Nurture your inner farmer in New York's shared soil.
Tue Sep 2 2008
Date: July 14, 2008 9:19:40 PM EDT
So how does one go about getting a plot in one of those community gardens?
Greening your thumbs
Did you kill your last spider plant, but somehow still think you’ve got what it takes to be a gardener? That’s cute. You might want to check out the Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Garden (entrances on Dyckman St, Seaman Ave, and Riverside Dr; geo.hunter.cuny.edu/~mclarke/RING.htm), where prior experience—or even interest—in gardening certainly is not necessary. “I’m not into gardening at all,” says member Elizabeth Popiel. “I just love the garden.” At this casual no-individual-plots, no-veggies spot, people do what comes naturally to them: paint, hold art fairs, build benches, and even install a koi pond (for a $10 annual fee).
A similarly low-impact experience can be found at Creative Little Garden (E 6th St between Aves A and B, creativelittlegarden.org), with no residence or service requirement, wait list or individual plots, and just a $20 annual fee.
Planting a few free seeds
Ready for your first solo plot, or trying your hand at growing some veggies? Test out the waters at Pacific Street Brooklyn Bears Community Garden (Pacific St and Flatbush Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; brooklynbears.wordpress.com), which attracts “a range of people, from gardening experts to people like me who are just ‘garden-floppers,’” says gardener Jon Crow. You can sign up for your personal plot come springtime, or hang back and tend to other lush areas. “You meet the best New Yorkers in a community garden,” says Crow, who notes that gardening is for “people who are in denial that they’re living in a city.” Anyone can join and there’s no fee, as long as you do your share.
Tilling tightwads will also love the free Liz Christy Community Garden (E Houston St between Bowery and Second Ave, lizchristygarden.org), which has the distinction of being the first community garden in the city and is home to the tallest Dawn Redwood in Manhattan.
Putting down roots
William Hohauser, president of the 6th and B Garden (6th St and Ave B, 6bgarden.org) says that his members, in addition to tending the whopping 90 plots and communal spaces, stick around for social events (like garden BBQs). To join, you must live in the area (between Delancey and 14th Sts, and the Bowery and East River), pay a $12 annual fee and be willing to devote four hours a month. If you don’t meet the residence requirement, you can still visit the garden to hang out.
Committed gardeners—especially those who love fauna as much as flora—will dig the LaGuardia Corner Gardens (511 LaGuardia Pl between Bleecker and Houston Sts, laguardiacornergardens.org), which has served as a home to warblers, mockingbirds and other winged friends. Gate-opening and garden-sitting duties are required 12 hours per year, and the annual fee is a whopping $100, mostly for exterminating services (so it’s best if you don’t embrace all animals). For more community garden spots, visit Green Thumbs ( greenthumbnyc.org).
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