Community Gardens

Summer’s more or less upon us, and many of us do not have our own yards or gardens. What to do? Find a community garden!

Before I lived in CH, I spent two years in Hell’s Kitchen. One of my favorite things in the neighborhood was the Clinton Community Garden. Residents just needed to show up on the appointed day with a utility bill and a small deposit and would get a key to the garden to enter at any time. Individual plots were also available for those looking to grow veggies or flowers.

It’s taken me awhile to seek out the community gardens in our area, mainly because there are so many and because a lot of the info I found online is incorrect. I recently spent a sweaty Sunday hoofing around the hood to see what was available. I checked much of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill to just past Classon. I’ve coordinated with BedStuy Blog, who will be posting the Bed-Stuy gardens today as well.

(Most of my specific info on garden offerings was culled from OasisNYC.)
Name: Brooklyn Bears Carlton Ave. Garden
Address: 397-401 Carlton Avenue

Cross Streets: Btwn. Greene and Fulton

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Garden Description: Part of this garden is a productive farm, with giant boxes divided for multiple members and a huge planting oval for community vegetables. There’s also beautifully landscaped flower beds all watched over by a colorful mural featuring a winged mantis. (The group gets its name from an abandoned teddy bear found on the site at an early clean-up day.)

Name: Greene Garden
Address: 2 S. Portland Ave.

Cross Streets: De Kalb Ave. and S. Elliot
Hours: Tuesdays and Saturday
greene garden

Waiting List: No Dues: no Host Volunteers: yes
Membership Procedure: work a certain amount of hours
Year Founded: 12/1/1985

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Types of Events: music, bbqs
Structures: tool shed, gazebo, picnic tables, seats
Herbs: mint
Donate Produce: no
Ornamental Plantings: flowers

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Garden Description: Mrs. Murry’s 2nd grade class from P.S. 287 has been working very hard to save their garden. Their efforts have not gone unrecognized- the class was featured in a Daily News article in March. The children have learned about community gardening through a cross- disciplinary approach. They have used math skills to measure and record the temperature in the garden, they have learned about city government through their campaign to save the garden, they have used their writing skills to write letters to their elected officials, and they have planned many science experiments to start this growing season. The garden was started in 1992.
string of lights in greene garden
Name: Hollenback Garden
Address: 460 Washington Ave.

Cross Streets: Gates & Greene
Hours: T,Th, Sat, Sun 4:00-7:00pm
welcome

Waiting List: yes Dues: yes Host Volunteers: yes
Membership Procedure: Call Contact, Come to workday, Meet Contact at Garden,
Year Founded: 4/1/1980
Types of Events: arts, culture, education and recreation
Garden Description: Situated in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, Hollenback is the only public green space in the neighborhood. The majority of the gardeners at this garden are senior citizens, three of which were involved with starting the garden 19 years ago. The garden is also used by children from P.S. 11 and P.S. 287. After the news about the May auction, the children from both schools wrote letters to City Council member Mary Pinkett and the mayor on behalf of their garden, attended the public hearings, and decorated the garden’s fence with ribbons and signs. Three classes from P.S. 11 are planning and designing their garden plot for this season. A second grade class from P.S. 287 have planned an experiment to study the effects of the sun on plant growth. For their experiment the class plans to grow the same plants at two different community gardens one with full sun and one with shade. The gardens they plan to use for the experiment are the Hollenback garden and the Children’s Garden (2099/43). The garden was started in 1980.
individual plots

Name: Classon/Fulgate Block Association
Address: 474 Classon Avenue

Cross Streets: Putnam & Gates Ave.
Hours: Thurs & Sat: 12-5PM
classon ful-gate garden

Waiting List: no Dues: yes Host Volunteers: yes
Membership Procedure: attend a meeting and speak to contact person
Year Founded: 7/1/1983
Types of Events: barbeques,Art/Music Activities, Community Activities, Block Parties, Religious Activities
Structures: brick bbq pit, mural wall, archway, brick walkway/path
classon ful-gate garden

Amenities: mural, meeting area, artwork (paintings)
Vegetables Grown: squash, tomatoes, red peppers, collards, string beans, watermelon, potato
Donate Produce: yes
Ornamental Plantings: yes
Shade Trees: yes
Composting: container
Garden Description: Brick walkways divides garden into 2 parcels that yield numerous vegetation. Large wall mural across back wall depicts block resident history. Recreation area through archway with tables, benches, BBQ pit, tool shed and shelter.

Name: Greene Ave Cedar Tree
Address: Classon and Greene

Virtually no info on this garden online, but it looks both large and nice!

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Name: Pratt Garden
Address: DeKalb at Hall

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This garden was open on the CH house tour, but I’ve never seen it open or occupied otherwise, except for a few black cats. A shame, since there are some gorgeous flowers inside!
outside pratt garden
Name: Clifton Place Block Association
Address: 289 Grand Avenue

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Cross Streets: Clifton Place & Greene
Hours: Sat: 9-1PM

Organization Member: TPL
Waiting List: no Dues: yes Host Volunteers: yes
Membership Procedure: Ask at Garden, Volunteer,
Other Languages: Spanish, Chinese
Year Founded: 8/1/1991
Types of Events: Youth Activities, Art/Music Activities, Community Activities
Structures: seating area, tool shed
Vegetables Grown: tomatoes, lettuce, peas, turnips, eggplant
Herbs: basil, chives, parsley, sage, thyme
Donate Produce: no
Ornamental Plantings: violets, roses, lilies, peonies
Shade Trees: apple, Southern Magnolia, evergreens, dogwood
Composting: general yard waste, household waste
Garden Description: A small garden behind the school boasts a mural and hopes the garden becomes a means for the community to work with the school.

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Greene Room
Lefferts bt St. James and Grand

(I had a difficult time finding this one, so not sure if the photos are correct. They might be the wrong garden, further down Lefferts. Also, the web did not have info!)

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For garden contact info, call the city at 212-788-8070. The people at Green Thumb are extremely friendly, and can look up the info right away!

8 thoughts on “Community Gardens

  1. Kath

    Wow, what a great post. I fondly remember my community gardening days at the corner of Greene and Carlton, working the dirt with my trusty dog laying beside me in the sun. Now in that space is the giant Greene House condos. Makes me sad every time I pass by.

  2. Randolph

    Had the pleasure of living ajacent to the Greene Garden for the past few years. It’s been an unpleasant experience fraught with blaring music from a boom box at all hours and a one armed man who urinates in full few of neighbors. The gatekeeper of this place very discriminately decides who has access to this garden and treats it like his own private playground for himself and his posse. This is nonsense and has nothing to do with “community”. By the way, when the city was contacted they were non-responsive. Forget the garden; here’s a case for leveling space for afordable housing and smart(er) taxpayer spending.

  3. Waverly

    As a former So Portland resident, I can concur that no gardening goes on at Greene Garden. Like Randolph said, it does seem to only be used by a limited group of people who usually are drinking and listening to music– I’ve also seen an occasional kid’s birthday party take place there. I’m sure that in its current incarnation it is very annoying for direct neighbors due to noise (and apparent urination). But it could be made into a real garden rather than lost as green space as Randolph suggests. Fort Greene could use a true public garden space there.

  4. Meredith

    Hear hear on the Greene Garden — it seems open only to an exclusive group of people, and we actually called the authorities to register a noise complaint several weeks ago when they were showing films and blaring bass-heavy dance music in the space at 2am. I like the space, and I hope it can be used by more people — now that I know how one can gain access, maybe I’ll give it a shot (though I see that Randolph said the city contact was unresponsive).

  5. Waverly

    Good point, Kyle– I haven’t actually ever been into the garden or spoken with the people who use it. Also, it does have the feeling of an old neighborhood institution (one of a dwindling number in Ft Greene), so that’s an argument for letting it be- or going in and saying hello.

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