Greenhouse Newsletter | February

Upcoming Events:

There is something for everyone at the NYdigs Greenhouse & Kitchen! Whether you are interested in fermenting, want to learn about Sous Vide, or love to get cozy with fresh baked goods, we have the right class for you! Don’t forget to check out our 5-session Fermentation Series that covers popular topics like Miso, Kombucha, Cheese, and more

Click here to see our full schedule

The Greenhouse & Kitchen is located at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10031

Plant of the Month | ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’, Monstera deliciosa

Monstera at the Greenhouse and Kitchen

Monstera deliciosa, is a tropical, flowering plant native to southern Mexico and Panama. It is famous for the ridges and holes found on it’s more mature leaves, giving it the nickname “Swiss cheese plant.” Part of the Araceae family of plants, it can grow up to twelve feet tall with leaves that spread nearly two feet wide.

When growing in their native climates monstera produces fruit, known as “Mexican breadfruit,” that look like ears of corn with a pineapple-like flesh, and are said to taste like a medley of banana, mango, and pineapple. These fruits can take up to a year to ripen, and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if consumed before ripe. Important to note, all other parts of the plant are toxic to both humans and animals if eaten.

There has been much speculation about the interesting shape and pattern of the leaves, specifically about the holes giving the plant the popular nickname “Swiss cheese plant.” One theory suggests that the holes maximize the leaf’s surface area, allowing it to capture more sunlight on the forest floor. Another suggests that the holes allow tropical rains to pass through the leaves with less damage to the plant, inspiring another common nickname “hurricane plant.”

Fruit from Monstera

Monstera deliciosa is an easy plant to care for in your home. They are relatively low maintenance, and will thrive in most environments. The plants do well in areas with filtered, indirect light, as too much harsh sunlight will scorch the leaves. They prefer soil that is consistently, slightly moist, but are sensitive to overwatering. They typically need to be watered no more than once a week, or if the top two inches of soil are dry. Because monstera are natural climbers, once the plant grows more mature it helps to add a stake or trellis to provide extra support. If your monstera grows too large, they respond well to trimming, and you can even use the cuttings to start a new plant!

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden, Gardenista, Greenerynyc, Gardeningknowhow

Seasonal Recipes: From Our Kitchen to Yours

Split Pea Soup with Parsley Croutons

Split Pea Soup is perfect, healthy meal for a cold winter day. Full of flavor and loaded with potatoes, peas, and carrots, it is not only just filling, but also delicious. For a crunchy addition, top it with homemade croutons!

8 servings

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried (or 1 Tablespoon fresh) oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium red boiling potatoes, diced (unpeeled)
  • 1 pound dried split green peas
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock or water

 

  • 1 baguette (day-old is fine)
  • ¼ cup (fresh) parsley, chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In 6-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic with a few tablespoons olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper until onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, split peas and vegetable stock. Bring to boil and simmer, uncovered for approximately 40 minutes or until peas are soft. Stir frequently.

While soup is simmering, cut up baguette into 1-inch cubes and toss with olive oil and chopped parsley and spread out on a sheet tray. Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until crisp.

Enjoy soup served hot with croutons.

Recipe by The Hort’s own, Annette Nielsen

Baked Chicken with Vegetables

  • 1-1/4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 small lemon, sliced
  • 1 package (5 ounces) fresh spinach

 

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onions, oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to a 15x10x1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over vegetables. Top with lemon slices. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender, 35-40 minutes.

Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Top vegetables with spinach. Roast until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.

Recipe by Chef Noah Sheetz of Chef’s Consortium

Greenhouse Plant of the Month: Elephant Ear | Colocasia esculenta

 

The elephant ear plant, or Colocasia, is a flowering plant in the Araceae family. It is native to southeastern Asian and India. It’s name is derived from the Greek work kolokasion, which Dioscorides (a Greek Botanist) meant the edible roots of both Colocasia esculenta and Nelumbo nucifera (Lotus). More obviously, the name Elephant Ear comes from its large leaves that resemble the ears of an elephant.

While the roots are edible (known as Taro) – and have been harvested for over 10,000 years – the leaves and stems are not, unless cooked or fermented first, as they contain microscopic, needle-like raphides.

The Elephant Ear plants require full sun or part shade with wet soil. They can grow anywhere from 3 to 10 feet tall with a 2 to 10 foot spread. It thrives in Zones 9-11 and can endure temperatures down to 30 degrees. They make great companions with other plants in the Araceae family or as a dramatic centerpiece in mixed containers.

Swing by the Greenhouse at Denny Farrell Riverbank State park to view the thriving elephant ear plant!

Greenhouse Plant of the Month: Meyer Lemon | Citrus x meyeri

Meyer Lemon tree is known for its beautiful, scented white blooms and large, bright yellow lemons. The fruit’s flavor is less acidic, juicier, and sweeter than a common lemon. These trees can be used ornamentally around homes or patios and can be grown as a houseplant.

 

History of the Meyer Lemon

Citrus x meyeri is a citrus fruit native to China. Agricultural explorer Frank Meyer, an employee of the USDA, collected a sample of the tree while on a trip to China in 1908. Botanists believe it is a hybrid of a Citrus limon (Lemon) and Citrus reticulata (mandarin orange). For nearly a hundred years it was widely unused as an ingredient and typically found as an ornamental. That changed in the late 90s when chefs, including Martha Stewart and Alice Waters, ‘rediscovered’ its flavor and uses in culinary dishes and treats.

 

 

Growing Tips

The Meyer Lemon thrives in warm climates and is fairly vigorous: when grown from seed, the tree usually fruits within four years and can yield many fruits year-round. While it performs best at temperatures around 70 degrees, it can survive brief temperatures below 40 degrees, but does not tolerate frost. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 55F will cause them to go dormant. Meyer Lemons can grow anywhere from 6-10 feet tall with a 4-8 foot spread.

Place the container outdoors in the late spring in the full sun, clear of the last frost and protected from the wind. Bring indoors in the fall to let the tree overwinter. Meyer Lemons require moderate water in the winter with an increase needed during the summer and while producing fruit.

 

See the Meyer Lemon at the Greenhouse

Currently, the greenhouse’s small Meyer Lemon is producing seven fruits while the taller Meyer Lemon is showing off its bright, beautiful white blooms. You can stop by the greenhouse to see the Citrus x meyeri anytime during the scheduled hours.

 

Click here to see our upcoming events/workshops at the Greenhouse!

Fall 2017 Workshops, Cooking Classes, and Free Activities with NYdigs

Looking for something to do? Stop by the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park Greenhouse and Classroom to join The Hort’s NYdigs program for workshops, classes, and activities. Find information about some of our popular fall events below.

Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is located at 679 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10031

Workshops and Cooking Classes

Workshops and classes have a limited number of tickets, please register online or at the greenhouse at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park

Sensational Thanksgiving Sides: Healthy Twists on Classic Sides

Tuesday, November 14th | 6:30pm | All Ages | $10
Create delicious autumn-inspired side dishes perfect for the holidays or any day! In this course, you will explore different techniques, spice combinations, and preparation styles that will take a standard dish to the next level.

Register for this class

 

Fall Fermented Vegetables

Thursday, November 16th | 6:30pm | All Ages | $20
In this course we will cover the basic science behind making ferments focusing on using fall veggies: beets, turnips, pumpkins, and more. We will talk about why it’s good for you, and we’ll teach you how to make it yourself. If you are interested in Old World food preservation, gut health, or fermentation in general, this is the class for you!

Register for this class

 

International Breads: Sourdough, Injera, Idlis, and Dosas

Thursday, December 7th | 6:30pm | All Ages | $20
This class will explore the history, health benefits, and learn how to make Idlis(South Indian breakfast cake), Injera (Ethiopian flatbread), and Dosa (fermented crepe).

Register for this class

 

Artisanal Pizza & Toppings: Pesto, Ricotta, and More

Tuesday, January 16th 2018 | 6:30pm | All Ages | $10
Discover the art of pizza making and topping selection with this hands-on course. You will learn how to make artisanal pizza topped with house-made ricotta, kale, pumpkin, and more!

Register for this class

 

Free Activities and Events

The following programs are free and open to the public – no registration required.

Tea Time
Tuesdays | 10am-12pm | All Ages | Free
From hibiscus to green, make your own delicious & organic, herbal tea that will refresh and rejuvenate. Taste your tea with a book in the greenhouse or take it home with you!

Kid’s Nature Crafts
Saturdays | 11am – 1pm | Ages 3 – 10 | Free
Come by the greenhouse for kid-friendly, nature-inspired crafts, up-close critter investigations, garden books and more!

A Walk in the Park
Saturdays | 1pm – 2pm | All Ages | Free
Go on a walk and explore the environment of Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park. We will discuss the park wildlife, include binoculars for bird watching, and end with tea in the greenhouse.
*Weather Permitting

DIY: All-Natural Salve
November 21| 1pm – 2pm | Ages 18+ | Free
December 5, 19 | 1 pm – 2pm | Ages 18+ | Free
Salves are the perfect way to ward off the dry, cold season. Learn how herbal salves can protect and heal your skin. Take one home with you, too!

Print Making with Nature: Holiday Cards
December 1, 15 | 1pm – 2pm | All Ages | Free
Using leaves, petals, and other natural material, learn the basics of print making and how to incorporate the found material. Everyone gets to make a card to take home.

Supported By:

In Partnership With:

 

Family Fun Day at Riverbank State Park

On Saturday June 3rd, with the support of Council Member Mark Levine (Manhattan District 7), the Hort’s NYdigs program hosted a family fun day at Riverbank State Park featuring three of our favorite things: planting, exploring, and eating!

Set-up in the park’s busy courtyard, children (and parents too!) quickly found their way to the plant table – attracted by flats of Marigolds, Tomatoes, Basil, Dill, Parsley, and Carnations. They decorated their own pot, scooped rich soil to prepare the transplant, and chose which seedling to care for at home. At the end of the afternoon, over 200 plants found their way to new, happy gardeners.

With plants in hand, many families joined a nature exploration led by a Hort educator. Each explorer spent time searching for birds with binoculars, discussing the mighty Hudson River, and learning a new fact or two. Did you know there have been whale sightings in the Hudson?

Finally, Chef Noah Sheetz prepared three delicious, all-natural recipes for everyone totaste. A beautiful, purple beet hummus served with crackers and veggies prepared the palate; which gave way to a satisfying vegetable and root salad; and finished with a chocolaty, crunchy quinoa energy bite! The recipes are below if you would like to recreate the delectable experience.

 

Recipes by Chef Noah Sheetz

 

Introducing NYdigs: Plant-based Nutrition & Wellness Education

In 2017, the Horticultural Society of New York will launch NYdigs, a community outreach program that will connect New Yorkers to plant-based nutrition and wellness education. Offering a variety of free and affordable gardening courses, special events, hands-on workshops, and informative conferences, NYdigs will educate New Yorkers about how gardens, landscapes, and green infrastructure can positively affect their communities, families, and lives.

NYdigs will host programs, conferences, and special events throughout the city. From the art of making soap, to the benefits of cooking with fresh vegetables, to our Urban Agriculture Conference, programs and events will be rooted in the Hort’s mission: cultivating the vital connection between people and plants.

To stay up-to-date on all things NYdigs, sign up for our mailing list or visit our NYdigs webpage: thehort.org/nydigs

NYdigs is proudly sponsored by Burpee Seeds and Plants.