Sunday, September 5, 2010

Staten Island Zoo, You're Pretty Cool

Living in Staten Island, we are the pit of all jokes from the rest of the boroughs. Whenever I meet new people in the other boroughs (especially Manhattan) and tell them that I live in Staten Island, they give me this face, that is part disgust and part "why on Earth would you live there"? If I had a dollar for every "face" I would have lots of extra money to spend on my garden. Haha. I don't blame them. I too am guilty of this "face" before I moved here. The reason we considered Staten Island was because I lived decades of my life in Queens, Brooklyn (I never lived in Manhattan) and to be honest, I grew tired of living in a 850 square foot apartment (or less) with no backyard, no terrace, no "outdoors" to speak of. We are lucky to have a pretty substantial backyard. Also, Staten Island actually has a lot of amazing things to do. There are beaches, an amazing Botanical Garden, Museums, and the Staten Island Zoo. However, many people in the other boroughs rarely come into Staten Island to see these fun places. It's a bit of a trek if you don't have access to a car. Which most people in the city do not. It's also not very accessible with mass transit.

I visited the zoo for the first time yesterday with some friends we had visiting from out of town. To my surprise, in the middle of the zoo was this pretty cool vegetable garden. I have never seen a vegetable garden at any zoo I've been to.

The basil was gigantic. I mean huge Italian leaf basil. Giant leaves. The smell was out of this world. I really wanted to pick a leaf and pop it in my mouth, but I resisted. Hahahhaha If you bigify this photo, you will see tomato plants, eggplants, and basil. I kept thinking, how in the heck did they grow this basil so big. I saw that they were sitting on raised beds. The soil must be rich with fertilizer or nutrients.

Here in the back of this photo are some pepper plants. Aren't they huge? They were easily 5 feet tall. I was in awe of how large the plants are. I'm growing peppers too, and it sure as heck does not look like that! I couldn't help but wonder if these vegetables are eaten by either the animals or used within the Cafe at the zoo. There was no sign near the garden. We also saw grapevines at the zoo also, with grapes. However, my camera ran out of battery so I didn't get a photo. Staten Island Zoo, you're pretty cool in my book.


  1. Very cool! I've never seen a garden at a zoo, either. I bet they use some of that rich "zoo poo" to grow the plants so lush. A couple of my peppers are about 5 feet tall as well, but a third pepper in the very same pot is only 6 inches tall! Weird.

  2. I think the size of the plants could have something to do with the fact that the zoo has a pretty productive local source of fertilizer (i.e. manure). You might even been able to get some for your own garden.

  3. I've never been to The Staten Island Zoo...even though we only live a little over an hour from the city. My husband "The Italian" has been there. He was born in NYC. We do go to the city several time a year to see a show and get some good cheese in "Little Italy" what's left of it.

    That's great that they have a veggie garden in the zoo!

  4. I love the idea of a veggie garden at a zoo, our little zoo needs to do that. I agree with everyone else, it's got to be the special zoo fertilizer. Can you imagine how much great compost that zoo must have.

  5. wow, who would have thought they'd find a veggie garden at a zoo? you sold the zoo for me. next time i'm in the city, i'll have to give it a tour.

  6. I wish we had a zoo nearby. We certainly have the population to support one, but nada.

    Did you ever get that list I made for you about the garden shed?

  7. I blogged the shed from day one. You might have to scroll down some of the later ones, but here they are, in order:

  8. The shed has 4'x8' Hardie board siding, so the side walls are 8' high, the peak looks like it adds another 40". That's way too high for your application. A lean-to type shed would work well for you, 7' at the front sloped to 6-1/2 feet in the back. We have one like that in AZ,and it works very well for us. Actually we have two, one serves as our laundry room!

    My son, John, works at a large RV sales and service place. When they get the big new RVs in, there's sometimes a tiny scratch or ding on something, and it's hardly noticeable, but they replace it and just dispose of really good stuff. That's where we got the windows. The skylight and fan I decided against at the last minute. If I were going to use the shed strictly for gardening, I'd like to have them, but Mr. Granny decided to park the riding mower, the push mower and the big garden trailer in there, so it ended up just giving me a small storage and potting area for my plants and materials. Not exactly the way I had it planned ;-)

  9. Yup, that would be my guess too. Zoo Doo - they sell it at our Jackson, MS Zoo.


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