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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - April 06, 2012

From: Holbrook, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants
Title: Growing fruits and vegetables from Holbrook NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have been looking for information on what plants, vegetables and fruits can be grown on Long Island NY to provide a sustainable food source for a community in the event of food becoming scarce. What would be the most efficient crops to farm in the climate and soil of Long Island? Also are there any plants with medicinal properties which would grow under the same conditions?


We are sorry, but farming is somewhere out of our expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. Most fruits and vegetables are non-native to North America and/or have been so heavily hybridized that their origin and culture is difficult to determine.

University Extension Offices are much more into farming and selection of plants than we are. We suggest you contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office for Suffolk County.  They very likely have pamphlets or other handouts on this subject that is particular to your location on Long Island.


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