Community Seed Exchange at the Red Hook Library on April 21

A poppy
The Red Hook Library at 7 Wolcott St. is hosting a Community Seed Exchange on Saturday, April 21, from 2–3:30 pm. Bring seeds to exchange for seeds from fellow gardeners and for donations from Gowanus Nursery and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. No seeds to bring? No problem. According to the event’s Facebook page, “Everyone is welcome, with or without seeds. Bring what you can, and take what you need.”


First Garden Meeting of 2018: March 25

Some of the first crocuses of 2018 were up on March 1.

Spring is here! Well, not officially, but the crocuses and snowdrops are up, and the hellebore blooms aren’t far behind. The first garden meeting of 2018 is set for Sunday, March 25, at 11 am, followed by a workday. There will most likely be some light snacks. Subjects to be discussed will be open hours, box availability, a welcome to potential new members, the children’s box, the garden blog and social media, fundraisers, upcoming meeting dates and workdays and other topics. After the meeting, we’ll do some garden clean-up and early spring chores.

pale yellow crocuses in early spring against smooth black river stones in a garden plotIf you’re interested in becoming a new member, please attend the meeting for an orientation. It is free to join; members simply must keep the garden open a certain number of hours during posted times and take part in some garden events. Boxes are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please read our membership FAQ section for more information. Enjoy some early spring photos below!

snowdrop flowers against fallen fall leaves

Snowdrops are often the first flowers of the season.

A gray and white cat among garden boxes in a community garden

The somewhat shy gray and white cat who shows up in the garden was inspecting the plots in early spring.

Group of purple crocuses

A group of purple crocuses emerge in the side garden beds.

small clump of purple crocuses

Small crocus clumps provide color in the early spring.

A bright yellow crocus bloom

A cheerful bright yellow crocus heralds the impending spring season.

small lambs ears plants emerging in early spring

Leaves of other plants are emerging as well, including lambs’ ears.

crocuses and tulip leaf shoots

Pale yellow blooms of crocuses and green tulip shoots provide a cheerful contrast in early spring against the brown leaves of the previous fall.

A Look at the Summit Street Community Garden Site in the ’80s

A vacant lot at the corner of Summit and Columbia streets in Brooklyn in the 1980s

The corner of Summit and Columbia streets in the 1980s, before the lot was the Summit Street Community Garden. Photo from

The website is like a Google Street View that lets you glimpse into New York City’s past. Over a period of five years in the 1980s, the City of New York had every property in the five boroughs photographed for use by the city’s department of finance to estimate property taxes. These photos are compiled on and organized  into a searchable map view.  Since these photos were of taxable property, vacant lots were photographed as well, so many sites of the current community gardens were also photographed. Check out the corner of Summit and Columbia streets, current home to the Summit Street Community Garden, in the 1980s.

A vacant lot at the corner of Columbia and Summit streets in Brooklyn in the 1980s

This is what the Summit Street Community Garden site looked like in the 1980s. Photo from

Of course, the founding members of the Summit Street Community Garden remember this lot. As documented on the garden’s history page, in 1993, neighborhood residents began moving trash and rubble out of the lot, which was then approved  for a lease as a community garden from GreenThumb in 1994. Here are a few more recent photos of the corner of Summit and Columbia streets today.

While looking through the website, you might see some other familiar community garden sites.

The corner of Van Brunt and Hamilton in Brooklyn in the 1980s

The corner of Van Brunt Street and Hamilton Avenue, where the Backyard Garden is today. Photo from

An empty lot at the corner of Van Brunt and President streets in the 1980s.

The corner of Van Brunt and President streets, where the Urban Meadow is today. Photo from

An empty lot at the corner of Sackett and Columbia streets in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

Sackett and Columbia streets, where the Human Compass Garden is today. Photo from

To learn more about the origins of NYC community gardens, check out the WNYC  story about New York City’s first community garden, which now bears the name of Liz Christy, founder of the Green Guerillas. In 1973, Christy decided to brighten up an abandoned Lower East Side corner lot at Bowery and Houston Street and enlisted volunteers to haul out trash and debris, lay down topsoil, install fencing, and put in plants. Five years later, GreenThumb began, and this program is how more than 600 community gardens in New York City exist today.



Thank You for Supporting the Tag & Bake Sale

The Summit Street Community Garden with a table of baked goods and iced tea.

Baked goods at the Summit Street Garden Fall Tag & Bake Sale.

Thank you to all the members of the community who bought baked goods and tag sale items from our fall fundraiser on Sunday, September 20! With your helped, we raised money to beautify the garden and buy supplies. We also always enjoy the opportunity to talk to our neighbors and eat baked goods!


Carrot cake decorated with frosting carrots

The carrot cake and blueberry yogurt cake went really fast. but we managed to snap this photo before digging in.

Stuffed animals sitting in baby chairs.

Some stuffed animals modeled the baby furniture for sale.

Stuffed animals for sale

Stuffed animals awaiting their new homes.

Farewell to the Forsythia

The forsythia blooming in 2013.

For many years, the blooming of the forsythia heralded the arrival of spring at the Summit Street Community Garden. However, after several seasons of decline, it became clear that the forsythia wasn’t going to recover and bloom again.  Shawn cut down the forsythia this Saturday. “It’s time to say goodbye to a plant that’s been a beautiful part of the garden for a long time,” says Claire.

Gardener removing a forsythia

Cut-down forsythia branches

Forsythia branches

A forsythia blooming in a community garden with daffodils along a brick path

The forsythia’s vibrant blooms provided contrast with the pale yellows of the early daffodils in 2014.

Summer Solstice at the Summit Street Community Garden

Peach galette

Peach galette. Photo: Sondra Fink

The Summit Street Community gardeners kicked off the season June 21 with a solstice celebration. About 24 members of all ages showed up to share foods that evoked the summer: deep red borcht served with sunny hard-boiled egg halves, grilled rum pineapple slices topped with ice cream, bright seasonal strawberries, flaky peach galette, and other delicious fare. Both longtime and new members had a chance to socialize in the garden, and some of the youngest members played in the children’s area, a box designated this year for play and discovery. Check out some of the photos below!

Community gardeners eating under a grape arbor

Gardeners gathered for a solstice feast under the arbor. Photo: Claire Merlino


Gardener Amy made a deep red borscht to celebrate the solstice. Photo: Sondra Fink

Hard-boiled eggs, cut so the yolks show

The borscht was served with hard-boiled eggs, which looked like little suns. Photo: Sondra Fink

Grilled pineapple topped with ice cream and rum sauce

Gardener Claire made grilled pineapple served with ice cream and rum sauce. Photo: Sondra Fink

Strawberries and grapes

Fresh fruit was served to celebrate the arrival of summer. Photo: Sondra Fink

A garden member in front of a table with fruit.

The solstice gathering gave a chance to both new and long-time members to enjoy the garden. Photo: Sondra Fink

A boy and his dad in the community garden

Some of the youngest garden members (and their parents) had a chance to garden and play as well. Photo: Sondra Fink

Community garden members and children playing in the children's garden box

Summit Street Community Garden members got some gardening in, while some young members played in the new children’s box. Photo: Sondra Fink

Children digging in a community garden plot with someone holding a worm

The Summit Street Community Garden has a box dedicated for children’s play and discovery this season. Young gardeners at the solstice celebration were delighted to find a worm. Photo: Sondra Fink

A gardener eating watermelon.

Gardener Sondra enjoys some seasonal fruit. Photo: Claire Merlino

Gardeners hanging out in the Summit Street Community Garden.

Gardeners hanging out in the Summit Street Community Garden. Photo: Sondra Fink

Summer Solstice 2017 in the Garden

Weather permitting, there will be a Summer Solstice celebration of the longest day of the year on June 21 from 5:30 pm onward at the garden. This potluck celebration is a casual affair, so if you’d like to attend, just show up with something to share or grill. In the event of rain, the event will be cancelled, though it looks like we’ll have a nice, sunny day. 

Speaking of sun, the plan is for midsummer-appropriate foods that evoke the sun (think: yellow, orange, red, round), as well as seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. Gardener Sondra, who headed up the celebration this year and last year, says, “The Solstice is also a traditional fire festival, so grilling is on point!” Check out photos of last year’s solstice potluck.


Thanks for Supporting the 2017 Spring Tag Sale

slices of tomato tart

This tomato tart was the hit of the tag and bake sale.

Despite a cool, overcast day, the tag sale May 21 raised some funds for garden upkeep and maintenance! Thank you to all the gardeners who supplied items and baked goods and who helped out by setting up tables, selling items and doing end-of-day pack-up. And of course, thank you to community members who came by and purchased items for a good cause! Gardeners who participated in the tag sale had fun hanging out and meeting people in the community.

chocolate chip cookies

I didn’t take too many photos, because I was helping with the baked goods table, meaning I was eating most of the baked goods. I sampled one of everything and can report that it was all good, from the beautiful carrot cake to the cookies made with fresh ginger. The tomato tart made with fresh herbs from the Summit Street Community Garden was a big hit this year.In fact, most of the first tart was consumed within minutes of its unveiling.

We hope to see you at our next tag sale is Saturday, September 16 from 10 am–3 pm!chalk sidewalk sign outside a bank encouraging people to get cash and come to the community garden tag sale
tomato tart with tomato plant

Summit Street Spring Tag Sale Fundraiser, Saturday, May 20, 2017

Baked goods.

Summit Street Community Garden Tag & Bake Sale
corner of Summit and Columbia streets
Saturday, May 20 from 10 am–3 pm

The Summit Street Community Garden is having its annual spring tag and bake sale fundraiser. Stop by to peruse items for sale, including seasonal clothing, jewelry, music, books, children’s clothing and toys, household items and accessories and more! We’ll also have a variety of baked goods and iced tea. All proceeds go toward supplies, maintenance and plants to beautify the garden.

The Ethel Merman Disco Album!

A happy baby at the fall garden tag sale.

A happy baby at the fall garden tag sale.