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radishes in hand

Hands (Almost) in the Dirt

By Jenny Wonderling | March 22, 2023

Are you dreaming of flourishing herb gardens, colorful vegetables and berries, fruit and tree groves, logs inoculated with mushroom spores and more? That’s Mother Nature speaking to you, so we pulled together our Top 10 Picks for Gardens and Landscaping Resources in the Hudson Valley.

Yes, it’s the time of year to plan your gardens, although for now, we have to settle for envisioning the beautiful bounty that awaits, and appreciate that we still have some time to consider what seeds, trees, and the like may go where, while we research our top picks for local resources.

Lettuce in a garden with mountain view in the background

Thankfully the Hudson Valley has wonderful resources for all your garden needs, even of the heirloom, non-GMO, organic and native varieties that are gentler on Mama Earth. You’ll also find in our list below, places to test your soil so that your garden growing gets off to a good start and flourishes–and we have numerous resources for soil, mulch, compost, stone and garden supplies and services. For more personalized help, there are many experts who can advise, establish and/or maintain your gardens for you.

irises blooming in a flower garden

Our team at Inside+Out is so excited to get our hands and bare feet in the dirt. But first… (drum roll) we would like to offer a story about the most famous animal meteorologist and harbinger of spring.

So, once upon a time, back in 1887…

It was the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” that extravagantly granted one furry little guy the grandiose name of “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary.” This was proclaimed the same year the same “faithful followers of Phil” declared Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to be the weather capital of the world. Yes, we’re talking about the OG groundhog himself.

Photo of a groundhog in the grass perched up and looking around

Today, annual groundhog representatives have generously and boldly continued the tradition. Legend has it…

> When the Cute Chubby Guy Sees His Shadow: If the waddling oracle emerges from his den and sees his shadow on a clear day, it has been foretold that he will retreat (yawning) and…there will be six more weeks of wintry weather. Or…

> No Shadow: If the furry guy wakes, comes out to greet the day, and does NOT see his shadow, then early spring weather is a comin’.

This year, according to we would have another 6 weeks of winter. So far, the appointed fur ball has been…correct!

Why February 2nd?

The famous Groundhog's Day event in PA

February 2nd, or Groundhog Day, as it’s come to be known in the US, celebrates the return of spring’s fertility and longer, light-filled days on the horizon. Candlemas (aka Candelaria) and Imbolc are celebrated in other parts of the world on the same day as a momentous occasion because it is the midpoint between December’s winter solstice and the spring equinox in March. The significance of this day is derived from ancient cultures and even today, reminds us to pay attention to and prepare for an earth that will soon be reawakening. Essentially, we are getting a calendric nudge to reconnect our hands and hearts to the earth, and to plan. Saving, buying, exchanging, even starting seeds, and testing our soil, let’s dream what we want to help grow, enjoy and share.

And now…(second drum roll)

Our Top 10 Picks for Gardens and Landscaping Resources in the Hudson Valley 

sprouting plants in dark soil

Cornell Cooperative Extension | Kingston + Rhinebeck | @cce_ulster

Cornell Cooperative Extension offers local soil testing for home and commercial applications. Soil probes can also be rented: Ulster County: Soil sample drop off: 232 Plaza Road, Kingston Plaza, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $3 per sample and $1 for each additional sample. Dutchess County Office: Drop off sample: extension office at the Dutchess County Farm & Home Center, 2715 Route 44 Millbrook, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., April through October. Cost is $15 per sample.

Catskill Fungi | Big Indian, NY | @catskillfungi

Catskill Fungi has a foundation of permaculture principles. The core of our business is about helping people and improving the planet through our work with fungi. We practice and educate about sustainable harvesting, leave-no-trace principles, and compassion for the environment. Classes, tinctures, resources, mushroom walks, support.

turnips in hand
Catskill Native Nursery | Kerhonkson, NY | @catskillnativenursery

​Trees, shrubs, plants of all kinds including indoor, soil, mulch, organic vegetable starts and seeds, compost, stone products, herbs, urns, gifts, garden statuary, water lilies, garden installation and landscaping services. They also install bluestone and Unilock patios, walkways, walls, fire pits, pool copings and outdoor kitchens.

Hudson Valley Organics | New Lebanon, NY

Compost, mulch, topsoil, garden soil, and raised bed mix. “Raw materials are tested as well; they include horse, cow and sheep manure.” Delivery available. Bulk orders only.

Pink flower in hand with potted plants in the background

Hudson Valley Seed Company | Accord, NY | @hudsonvalleyseedco

An inspirational and local source for heirloom, open-pollinated, organic garden seeds and beautiful garden-themed contemporary art. Never GMO. “We are committed to growing organically, sourcing locally and sustainably, and preserving crop diversity by selecting unique, rare, and hard-to-find varieties.” One of the first companies to sign the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI). “We believe that a seed is more than meets the eye: it is a time capsule telling tales of the plants, crops, and people that came before us, and we work with a range of artists as diverse as our seeds to pass those stories down to present and future gardeners.”

Kalleco Nursery Corp | Tillson, NY | @kalleconursery

Plants, trees, shrubs, landscape design, stone, tools, decor, gifts, seeds, statuary, soil, mulch, compost, grass seed, and more. Retail quantities as well as bulk available.

squash and a hand

Manza Family Farms | Montgomery, NY | @manzafarmgardencenter

An impressive selection of perennials, grasses, shrubs, seeds and a huge stock of trees on 20 acres which they also grow on their 40-acre farm. You pick pumpkins, hayrides and more seasonally too.

Tantillo Landscape Supplies  | Gardiner, NY

Screened manure, topsoil, premium mix, mushroom compost, Sweet Peet® organic mulch, stone, gardening supplies and more.

box garden with cabbage and lettuces
The Phantom Gardener | Rhinebeck, NY | @phantom_gardener

A one-stop-shop for sustainable and organic gardening solutions on 6 acres for more than 20 years, including classes and hands-on workshops year-round. Organic veggie and herb starters, trees and shrubs, organic fertilizers, pest control, pottery, tools, unique gifts, landscaping services, and much more!

Victoria’s Gardens | Rosendale, NY | @victoriagardens.ny

Classes, events, full landscaping services, trees, shrubs, perennials, all kinds of indoor and outdoor plants, mulch and soil, as well as a robust shop chock full of seeds, plant care, tools, gifts, statuary, garden ornaments, and more.

greenhouse and garden with mountain in the background

Please note some of these businesses are seasonal so call to confirm hours and availability.
Photos: Jenny Wonderling

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