Yes, it's been raining in New York for days and it feels like the sun may never shine again. But I know eventually, the skies will clear and I'll be able to get outside to do some more gardening. And right about now is when we go shopping for all the supplies we'll need for the season.
Over several years of gardening in New York City, my husband and I have discovered several local shops that offer a great selection of pots, soil, plants and other essentials at relatively good prices. Of course, New Yorkers will never have the breadth of choice that our suburban cohorts have, but we can find everything we need just fine.
Having a Home Depot across town is a big help. Every spring we make the trek to the 23rd St. store to pick up the basics like Miracle Grow potting soil. This year we got new window boxes (at about $10 a piece). I also learned that six packs of impatiens were going for a very reasonable 99 cents each last week!
Try Saiffee Hardware, in the East Village at 114 First Avenue and 7th St. to find cedar planters at decent prices. It also carries a variety of fertilizers, soil and tools.
In the flower district, Jamali Garden Supplies at 149 W. 28th St,which is jam packed with everything from the hard to find but essential Hoffman Tomato Food to decorative items for entertaining outdoors, has even better prices.
A wholesaler directly across the street sells cedar planters and other containers at deep discounts.
Whole Foods carries organic seeds for a variety of herbs and veggies. Most are $2 or under.
For seedlings, the Union Square Green Market cannot be beat. The selection runs the gamut from basic basil to a wealth of heirloom tomato varieties, eggplant, lettuce and well, almost anything that you could think of growing.
While hitting the pavement has its benefits, some items are just easier to find online. In early spring, we log onto Tomatofest.com to buy our organic heirloom tomato seeds. The variety is endless and the seeds always produce strong plants.
Miller Nurseries, http://www.millernurseries.com, will ship fruit trees and bushes. We ordered our blueberry bushes from Miller last season, along with special fertilizer and a digital PH meter. (Full disclosure: the plants flamed out during a heat wave. This year we bought more mature plants at a nursery in Morristown, New Jersey.)
Serious gardeners looking to create an automated watering system can head to The Drip Store at http://dripirrigation.com/. The site carries a comprehensive selection of timers, tubing, valves, filters and more. It takes a mechanical mind to assemble such a system, but it’s worth it. No more early morning watering before work or calling in the neighbors when you’re on vacation!