25 Plants in our Garden Beds

A young gardener with a large zucchini harvested from the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Garden and Compost Site in the Bronx, NY.Each year our Spring Garden Interns spend time planning what will grow in our garden for the season and develop a planting chart. Below are 25 plants Brendan, Vanessa, Blessing and Alexia decided to plant during our 25th Anniversary Year and some of the reasons they made their decisions!  All of the produce we grow is either used in cooking demonstrations at our Youth Run Farm Stand at Amalgamated Houses or is donated to Marble Hill Senior Center.

  • Black and yellow cherry tomatoes– We picked this for its unusual color, we want people to see something that’s not the normal tomato.
  • Red and Green Okra- They are a good source of vitamins and iron. The plant grows tall with fruits at each leaf.
  • Eggplants- The leaves are really fluffy and children who visit the garden love to touch them. They feel like a “teddy bear” or their “favorite blanket”. This year we have the fancy black type and smaller table eggplants
  • Carrots- People used to grow carrots for medicinal reasons. They come in red, yellow, and purple varieties in addition to the orange kind you often see.
  • Cantaloupe- One of our favorite type of melons so we decided to grow it.
  • Pumpkin- People use them for jack-o-lanterns but we planted the smaller variety.
  • Sunchokes- Also called Jerusalem Artichokes are a good of potassium.
  • Cherries- This tree sits by our picnic table. They belong to the rose family along with almonds, peaches and plums. We hope the birds don’t eat them all this year.
  • Hot peppers- Serrano peppers to be exact along with a few other varieties. There are over 1000 varieties of peppers. Ours will become Bronx Hot Sauce this year.
  • Lettuce- Did you know this is the second most popular vegetable in the S.?
  • Asparagus- This perennial will hopefully be around for many years in our garden. An early spring plant it has already started to grow this year.
  • Mint- Used for tea and candy it has a good scent and visitors like to try it when they come to our garden.
  • Strawberries- They are sweet and delicate.
  • Broccoli- Can be used in many dishes and is always good covered in cheese. School children love this one because it is easily recognizable.
  • Garlic- Can be used for seasoning and it keeps the vampires away! Because garlic is a bulb last years interns planted it in the fall and we will harvest it this summer when they mature.
  • Cabbage- Good with rice.
  • Green zucchini- You can bake it into zucchini bread like we did- it was delicious.
  • Cucumbers- really good in salads or to flavor water and have a lot of vitamins.
  • Chives- used in many dishes to flavor food. Our chives were started 5 years ago and grow back every year.
  • Basil- Grows really well with tomatoes.
  • Kale- Can be added to smoothies and salads. The variety we choose are tall with curly green leaves but there are flat leaf and even purple varieties.
  • Onions- both red and yellow are planted this year.
  • Purple and red potatoes- Yes we have purple potatoes but beware the plants contain a chemical that makes it toxic so only eat the tuber.
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard- Tall green leaves with colorful red, purple, yellow or white stems and has a taste similar to spinach.
  • Blueberry Bushes- This perennial will be another plant we leave behind in the garden for many years. 

Friends to hold VIP Reception & NY Philharmonic Concert

For Immediate Release
May 23rd, 2017

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park to hold VIP Reception & NY Philharmonic Concert

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park present A VIP Reception & New York Philharmonic Concert in Van Cortlandt Park with the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday June 13th, 2017 starting at 6:30pm.  Tickets for the event are $75 and are available for purchase online.  This year, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are celebrating their 25th Anniversary and this is one of many events in 2017 to commemorate the occasion.

Our guests will enjoy:

  • Pre-Concert Libations and Hors d’oeuvres under a tent on the lawn of the Van Cortlandt House Museum;
  • Reserved V.I.P. seating on chairs for the New York Philharmonic Concert on the Parade Ground; and,
  • Free parking in Manhattan College’s Parking Garage

Special thank you to our sponsors (to date):

Fieldston Property Owners
Lloyd’s Carrot Cake
Skyview Wine and Spirits

Sponsorship opportunities still available, please contact Christina@vancortlandt.org for details.

Please Note:
The New York Philharmonic reserves the right to cancel the performance due to inclement weather.  The VIP Reception will take place rain or shine, tickets will not be refunded.  For day-of information, visit www.vancortlandt.org or call 718-601-1460.

The New York Philharmonic Concert is a FREE event for the general public; however to enjoy VIP seats at the concert you must purchase tickets for the Friends’ VIP Reception.

Save the Date:  Friends of Van Cortlandt Park 25th Anniversary Gala will be held on the evening of Sunday October 15th, 2017 at the Van Cortlandt Golf Lake House.

For more information:

Christina Taylor, Executive Director of Friends of Van Cortlandt Park

Email: christina@vancortlandt.org

Phone: 718-601-1460.

Website: www.vancortlandt.org


25 Climate Change Solutions for Earth Day

Trash booms, like this one at the northern edge of the Park, placed across Tibbetts Brook help reduce the amount of trash that moves into the lake ecosystem.

Trash booms, like this one at the northern edge of the Park, placed across Tibbetts Brook help reduce the amount of trash that moves into the lake ecosystem.

As we get ready to celebrate another Earth Day in Van Cortlandt Park, we wanted to share a summary of 25 ways the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park are working to address climate change within Van Cortlandt Park. The Friends are actively working on several of these but some are in the works to begin within the next year or so. As always, we welcome the support and assistance of the community so please let us know if you are interested in helping with any of these items. And why 25? If you haven’t heard, it’s our 25th Anniversary so 25 is a special number for us this year.

1. FVCP community gardening
Growing local produce in our garden to provide residents with locally grown food that reduces travel costs, green house gas emissions and creates green space.

2. Garden Education
Garden education at the FVCP garden promotes the necessary skills and knowledge to manage and maintain an urban garden and provides experience based learning for school groups often giving children their first experience with urban agriculture. By creating future gardeners FVCP is ensuring the establishment of local green spaces critical for fighting climate change. Read more »

Press Release- Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Launches First Annual Discovery Hunt

For Immediate Release
April 20, 2017

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Launches First Annual Discovery Hunt

“Are you ready, get set, discover!”

So ends the just issued call by the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park launching the first ever Van Cortlandt Park Discovery Hunt. Open to all, contestants are challenged to solve 10 of 12 clues identifying various locations in the Park, photograph themselves at that location and submit their photos and identifying information to the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. The contest launched April 7th and contestants have until May 15th to submit their solved clues and photos. Read more »

Press Release- Friends of VCP Welcomes New Board Members

For Immediate Release
April 10th, 2017

Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Welcomes New Board Members

The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park is pleased to announce that over the last few months four new members have joined our Board of Directors: Susan Baldwin, Karel Littman, Jessica Loeser and Howie Waldman.  This is especially exciting as we our celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year with a variety of special events throughout the year.

Friends of Van Cortlandt Parks Newest Board Members:

Susan Baldwin: An Associate Broker for Robert E. Hill, Inc., Susan is recognized as one of Riverdale’s most successful and respected real estate professionals. With over 25 years of real estate sales and marketing experience,

Karel Littman: Executive Director of the South Broadway Business Improvement District (BID) a 501c3 not-for-profit organization established to enhance and promote this Yonkers Main Street as a regional shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

Jessica Loeser: Special Counsel for Goldstein Hall whose practice is concentrated in Land Use Law, Zoning, Real Estate Transactions, and Landmarks Preservation.

Howie Waldman: Green Dean (since 2008) and Teacher (since 1998) 9th grade biology, science research, evolution, animal behavior, and City Semester at Ethical Fieldston Culture School. Read more »

Launch of the Coalition for Daylighting Tibbetts Brook

Councilman Andrew Cohen introducing Councilman Mark Levine to discuss the daylighting of Tibbetts Brook.

Councilman Andrew Cohen introducing Councilman Mark Levine to discuss the Daylighting of Tibbetts Brook.

On the evening of Tuesday March 7th 2017, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park (FVCP) hosted over 80 attendees in the Kelly Commons Building of Manhattan College to officially launch the Coalition for Daylighting Tibbetts Brook.  Attendees included elected officials, representatives of Coalition members, FVCP Bronx Pass Members, FVCP Board of Directors and others.  At the event, presentations to discuss where we are now and next steps were made by Councilman Andrew Cohen, Councilman Mark Levine, Jamie Ong (Project Manager for NYC Parks) and Christina Taylor (FVCP Executive Director).  FVCP Board Chair, Christopher Rizzo, wrapped up the evening with highlights of FVCP’s 25th Anniversary Year. Gary Axelbank, Bronx Talk, Emceed the evening. Read more »