House
313 Round Swamp Road in Melville, Admission: free
October 15 (11am-3pm)

Rolling River Fall Festival
477 Ocean Ave in East Rockaway, Admission: free
October 15 (12pm-4pm)

Oyster Festival
West End Ave in Oyster Bay, Admission: free
October 15 and 16 (11am-6pm)

Great Jack-O-Latern Spectacular Sail
Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon, Admission: free
October 29 (3pm-6:30pm)

Spooky Fest
Tanglewood Preserve in Rockville Centre, Admission: your choice of $10 or $15
October 15 through October 30 weekends (6:30pm-9:30pm)

Center Moriches Fall Festival
Center Moriches, Admission: free
October 15 (9am-6pm)

Huntington Historical Society Apple Festival
434 Park Ave in Huntington, Admission: free
October 16 (12pm-4pm)

Village Day Fall Festival
Sandy Point Preserve in Sands Point, Admission: $20 per vehicle, or $10 with season pass
October 16 (1pm-4pm)

West Hills Fall Festival
21 Sweet Hollow Road in Huntington, Admission: free
October 22 (11am-3pm)

Thank you to Newsday for the original information, you can read more here. 

Long Island Farmers’ Markets

There is nothing like waking up early on the weekend and going down to the Farmers’ Market to buy fresh and local amenities. From produce to breads and even soaps- the choices are limitless! But what about other markets? Surely there are more then just the one in my town. What kind of choices do they have two towns over? This is a list for anyone who is a serial Farmer Marketer or is new to the whole buy local scene. Locations and times for Farmers’ Markets on Long Island (Suffolk County.)

Amityville (EBT) (FC)
Marks of Excellence Farm Stand
455 Albany Ave.
Thursday 3pm – 6pm Ÿ Jun 30 – Sep 29

Village of Amityville Farmers’ Market
21 Ireland Place
Friday 2pm – 7pm Ÿ Jun 3 – Nov 18

Babylon Village Farmers’ Market (EBT)
LIRR Babylon Station parking lot
Railroad & Deer Park Aves.
Sunday 8 am – 1 pm Ÿ Jun 5 – Nov 20

Greater Bellport Community Youth Market (EBT)
Boys & Girls Club, 471 Atlantic Ave.
Saturday 11am – 4pm Ÿ Jul 9– Oct 29

Brentwood (EBT) (VF)
FREE’s Farm at Brentwood
St. Joseph’s Convent 1725 Brentwood Rd.
Tues/Thur 12pm – 4 pm  Jun 1 – Oct 31

Sunny Side Farmers’ Market
The YJCC 74 Hauppauge Rd.
Thursday 11am – 6pm  Jun 30 – Oct 27

Deer Park
Tanger Farmers’ Market
Tanger Outlets, surrounding the fountain at The Piazza
Saturday 10am – 3pm Ÿ Jun 4 – Nov 5

East Hampton Farmers’ Market (EBT)
Nick & Toni’s lot
136 N. Main St.
Friday 9am – 1pm Ÿ May 27 – Sept 2

Flanders Farm Fresh Youth Market (EBT)
Crohan Community Senior Center
655 Flanders Road (Rt 24)
Saturday 10am – 1pm Ÿ Jul 2– Oct22

Greenport Farmers’ Market (EBT)
South Street Parking Lot at 2nd St.
Saturday 9am – 1 pm  May 28 – Oct 8

Hampton Bays Farmers’ Market
165 Ponquogue Ave.
St. Mary’s Church lawn
Saturday 9am – 1pm Ÿ May28 – Sep 3

Huntington Village Farmers’ Market (VF)
Main St. Rt 25A, East of Rt. 110
Sunday 7am – 12 pm Ÿ May 29 – Nov 20

Islip Farmers’ Market (VF)
Town Hall lot, 27A (Montauk Hwy.)
Saturday 7am – 12pm Ÿ May 28 – Nov 19

Kings Park Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
Route 25A, Main Street Municipal Lot
Across from Fire Dept., 2 Main St.
Sunday 9am – 2 pm Ÿ Jun 5 – Nov 20

Montauk Farmers’ Market
Montauk Village Green, 743 Montauk Hwy.
Thursday 9am – 2pm Ÿ Jun 9 – Sep 1
Friday 9am – 2 pm Ÿ Sep 9 – Sep 30

Nesconset Plaza Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
Nesconset Plaza, 127 Smithtown Blvd.
Saturday 9am – 1pm Ÿ Jun 4 – Nov 19

Patchogue Farmers’ Market #1 (VF)
West of Rt 112, Montauk Hwy.
Friday 8am – 1pm  Jul 8 – Nov 4

Patchogue Farmers’ Market #2
S. Ocean Ave. & Division St.
Sunday 9am -1pm  Jun 12 – Nov 20

Port Jefferson Farmers’ Market
Steam Room parking lot, Rts. 25A & 112
Thursday 10am – 4:30pm Ÿ Jul 7 – Sep 29

Rocky Point Farmers’ Market
Old Depot Park ( Broadway & Prince Rd.)
Sunday 8 am – 1pm Ÿ May 29 – Nov 20

Shiloh Community Youth Farmers’ Market (EBT) (FC)
221 Merritt Ave., New Shiloh Baptist Church
Saturday 1pm – 4pm Ÿ Jul 9– Oct 1

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. You can read more here.


Oak Wilt on Long Island

A disease that restricts water use in trees has been found in Central Islip. The Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic has identified the disease as ‘Oak Wilt.’ The disease has been confirmed in New York State before, it was last seen in Schenectady County in 2008 and 2013. After a test sample of the trees returned positive for the disease, tree-care professionals removed and destroyed the trees to curb any spreading. As of right now, there is no known treatment to contain and kill oak wilt fungus. All officials can do is remove any trees in the vicinity which can be hosts. Basil Seggos the commissioner of the DEC has reported “The infestation is small and isolated making an aggressive eradication response warranted and feasible to address this serious disease. Additional oak trees will need to be removed in the immediate infected area to stop oak wilt in its tracks.” The DEC said that it will use protocols from the Schenectady County situation to control whats going on in Islip. There has been an emergency order put into place that establishes a ‘protective zone.’ This zone prohibits the removal of any dead, living, standing, cut or fallen oak trees, or any portions of the trees including branches, logs, stumps, roots, green oak lumber or firewood from the immediate area. It can be removed from the area if it has been chipped to less than one inch in two dimensions. This order also decrees a 150-foot red ‘oak free zone’ around the area where the infected trees were initially discovered. All red oaks found in these zones will be removed and destroyed by the DEC to protect the remaining healthy trees. The DEC will schedule a public meeting to address questions and concerns. There will be both aerial and ground surveys taken that will conduct how many trees need to be removed. This is supposed to happen within the next 6 months. Oak wilt kills thousands of trees and forests each year due to the wilt, primarily on the eastern United States. The disease is caused by a fungus that grows in the water-conducting vessels of infected trees. These fungus’ create gummy like plugs that block the ability to get water from the roots. Residents can report sudden leaf loss from oaks (as a possible sign of wilt) by calling 866-640-0652. For more information you can visit the DEC’s website here.

New Elevated Park in NYC

This past week, a new elevated park opened in New York City. It is called Liberty Park, and opened at the World Trade Center. It has a twenty five foot high vertical garden and also contains a sapling from a tree that grew outside of Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. The park is located above Liberty Street on the World Trade Center site, it is a smaller scale version of the iconic High Line with a beautiful view of the Freedom Tower. The park contains a three hundred and thirty six foot long vertical garden which is coined as a “living wall.” The wall is built with eight hundred and twenty six panels filled with 22,356 plants of six different varieties. The park is home to the American Response Statue which pays tribute to 9/11 responders.


Thank you to NBC New York for the original information and photos. You can read more here.


Oldest White Oak in the Country

In the quiet town of Basking Ridge NJ, lives a town that is united by the love of one tree. White Oak to be specific. This tree has been part of U.S. history since the beginning, when George Washington decided to picnic in its shade. It also had the honor of having General Jean Baptist de Rochambeau and allied French troops march past it en route to the Battle of Yorktown VA. There is also thirty five Revolutionary War Veterans buried beneath its branches. This tree has been a part of history way before Basking Ridge was even a town!


This tall and strong tree has withstood through six hundred years of storms and droughts. The cause of death for this landmark is unknown. According to the church that was built next to this
massive white oak, it is one hundred feet tall with a spread of one hundred and fifty six feet and a circumference of twenty feet! When the tree didn’t green for the spring last month, experts were consulted. They tested the soil, the roots and even checked for beetles and disease. An ecologist from Rutgers University inspected the tree in mid-June and declared it to be “in a spiral of decline.” The Basking Ridge Church have used cables to support the heavy limbs, and have also pruned it is a specific way so the limbs grow up rather then out. (This protects them from becoming too heavy.) Dave Culver of the Religious Society of Friends (Salem,) says that one limb weighs approximately six thousand pounds! He is also quoted saying “We found that old trees that survive do end up dropping limbs and become smaller so they can support themselves.” The town puts the fallen branches to good use however. When branches fell in 1999, limbs were offered to local artisans to create lovely creations from the wood.

With no timeline of when the white oak will officially die, residents are preparing themselves for the worst. Many talk about the tree’s death as if talking about a family member. “It’s knowing when to let go.” said Pastor Dennis Jones from Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. Below is a segment CBS News NY ran about the tree.

Thank you to CBS News NY for the video. Thank you to Marie Scaefer, from for the original information. You can read more here.

Islip Historical Society Garden Walk 2016

This weekend on June 25th at noon, the Islip Historical Society will be hosting a garden walk. You can either purchase tickets online or at Caroline’s Flower Shoppe on Main Street (between 11AM and 1PM.) Once you have purchased your ticket(s) you must redeem your Garden Walk Booklet at Caroline’s to know where the gardens are located. Tickets are $15, and are non-refundable. The rain date is set to be June 26th from 12PM-4PM. Project Bloom will have a booth set up at one of the gardens with loads of free plants grown for the garden visitors. Stop in and say hi!

You can buy tickets here!

To see pictures from last year, you can visit Islip Historical Society’s Facebook page! Click here!

Great Long Island Tomato Challenge


2014 Winner, Gary Schaffer (69) of Lindenhurst

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Long Island Tomato Challenge! Give your tomato plants lots of TLC all season long, then bring your biggest, and heaviest fruit to the event to

be judged by Garden Columnist Jessica Damiano. It will be held at Newsday Headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, at the Ruland Road entrance) at 7PM on August 12th. Rain date will be August 19th. There are a couple of rules for this challenge and they are:

  • Tomatoes must be homegrown, fresh and not previously frozen.
  • They don’t need to be ripe, but stems should be removed before weighing.

Tomatoes will be judged in 6 categories. The heaviest, the smallest (measured and not weighed,) Ugliest, And three youth categories split into the age groups of 6 and younger, 7-12, and 13-17. There is no need to RSVP to this challenge, just come on down and have some fun! To be featured in an upcoming issue of Newsday, send a photo of yourself with your tomato plants along with growing techniques and the varieties you planted to, then look back every Sunday in the Newsday Gardening section to follow the competition!

Thank you Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri

On Saturday April 30th, I went to see the Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It was such a beautiful and sunny day, it was no surprise that I was not the only one who thought to go that day. Most of the trees were at peak bloom at this time. The smell on the air was sweet, and the scenery was breath taking. In the front of the garden, was what I like to refer as the Cherry Blossom Alley. Planted here was large rows of Cherry Blossom trees, that created an alley down the center of grass. Everyone was sat under the trees, taking in the sights and smelling the sweet air. You could faintly hear the Sakura Matsuri festival going on within the garden from the alley. Past the Cherry Blossom Alley, was a pathway that went through giant bushes of Lilac. It was definitely a photo-op spot and I even captured three different shades of Lilac in the same bushel! The pathway led to the heart of the Botanical Garden, where the festival was being held. There was a long piece of grass where pop-up shops selling books, candy, pillows, and kimonos (to name a few) resided. There was music being played over speakers, and there was even performances from J-pop groups and drummers. Everyone was happy to be there, many people were dressed up in cosplay of their favorite Japanese characters and celebrities. It was a fabulous day out in the beautiful weather, and the flowers were such a sight to see!

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Register now for Spring Gardening School!

The Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE) is hosting the annual Spring Gardening School on Saturday, April 16th,2016 from 8:30AM to 4:00 PM. This school has been organized by Master Gardener Volunteers for the last 34 years, it is a fun day of learning and fun for hundreds of gardeners!

The class will be held at Patchogue-Medford High School in Medford, NY. All classes will be taught by the Master Gardener Volunteers as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators. The day will consist of workshops held during three sessions and offers classes for beginners to advanced gardeners. There is a new keynote session this year with an address on Grow More with Less: Sustainable Gardening Methods by Vincent Simeone, Director of Planting Fields Arboretum. Some of the classes you can sign up for include: Choosing the Right Trees, Gardening with Chickens, Design & Install Drip Irrigation, Pruning Roses & Hydrangeas, Seed Starting Demystified, and many, many more.

The fee to attend is $65 per person, which includes free soil pH testing, a Long Island Gardening Calendar, a plant diagnostic clinic, gardening exhibits, and an early plant sale from some of the finest nurseries on Long Island; continental breakfast, delicious boxed lunch, raffles, and door prizes. Pre–registration is mandatory; first come is first served. Here is a registration form with a full schedule of classes and their descriptions for you to download and send to us. We look forward to seeing you there!

Robin Simmen is Community Horticulture Specialist for CCE Suffolk. She can be reached at or at 631-727-7850 x215.

Thank you to Cornell University for the original information. You can read more here. 


Plants That Are Out Of This World!

Valentines Day, 2016. Scott Kelly harvests a patch of Zinnias in the International Space Station. Space travel to Mars is getting closer then ever. NASA is currently in the middle of an experiment to grow plants and vegetables in space. The seeds were activated on November 13th, and have been growing bountiful since. “We need to learn a tremendous amount to help develop more robust sustainable food production systems as NASA moves toward long-duration exploration and the journey to Mars,” said Gioia Massa, a principal ground scientist for the experiment.

The experiment consisted of two patches of Zinnias, one on the ground and one up in space. Grown in the same conditions and time span, to see if any faults would arise. “The flowers going to seed are a good demonstration for sustainable food crops,” said Nicole Dufour, a NASA mechanical engineer and Veggie subject-matter expert. “It’s a good example of starting with seeds and ending with seeds, which is what you need to sustain crop growth.”

Researchers are curious to see if the pollen from the plants are going to affect the health of crew members, and if having bright flowers aboard will boost morale as well. Expieremnts that involve space plants have always brought joy to astronauts, especially for the people who have been in space for long periods of time, like Scott Kelly. Part of the pleasure of being an astronaut is having been involved in meaningful work, according to behavioral scientists at NASA. However, it is not just astronauts that are positively affected by growing plants!

The next batch of plants sent to the space station will include two types of seeds: ‘Outrageous’ Red Romaine Lettuce for the crew to grow and consume, and a variety of small Chinese Cabbage called ‘Tokyo Bekana.’ We are all excited to see the outcome of these experiments!

Thank you NASA for the original information. You can read more about the experiment here.


Miles of Hope 5K Run!

The Town of Islip and the Islip Breast Cancer Coalition will be holding a 5K Run on Sunday, September 20th, 2015! This will be the first annual run and we want YOU to be a part of it! The Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Run supports a worthwhile group providing services to breast cancer patients and their families, and supports breast cancer research and legislation. There’s also a 1K Kids Fun Run. The route is from town hall to the beach and back, through a nice neighborhood. Click here for details or to sign up!

The Run starts at 9:15 sharp at Islip Town Hall (located at 655 Main Street in Islip) and everyone is invited! Print out the PDF located below to fill out the registration form for the run!

Miles Of Hope Registration Form in pdf format

Or click here to sign up online.

The Vegetables growing in Project Bloom’s Garden!

Here are some photos of the vegetables growing in Project Bloom’s garden! The plants include tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, Swiss chard, tomatillos, eggplant, squash, parsley, sage and thyme. They all are doing fabulously! The garden smells fabulous from all the herbs that are growing as well. The tomatoes and watermelon are growing so large as well! 

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Project Bloom Painting Projects

This Saturday July 25th, from 9:30 to 11:30, we will be finishing the painting projects for Project Bloom. We will be installing the birdhouses Bob built onto metal poles. They will be mounted behind the small birdhouses on stakes which were placed in the “cosmos garden” behind the curly willow fence. We will also be installing the fence/photo board sign facing the playground in the corner by the vegetable garden. We will plant snapdragons in front of it. Check out the photo of Bob V. and Kathy C. posing in front of the sign by the kid’s garden.

With a public garden there can be some unwelcome visitors and the deer have become a real nuisance eating our vegetables. To help with the deer problem we will be hanging blocks painted like seed packets from a wire around the perimeter of the garden. I located some simple drawings of vegetables that could be painted onto the plastic blocks. Bob cut 138 “seed packet” blocks from leftover Trex plastic lumber. I painted 16 really quickly with one brush and a small pallette. Then we outlined in black and added the lettering with a sharpie. We screwed metal straps to the back, and hung them from the wire that Bob had installed on 2×2 posts around the garden fence. We will need to paint about 8 more of each one to fill up around the fencing.

We also made and mounted new signs for the greenhouse, the vegetable garden and the memorial garden. The church volunteers did a great job cleaning up the new Stehling Rose Bed area. We have perennials that will be planted here, alongside the pathway of pavers with daisies on them.

Please come down on Saturday morning and help us finish up these fun projects.

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Church Volunteers on July 18th

This past weekend we had many volunteers that came from the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints to volunteer at Project Bloom. They were very helpful, and we loved spending the morning with them! They came with little kids and seniors and we also want to thank our volunteer Bruce who came to help.

Bob built birdhouses out of some scrap lumber and leftover paint. He cut out flowers, bees, butterflies and little birdhouses for the children to paint. It poured with thunder and lightning as soon as they arrived, so we piled into the greenhouse and painted. There were about 3 dozen church members painting, and everything came out so cute and colorful! We are so grateful for their help and they have offered to come back at some point to help again, maybe in September. Keep Islip Clean (KIC) gave us water and granola bars for the volunteers, and also donated cans of paint and brushes for the project.

In the first photo of the stuff piled up on the porch beforehand, you can see two birdhouses made to look like the Islip Train Station and a Barn. They will be mounted in the Kid’s Garden. Bob also built a sign/fence that kids can pose behind that will be installed facing the playground.

Once the rain broke, the church volunteers descended on the weeds in the vegetable garden and did an amazing job. The area along the greenhouse will be planted up as the Stehling Rose Garden. The area behind it, next to the Kid’s Corner has been planted up as a shade garden in honor of Marge O’Connor. We also painted signs for the greenhouse and the garden fence.

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Brookwood Hall Cleanup

Brookwood Hall Park Cleanup & Gardening Day!

This year on April 22nd, Keep Islip Clean (KIC) and Project Bloom Master Gardeners are hosting a cleanup at Brookwood Hall Park! Everyone is welcome, from Scout groups to local gardeners! It is from 9AM until 5PM, everyone should meet at Brookwood Hall on Irish Lane and Montauk Highway in East Islip. For more information call the Islip Arts Council at 631-224-5420 or KIC at 631-224-2627.

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