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A group of young girls participating in the Oyster Bay Seedling Program (Photo from the Oyster Bay Main Street Association)

Oyster Bay Seedling Program Brightens Up Main Street

In an office suite sitting in downtown Oyster Bay, Meredith Maus and Sarah Kostakis run the Oyster Bay Main Street Association. Here they spend their days working to keep Oyster Bay filled with businesses and people, preserve the history of the town, and develop plans for the beautification of the town. Maus is the association’s Executive Director, and has worked through the ranks beginning her career with the association in 2012. Kostakis is the association’s Director of Development.

Throughout the year the association organizes efforts to work on beautification, such as hanging wreaths in the winter, and installing benches and planters throughout downtown. In the spring the association’s Beautification Committee sponsors a seedling program which started in the spring of 2022. Members of the community are invited to come and take a seedling starter kit to later be planted, in turn contributing to the beautification of the downtown area.

Registration for the seedling program is open now, and the association calls for citizens of all ages to sign up and participate. In past years over 200 participants have been drawn to the program.
The program works by handing out easy to understand starter seedling kits. Those who register are invited to a free informational session run by horticulturist Donna Moramarco where they will learn how to grow and care for the seedlings, and be given all the materials they need.

Participants will care for their seedlings until mid to late May, whereupon the seedlings, which will have since sprouted, will be collected. Once collected the seedlings will be planted in gardens throughout Oyster Bay.

Growing the seedlings is not the only way to participate in the program. The association is also looking for volunteers who are interested in planting the seedlings when the time comes in late May or early June, as well as those interested in planning the areas for planting.

The kit handed out includes seeds, a soil pellet, instructions, and carton for planting (Photo from the Oyster Bay Main Street Association)

Included in the kit given out to participants is a packet of marigold and zinnia seeds, a soil pellet, and a business card with a QR code for more information, along with any other necessary materials.
The association lists advice on their website for how to best take care of the seedlings. The seedlings should start growing in indirect sunlight and once the seedling has germinated move it to an area with direct sunlight. To assist the growth of the plants, the soil pellets provided in the kit are made of dehydrated coconut coir which provides nutrients to the seedlings. The association encourages participants to move the seedlings outside once they germinate, so long as the temperature is above 60 degrees. Other advice includes rotating the seedlings to ensure equal sunlight distribution and making sure to keep the plants watered.

Further guidance can be found at the Oyster Bay Main Street Association website, on the “Planting Tips” page.

The program is part of a larger beautification effort from the Oyster Bay Main Street Association. The association’s employees work in conjunction with its board members to create and instate programs for the betterment of the hamlet. The hope of this program is “By actively involving participants, it fosters a sense of ownership and connection to downtown Oyster Bay, reinforcing community engagement.” Moreover, the program significantly enhances the aesthetic appeal of the area, contributing to its overall beautification and charm.

Other projects citizens may recognize from the Main Street Association include, improved signage for business in the area, hanging planters along downtown, and the Holiday Stroll in December. Specific to beautification the association is planning on adding new uniform planters, benches and bike racks to the area.

The Oyster Bay Main Street Association is also excited to announce their inaugural “Gold Coast Book Fair ‘’ which will run from June 28 to June 30 in collaboration with Long Island University and Theodore’s Books.

For more information about the association, and the seedling program visit their website at oysterbaymainstreet.org. Registration for this program, and other events from the association can be found on the website.

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