When was the Summit Street Community Garden established?
Cleanup of the space that would become the Summit Street Community Garden began in 1993, when members of the community dragged toilets, old tires and trash out of several adjoining abandoned lots. The Summit Street Community Garden exists to offer a cool, green oasis in the city, in partnership with the New York City Parks Department and GreenThumb. For more information, visit our history page.
When is the garden open?
The Summit Street Community Garden is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-4 pm from April 1 to October 31. The remaining weekly open hours are fulfilled when members are in the garden during non-posted times, when the gate is open and visitors are always welcome. However, a garden member must always be present when the garden gate is open. During inclement weather, the garden may not be open during designated times.
Can I use the garden’s chairs and tables?
Yes, feel free to sit in the chairs, benches and tables and enjoy the garden.
Can I sit on the grass?
Yes, the grass was installed to offer a cool place to sit, read, and relax. If the grass is roped off (usually to help it recover from an event or to prepare for a photo shoot), please do not cross over the rope, especially if you are with a baby. Sometimes the roped-off grass has just been fertilized, which can irritate sensitive skin.
Are food and drink allowed in the garden?
Yes, food and drink are allowed in the garden, but no alcoholic beverages are permitted. There are no garbage bins in the garden, so please take your trash with you when you leave. There are public trash cans a few blocks away on Columbia Street. The grill is for member use only.
Can I put food scraps in the compost?
No, the compost bin is for garden waste (branches, leaves, clippings, etc.) only.
Can I smoke in the garden?
No smoking is permitted in the garden since it is in partnership with the New York City Parks Department and GreenThumb.
Are dogs allowed in the garden?
Dogs on leashes are welcome. Please curb your dog if it needs to go; do not let the dog defecate or urinate in the garden or on the plants along the outside fence.
Can I pick the flowers?
Treat the garden as you would any public park, and please don’t harvest the flowers, fruits or vegetables, especially from the personal garden boxes. We’ll share some of our garden bounty if we have enough, so if you’d like to have some of the grapes from the arbor or some of the herbs from around the perimeter, please ask the garden member present before picking anything.
Can children play in the garden?
Of course! Children should be supervised to make sure they’re not pulling up grass, moving decorative stones or picking flowers. If a ball, plane or other toy falls into the border beds or on the mound (the brick and gravel wall along Summit Street), a parent should retrieve it to avoid crushing the plants. In the case of the brick/gravel wall area along Summit, consult a garden member about the location of the prickly pear plant with sharp needles. There is now a special children’s play area; please ask a member to point out where children can dig, play and learn.
When are the garden fundraisers and what happens to the funds raised?
The garden has several fundraisers throughout the year. The tag and bake sale fundraisers will be held Saturday, May 12, and Saturday, September 22, both from 10 am–3 pm. All proceeds from fundraising go to upkeep of the garden (water bills, supplies, plants, etc.).
Where is the old blog?
The old blog resides at summitstreetgarden.blogspot.com.
How can I become a garden member?
To become a garden member, simply attend one of the garden meetings during the season to receive an orientation. Once you have followed up with our membership volunteers via email, you will receive the necessary information to join. You’ll also receive a copy of the garden guidelines, which should be able to answer most of your questions.
When are the garden meetings?
Garden meetings for 2018 are slated for Saturday, May 12 at 10 am; Sunday, June 10 at 11 am; Saturday, July 14 at 11 am; and Sunday, September 9, at 11 am. All meetings will be followed by workdays.
When are garden workdays?
Garden workdays are usually about once a month from April–October, following garden meetings. Work can include weeding, watering, pruning, sweeping, painting, mowing, deadheading, paving projects. All are welcome and encouraged to help.
What does being a member entail?
All community gardens have their own membership rules. It is free to become a Summit Street Community Garden member, however, members must attend at least two events per year, such as designated garden workdays, meetings and fundraising events. Individuals, couples or families without a box must complete one open hours session of four hours. Garden members also sign up for various tasks, whether it’s helping to care for a specific area of the garden or assisting with composting, blogging or fundraising.
What’s an open hours session?
During the garden’s designated hours, a garden member must be present in the garden. Typically, an open hours session entails opening the garden gate, putting out the “garden open” sign and staying in the garden to welcome visitors. During that time, you can do various garden maintenance (weeding, picking up trash from the perimeter, deadheading flowers, pruning, etc.). Be sure to invite passersby peeking in to take a look around the garden and let people know that the garden is open to the public. People often inquire about the history of the garden and ask about how to become a member, so you can refer them to this page. You must sign up for hours on the Summit Street Garden Google calendar.
How do I sign up for hours on the Summit Street Garden Google Calendar?
You will need to have a Google account, but you do not need a Gmail account to use the calendar. Once you have been added to the Google groups you should automatically be able to use the calendar. Instructions for the Google Calendar have been sent out to members, but you can also find the PDF here. If you have any problems, contact the membership director.
How do I access the Google Calendar?
The membership director will send garden members a link. For questions, consult the PDF.
After I become a member, how do I get a garden plot?
Once you become a member, ask to be put on the waitlist for a plot. Typically, the boxes/plots are divided in half. If you have a half-box, then you must complete 10 open hours. (These hours are per couple or per family. For example, if you have a box as a couple, one of you can choose to do one session, and the other person can do another 5-hour session and then the two of you can do an evening session together and grill out for dinner one night.) Those with a full box must complete 20 open hours.
A few plot guidelines:
- We are a chemical-free garden. Please do not line your box with garbage bags; you can use black paper if needed.
- Do not weed anyone else’s box without permission. Do not take flowers, herbs or vegetables without permission.
- Any structures erected for beans/peas, tomatoes, etc., must be no higher than five feet tall, and must be removed after the growing season.
- If you do not take care of your box (weeding, planting or working at all in the box during a season) or complete your open hour requirements for the year, the following year your box will be given to the next person on the box waitlist. Once you complete your open hour requirement for the current year, you can add your name to the box waitlist.
Where do I get garden tools?
The shed houses all garden tools and supplies for members. Remember to remove soil and debris from the tools after use and return them exactly where they were found. In the shed, you’ll also find the “garden open” chalkboard to put out during open hours. If you need topsoil, there’s usually some by the compost.
How do I water my plants?
Water usage is paid for by the garden. The hose connection is from the building adjacent to the back garden. Please be careful, as water can pool and leak into their basement, which the garden would repair and pay for. When finished, roll up the hose and turn it off.
What do I do with garden waste, like pulled weeds, leaves and small sticks?
All plant material can be composted. It must be clipped into 4-inch segments. All woody materials must be clipped into 2-inch segments. Large tree branches (more than 2 inches in diameter) must be bundled up and put outside the garden gate for parks Dept. collection. Call 311 or visit NYC.gov/311 for pickup.
Can I use the grill?
The grill is for members to use, but you must have a grill workshop before using the grill. Please pull the grill all the way to the edge of the brick path, and away from the shed. Make sure you read the directions for use before you start it. If you are the person using the grill when the gas goes out, replace the canister. Take the empty canister with you, and exchange for a full one at Lowe’s. If you cannot get to those places, put a note on the canister that says “empty,” and email the garden for someone to replace it. You will be reimbursed by the treasurer. All trash, cups, forks, etc. must be placed in a garbage bag and taken with you after the meal. Grill tongs must be cleaned and returned promptly.
Can I have a party in the garden?
Yes, members can have gatherings in the garden. Anyone inviting a group of more than 10 people should notify the garden group via email and note the event on the calendar. If you wish to have a large party, you should ask permission from the members. Remember the rules: No alcohol, no smoking, keep the noise to a respectful level and make sure to clean up afterwards. The gate must be kept open during your event.