Live Music in the Community Garden Tonight! Tuesday, June 21st

Live Music Tonight
in the Community Garden!!

Tuesday, June 21st

As part of Make Music New York, there will be two FREE musical performances at the Warren St. Marks Community Garden:

6:00PM: The Shockwaves (rock/blues)
7:00PM: Bella Voce Singers (choral music)

Refreshments will be provided.

Bella Voce Singers

Compost Workshops

Kids Compost Workshop
Ages 5-9 

Saturday, April 2

What happens to food scraps? What do worms do? Where does dirt come from? Join us in the Warren St Marks Community garden for education, demonstration, and hands-on learning! Please wear clothes and shoes fit for dirt and bring some food scraps!

Compost Workshop
Ages 10-Adult 

Saturday, April 23

Lecture-demonstration addressing: What happens to food waste? What role do insects play? What’s dirt? What can break down and why? What’s the difference between single-family, community-sized, and city-sized compost systems?  Please wear shoes fit for dirt and bring your food scraps!

Warren-St Marks Community Garden

Registration is not required, though encouraged. 
If you have questions or would like to register please EMAIL Sarah.


Water + Sun = Food : The Garden Season Begins by Stephen Rose

Stephen Rose is a garden member with a remarkably green thumb. He’s chronicling the year in his own lush backyard. We are following along for tips for our own plots, decks and sills.

Spring training is underway. The garden season begins.


From what I could gather online, the last frost date in Brooklyn falls around the first week of April. That is the last night temperatures generally go down into the lower 30’s. Plants that cannot tolerate serious cold weather should be kept inside until the risk of frost has passed in early May. However, there is plenty of action in my yard by the beginning of March. My crocuses and hellebores are blooming. Tulips and daffodils are starting to poke out their heads. Rhubarb and garlic survived and look ready to grow. The hens at the garden are even laying more eggs. I have been weeding, pruning and raking the beds to clean up a winter’s worth of assorted detritus: flying plastic bags, leaves, pieces of roof?, rocks.

On Tuesday I went outside with a shovel and was surprised to discover that my beds were not frozen. I dug up about 5 pounds of buried sunchokes, which have sweetened nicely during the winter. I probably have 15 more pounds to harvest. Sunchokes can be elusive and finding big ones is super satisfying. My father discovered through years of trial and error that a used electric toothbrush doubles as an efficient sunchoke cleaner. Clean, dry sunchokes can last for months in the fridge. We like them best roasted like potatoes. Some people like the crunchy texture raw in salads. They are excellent pureed in soup.


This weekend I am going to start planting seeds that are very tolerant to the cold. Lettuce (including arugula, mache, kale, chervil, mesclun) and snow peas will be my first crop. I think we will also try our luck with carrots this year. My soil is in good condition. Last fall, before we had a hard freeze, I turned over the soil in the beds and amended it for early spring planting. I use organic compost in my garden, and I amend the soil with fertilizer at least once every year. The essential food for plants is N (Nitrogen), P (Potassium) and K (Phosphorus). I use a balanced fertilizer blend (something around the 6-6-6 range). I have outstanding soil in my raised beds because I know everything that went into it, and because I amend it every year. Please don’t rely solely on my gross oversimplification. Soil is important stuff:

I am not worried about my lettuce seeds, even if they go in early. They will germinate when they are ready, and they are very tolerant to the cold nights. A little hay, or some agro fabric would help keep the soil moist and warmer at night. I love having an early lettuce crop for a lot of reasons. Lettuce is renewable: if properly harvested with scissors, lettuce will rejuvenate in a matter of days. Lettuce can also grow in the cold and in containers, which many other pickier plants cannot. Lettuce is a fairly quick grower that will bolt (or go to seed and become bitter) by mid May, so I get to have an early crop in my raised beds before the days get too hot, then grow tomatoes, peppers or eggplant in the exact same real estate.

For snow peas, I like to germinate the seeds indoors by wrapping them in a wet paper towel for a couple of days. Once I can see their sprouts, I dig furrows and put them in the soil. Peas are climbers, so be sure to plant them strategically where they can find a trellis or a pole. Peas are beautiful when they are growing, especially if they have colored flowers. The bonus with peas, as opposed to carrots or radishes, is that when you thin out the plants after a couple weeks, the tender pea shoots you harvest are perfect raw in salads or sautéed.

If your soil is thawed, you could also plant potatoes, radishes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other cold tolerant crops. With warm days come bugs, so I will spray my apple trees soon with an organocide. I will also turn on the water soon, since you can’t grow much food without water.

Spring Has Sprung in the Community Garden

Annual Spring Egg Hunt
March 27th

The Warren St. Marks Community Garden Annual Spring Egg Hunt
will be on Sunday, March 27th from 10:30am-12:00pm.

Stay tuned for more details, and happy spring!

More Spring Events

SATURDAY, MARCH 19 — GreenThumb GrowTogether
Join over a thousand community gardeners from all over New York for a day of learning, sharing, networking, and greening inspiration at GreenThumb Grow Together! Hostos Community College, Bronx. Pre-register by March 14 for $5. Register at the door on March 19 for $7. Admission for children 12 and under is free.

SUNDAY, MARCH 20 — BANG Annual Meeting at BBG
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Ave., Classroom 238
This is the ONE big meeting where BANG asks Board members to invite EVERYONE from their gardens. This is a mix of Business and Pleasure. BANG has a short list of important budget and governance items that they need to get done. There’s also a social POTLUCK and SEED SHARING!!! This is a great time to hear what’s being planned for the new season and to get involved in what’s needed to own our own gardens.

Garden signups, renewals and orientations will be April 9, 10, 16 and 17.

General Meeting Election Results

Administrator — Andrea Kannapell
Garden coordinator — David Bivins
Treasurer — Melanie Holcomb

Membership coordinator — Gina Briggs
Events coordinator — Chloe Abercrombie
Communications coordinator — Val English
Plots coordinator (individual plots) — Amelia Wilson
Community plots co-coordinators — Siena Chrisman and Kit Schneider
Compost coordinator — Sarah Trignano
Chicken coordinator — Kristen Davis
Community liaison — Zac Martin

BANG rep — Jeff Maloney
BANG alt — Zac Martin

Annual General Meeting, Sunday, March 6th

Community Garden
General Meeting
This Sunday, March 6th

Our annual General Membership Meeting is 1:30pm-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, at the Fifth Avenue Committee offices (621 Degraw St. between Fourth and Third Avenues). We’ll be discussing the commitments and our hopes, dreams and plans for the coming year, as well as electing a steering committee.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
The Warren St. Marks Community Garden Steering Committee

Water + Sun = Food : The Quiet Season by Stephen Rose

Stephen Rose is a garden member with a remarkably green thumb. He’s chronicling the year in his own lush backyard. We are following along for tips for our own plots, decks and sills.

It is finally cold in Brooklyn. Spring training is still 38 days away. All my bulbs (including garlic) were planted months ago. My tropical plants are happy inside. I wrapped the trunks of my espaliered apple trees to protect them from mice and other critters. I will likely prune the trees some time this winter to encourage them to grow another horizontal cordon. I also protected my fig trees against the cold weather by piling up leaves around their trunks, bending over the plants and wrapping them in insulating agro fabric. I left my sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) in the ground, a trick that sweetens the tuber. I will dig them up soon. Even the kale doesn’t like it when it’s this cold. I won’t be doing much in the garden until March. The farmer rests.


The scene of the Great Sunchoke Disaster     Credit: Stephen Rose

Last week I ordered my onions for the spring. I order those from Dixondale Farms in Texas. Dixondale automatically ships live, tiny little onion wisps at the correct time based on your region. Onions and garlic provide a lot of bang for your buck, in my opinion. Cured properly, they last all winter. I contend that onions and garlic have a high ceiling: unlike cucumbers, which pretty much taste like cucumbers no matter where they are grown, onions and garlic grown at home stand out from conventional bulbs. I also grow Egyptian walking onions, but those are perennials. The Egyptian walking onions have very potent, garlic-like bulbs that actually grow on the stalks. They look sharp too.

In the next couple of weeks, I will order seeds for the spring. I generally order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. I buy early cold weather seeds and sow them after the last frost: mostly lettuces and herbs, and sometimes peas, which I may germinate indoors first. I don’t have grow lights indoors, so most of the nightshades I plant in May I buy as babies. Before the babies go in the beds, I will already have harvested an early spring lettuce crop. I have had excellent luck with the baby plants Kira at Evolutionary Organics sells at Grand Army Plaza. I may end up ordering some unusual seeds that would be hard to find as babies, like artichokes, cardoon, or unusual squashes. If I were committed to starting seeds indoors, I would secure a grow light, some kind of heat source for the seedlings, and soil-less mix.

I have yet to decide if I am going to grow potatoes again. We had decent luck with them, they can go in very early, and again, I think potatoes have a high ceiling.

The easiest decision I will make this winter is not to repeat the Great Sunchoke

Disaster of 2015. I planted a couple sunchokes in the corner of one of my raised beds, and they liked it, a lot. I was warned that sunchokes are native and can tend to take over, but I foolishly underestimated the plants. Sunchokes are related to sunflowers, to give you some idea of the scale. They grew 12 feet tall, finally flowered in late September, and ended up shading portions of the garden, even when they were tied together. Limitless, stupid sunchokes. Don’t throw tubers in your garden beds when your mother tells you not to, kids.


TreeCycle! Recycle Your Holiday Trees, Jan. 9-10

Saturday, Jan. 9 & Sunday. Jan 10
10am – 2pm

Recycle Holiday Trees at these BANG Land Trust Community Gardens:

Greenpace@President, corner of President & 5th Ave.
Prospect Heights Community Farm, St. Marks betwen Vanderbilt & Underhill

NOTE: Please remember to remove all lights, ornaments, and netting before bringing the tree to a MulchFest site.

For more information go to:

Small Army Speeds WSMC Garden’s Big Projects

Small Army Speeds WSMC Garden’s Big Projects

Sometimes it just seems we have too many tasks for too few hands. What would we do with an infusion of willing labor?

We found out on Thursday, Nov. 5. Citizens Committee, the philanthropy whose grant enabled us to upgrade the Warren St. entrance, organized a corporate volunteer day. Four people who normally pursue financial affairs for Santander Bank showed up to paint, assemble, lug, collaborate, climb, descend, shovel, plant, shovel and shovel.

Jessica Iovene, Anthony Rogriguez, Thania Chanlatte and Shari Lofton, with the able hand of Citizen Committee’s Emily Hirsch,  poured themselves into our wishlist.

Anthony clambered on top of the shed and gave it a first coat of paint. Our incredible luck? He was a professional house painter in a previous incarnation!

Jessica, Thania and Shari puzzled out the shelving, toting hunks of metal onto the flat surface of the sidewalk and snapping everything together seamlessly. Then they reconfigured it all without complaint when it turned out Andrea, the garden administrator,  had part of the plan wrong. After that, they headed into the shed, wielding an electric screwdriver to mount tracks for hanging tools.

The team proved resilient, undaunted when rain that was not in the forecast began dribbling from above. Anthony and Melanie, the garden treasurer, covered the shed roof with plastic and everyone moved on to new tasks. Jessica and Anthony excavated an area around a pipe that brings in water to the north side of the garden, enabling plumbers to assess the source of a leak that forced us to keep the water turned off on that side through the summer. (We’re still working on this one.)

Shari, Thania and Jessica moved soil and planted a dogwood and several other native plants on our St. Marks side, and Anthony, joined by Jessica, dug out the foundation of a curving pathway that will allow us to wander among our new plantings without tromping on them.

The Santander teams did a huge amount of work, giving us a much-appreciated leg up for our last Community Garden Day of the season. Garden members picked up the baton on the next Saturday, putting a full second coat of paint on the roof of the shed and a full first coat on the sides, following through on the pathway, and virtually completing all the planting.

We thank our Santander friends for all they’ve given us. And we hope they will come back and see how they’ve helped us thrive.

All Hands on Deck: Our New Shed is Coming!

The grant proposals of last year are becoming reality. The heavy construction for our Warren St. entryway project is successfully behind us, and a planting plan is underway for our November garden day.

And our new, bigger and better shed arrives next week. You are cordially invited to help prepare the way!

Saturday, Oct. 10, 10AM
We’ll be gathering to empty the shed, inventory and organize its contents, and begin disassembling the hulking wreck that has served us so long and so well.

Sunday, Oct. 11, 10AM
Our October Garden Day

We will finish disassembling the old shed, build up the soil in the vacated area, compact it and lay a foundation for the new larger successor.

We have other projects for the garden day, too, including clearing out dead plants from the community plots, cleaning the coop, and turning the compost. We can use all the help we can get! Thanks in advance for joining us whenever you can, for however long you can.

Help Needed This Friday
If anyone can help unload bags of soil GreenThumb is delivering Friday, please EMAIL Andrea (

Bring Seeds Please!
We need spinach and chard seeds for planting this Sunday at Garden Day.

See you in the garden! 


Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: The Story of the New Warren St. Entrance

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was our upgrade to the Warren St. entrance. But heck, ours only took ONE year!

Melanie Holcomb masterminded the grant proposal, winning $1,500 from Citizens Committee with a plan that included the rough steps we needed to take. That was last fall.

The grant came through this spring, and we began wrapping our minds around the practicalities — while seeing the garden through an ambitious, highly successful reorganization of its operations.

All the plans were in place by early September. Siena Chrisman laid out a pattern on our September garden day. Last Wednesday, Sarah Westlake accepted the delivery of thousands of pounds of gravel and sand for the entryway and 20 heavy pavers for the base for our new shed (yes, ANOTHER capital project this calendar year).

David Bivins and son Arlo, Keith Rettig, Gabriela Wolf, Parker Fishel, Andy Browne, Melisa Garber and Melanie Holcomb met up Saturday morning and laid several inches of gravel and another couple of inches of sand. Andrea Kannapell dashed around, picking up the compacting machine and other materials. Chloe Abercrombie provided hands, hearts and water! Seven hours later, we suspended work so Communal Spaces lovely, moving plays could go on.

Sunday, our final day, took finesse. We were working with bricks, concrete pavers and stone blocks, and trying to create an even surface that sloped upwards slightly from the sidewalk. That took a lot of discussion and thought experiments, and another trip or two for many more bags of sand and other supplies. And a couple of tries to work the glass bricks in without breaking them.

We are so pleased with the end result. Come take a look! Andy’s making a time-lapse video that we’re all looking forward to seeing. And help us thank the thinkers, planners, laborers, sweepers, providers of cool lemon water, Citizens Committee and everyone who made this possible.

And thanks to Sheri Stein, Mimi Rosenfeld and Pat McCarty, who have been researching native plants for both the Warren and St. Marks sides. We’ll be using the rest of our Citizens Committee grant to make the Warren St. side even more gorgeous.

Next weekend, we’ll be preparingfor the arrival of our fabulous new shed! Stay tuned for details.