Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Crazy For Composting


Filed under: Bissel Gardens, Community Gardens, Community Green, Events, ,

Monarch Waystation At Bissel Gardens

monarch-waystationsWe are working with the folks at Bissel Gardens this year to create a Monarch Waystation. This is a perfect “put your activism where you mouth is” project. For years we have supported the Butterfly Project, Native Plant giveaways and other garden projects that create butterfly and pollinator habitat. This year we put a “better point on that pencil” by creating an area that fully accommodates monarchs as well as other pollinators and is part of a national monitoring system.

We’re looking forward to it building on the Butterfly and Herb Gardens started last year and the Hole-Nesting Bee House in the Veterans Garden. Having more pollinators should significantly increase our vegetable yields and, with signage, we will be able to up the overall education quotient of the Veterans Garden as well. Volunteers welcome!

Monarch Waystation_Requirements


Filed under: Bissel Gardens, Butterfly, Community Green, Gardening, Sunflowers & Butterflies, , , , ,

Greenlight: GreenThumb


GreenThumb was initiated in response to the city’s financial crisis of the 1970s, which resulted in the abandonment of public and private land. The majority of GreenThumb gardens were derelict vacant lots renovated by volunteers.

These community gardens, now managed by neighborhood residents, provide important green space, thus improving air quality, bio–diversity, and the well–being of residents. But gardens aren’t just pretty spaces; they’re also important community resources.

GreenThumb gardens are located in all five boroughs in the city. Some are green spaces meant for relaxation and as a community meeting space, others are full–fledged farms, and many are a mix of the types. The volunteer gardeners are the backbone of our program and are of diverse ages and backgrounds.

Filed under: Bissel Gardens, Community Green, Gardening, Parks, , ,

Hole-Nesting Bees

North America is home to about 4,000 different species of bees. At least 90% of bee species live a solitary, independent lifestyle. Most bees don’t actually live in or build a hive. Native, hive-less, solitary, alternative, and hole-nesting are all terms to describe bees that don’t dwell in a colony – they are lone bees that pollinate 100 times more powerfully than the honey bee.

Honey bees aren’t native, build hives and were brought from Europe for their honey & wax. Native bees are better pollinators because they carry their pollen on their dry bellies versus wet and sticky on hind legs like the honey bee. With each bellyflop landing onto a flower, more pollen is left behind.

Fertile female bees do it all: build nests, lay eggs, gather nectar and pollen, and seal the nest before their short life is over. Between 15-30% of bee species nest in holes. A hole-nesting bee starts building nesting chambers at the back of the hole. Each chamber is in a line and includes a pollen loaf made of pollen and nectar, a single egg, and a protective wall between chambers.

Both Mason and Leafcutter bees are hole-nesting bees that overwinter in cocoons, which also makes them easy to raise in your garden. Mason bees emerge from their brown waterproof cocoons when fruit and berry plants bloom in the Spring and prefers to nest in 8mm sized holes. Summer leafcutter bees emerge from their non-waterproof leafy cocoons in warmer summer weather, when your vegetable garden is blooming and prefer to nest in 6mm sized holes.

Bees are vital pollinators for 1/3 of our food supply and 1/3 of the feed for our livestock. When there are mason and leafcutter bees in gardens, orchards, or fields, often 2-3 times more food is produced. Mason and leafcutter bees are easy to raise. Solitary bees generally have a very mild venom that does not induce anaphylactic shock and they are not aggressive. All you need is the right bee habitat, house, bee cocoons, and some know-how.logohori

We added mason and leafcutter bees to Bissel Veterans Garden last year and we are happy with our decision!

Filed under: Bissel Gardens, CGGrows, Community Green, Environment, Food, , ,

Bissel Propagation Area-Veterans Garden

Propagation Area – Veterans Garden

The Veterans Garden @Bissel is a more than a garden. It is a community activity that engages local veterans, community residents and young gardeners that covers several garden areas and activities as an overall exposure to urban gardening and techniques.

  • Butterfly Garden – This area showcases native flowers and herbs that attract native pollinators. It is also a basic introduction to the plants urban gardener should grow to insure butterflies and other beneficial pollinators in their gardens.
  • Herb Garden – Mostly culinary, but also some medicinal herbs grown to use and introduce gardeners to the herbs available to them on a grow your own basis. Gardeners will also learn to harvest, dry herbs and collect seeds.
  • Garden Towers – A unique gardening experience – using 5’ cylindrical, rotating towers to start and grow as many as 60 plants in one 4’ square area. We used the self-composting towers to great effect last year and look forward to the dedication of 2 of the 6 towers to our Propagation Program.
  • Grow Box Garden – This is another way to maximize space and water in the garden. We use it to demonstrate alternative ways to grow garden vegetable in more compact area. We also use Milk Box Gardens to demonstrate a similar technique.
  • Three Sisters Garden – Corn, beans and squash. We may even throw a small fish in the planting hole as fertilizer as Native Americans did. The Three Sister Garden gives us an opportunity to discuss basic agriculture and well as how plants and people can be Good Garden Neighbors.
  • Native Plant Garden – Growing up in the city can teach you street smarts but you certainly don’t often learn about native plants or even the trees on your block. This garden identifies many of the native, beneficial species common to the north east.
  • Sunflower Garden – Some folks don’t know that sunflowers were often cultivated as the Forth Sister. From native perennials to gigantic annuals to dwarf teddy bears, we’ll explore some of the varieties that make them garden favorites.
  • Square Foot Garden – Using Mel Bartholomew’s techniques, this garden explores how to maximize gardening in raised boxes. Using Mel’s proven methods including grid layouts, and enriched soil, this area looks to maximize vegetable yield in a small space.
  • Squash Garden – What’s a garden without squash? In particular, we look to grow summer AND winter squash and transition to pumpkin growing in June so we’ll have our own pumpkin in October. See: the CG Ratatouille Recipe
  • Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant – As the name suggests, this area emphasizes Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant; plants in the nightshade family. From beefsteak to cherries, the garden grows a ½ dozen types of tomatoes. They are accompanied by several varieties of peppers including habanero, poblano, banana and sweet and Italian, Japanese and white eggplants.
  • Poly Houses – This is the Propagation Area. Vegetables for the garden are started from seed in the 2 20’ X 30’ poly covered hoop houses. This area gives us a start on the growing season as well as an educational area where gardeners and kids can start their own plant projects.
  • Fruit Garden – The several apples and pear accompany the raspberry and blueberry bushes in the garden. We hope to add cherries, figs and grapes next year and several other fruiting bushes.

  • Composting – The garden includes an active composting area.
  • Bees – The garden includes a habitat for carpenter and leafcutter bees.
  • Green Roof* – There is a demonstration Green Roof on one of out 10’ X 12’ utility sheds where sedum happily grows and blooms.
  • Solar Power* – We use a Solar Cube to meet our occasional electrical needs.


Filed under: Bissel Gardens, CGGrows, Community Gardens, Community Green, Environment, Gardening,

About Community Greens

It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.


Chuck Vasser

Blacks In Green

There are more of us people of color out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our concerns, ideas and sit at the table!

Bronx River Sankofa

Morgan Powell

Smiling Bellies
The First Day of SpringMarch 20th, 2018
30 days to go.

Upcoming Events

  • BRONX PARKS SPEAK UP • BRONX COALITION FOR PARKS AND GREEN SPACES February 24, 2018 at 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W, Bronx, NY 10468, USA
  • Starting Seeds in a Greenhouse or Indoors March 3, 2018 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Praxis Warren Residence, Bronx Get gardening early by starting your seeds in a greenhouse or sunny window. We’ll…
  • Bronx Master Composter Certificate Program March 27, 2018 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Applications due February 20. 8 Tuesdays, March 27–May 15, 6–9 p.m., 2 Saturdays in April, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (TBD), New York Botanical Garden • Watson Education BuildingA train-the-trainer course that is designed to promote the practice of composting. Deadline is February 20. Apply here.
  • GreenThumb Grow Together March 31, 2018 at 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007, USA
  • Fruit Tree Care April 7, 2018 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Little Green Garden/Rock Garden, Bronx Have you ever wondered what you can do to get a great harvest from fruit trees in your…
  • NYCHA 16th Annual Garden Conference April 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm – 1:30 am Johnson Community Center, 1833 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
  • Beekeeping: An Introduction (Bronx) April 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Risse Street Community Garden, Bronx Curious about bees for honey and pollination in your community garden? Join Liane Newton…
  • Tropical Accent Design May 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Edith Community Garden, Bronx In this workshop, we will use our warm growing season to cultivate fast growing tropical…
  • Direct Sow and Transplant May 19, 2018 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm River Garden, Bronx Want to grow more food in less space? Tired of struggling or having stunted transplants?…

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“Even though this planet is round, there are just too many spots where you can find yourself hanging onto the edge, unless there’s some space, some place to take a breather for a while.” –Gloria Naylor


The Future of Spofford

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MAGBO In Position Camp 2018

MAGBO In Position Camp 2018

MAGBO In Position Camp 2018


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The Butterfly Project