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Visit Us!

Check out Hollenback’s new wordpress site at



Below is the retired Hollenback pbworks site (last updated in 2013)

  Welcome to

  Hollenback Community  Garden


460 Washington Avenue Between Gates and Greene Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY




      (Designed with plant material from garden by John Spinks)



Upcoming Events


Membership Meeting


Saturday, Sept. 14th







Saturday, August 17th






Saturday, Sept. 14th






Fall Harvest Festival


Saturday, Sept. 22nd






Becoming a Member in 2013

If you’re interested in joining the garden for our 2013 season, please click the link above for more information about getting a plot and how to become a member.



Planting the Seeds of Our Garden…

The Hollenback Community Garden began in 1980, through the hard work and dedication of community members who saw possibility in a lot rendered empty by the fire that destroyed the Hollenback Mansion. Brick by brick, and wheel barrow by wheel barrow they cleaned up the site and then seed by seed, they created beauty from destruction.





















Click here for some views of the garden from above!



Who are we?

We are currently about 40 gardeners, each working in individual plots as well as sharing responsibility for communal areas used by the garden membership and the larger community. Our garden is part of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a coalition of 34 community gardens. To read more, check out our By Laws and Membership Commitment


What do we do?

☼ The garden is a place for garden members from the community to produce locally grown food


☼ The gardeners preserve a flourishing green oasis for the community (everyone from neighbors to the butterflies, bees and birds) to visit and enjoy, contributing to overall neighborhood beautification.  Just outside of our gates, we also have two Welcome Gardens that were selected by Brooklyn Botanical Garden as the best Community Garden Streetscape in their 2009 Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest.  Check out our ever growing list of plant diversity at Hollenback.


☼ We make all garden decisions democratically at monthly meetings


☼ Hollenback offers several community events every season, including live music, movies, BBQs, garden workshops, and tours


☼ Gardeners strive to deepen and share their gardening knowledge and experience


Sustainablility in the Garden

Our garden harvests rainwater from a neighboring rooftop, and stores it in a 700 gallon tank. This reduces both our use of potable water and the amount of rainwater that goes into the city’s overworked sewer system. You can find more information on rainwater harvesting in the city from the Water Resources Group. To read an informative article from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden on rainwater harvesting, check out “Rainwater Harvesting


PLEASE  NOTE: The Hollenback Community Garden is currently NOT taking food drop offs.  We are in the process of rebuilding out composting bins and can not currently process any materials.  We hope to have our system up and running soon.  Please read the signs on our fence and/or check back on this site for updates on our progress.  If you would like to have your food waste composted, please bring your scraps to the Ft Greene Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.


Our perspective is that we can provide an alternate system of organic waste management to our community. Organic materials that go to waste in landfills, produce methane gas and other pollutants that can leech into the soil. At Hollenback we seek to enable the natural decomposition process, which is safer for the environment – we seek to harness a valuable resource instead of wasting one.


The Hollenback Community Garden was proud to have been part of the Fort Greene Compost Project, a network of gardens that promotes solid waste reduction by collecting approximately 500 pounds of household food waste each Saturday from the Fort Greene Park Greenmarket. We combined that collected material with garden plant waste, local brewery waste, local landscaping waste and cafe coffee grounds, to produce valuable soil amendment.


The compost we produce is used in our garden and neighborhood tree pits, and by community members. We believe strongly in our composting system, not only for its production of rich, organic fertilizer but for enabling us to do our part in making our community more environmentally viable.


Our compost system has been used as a working educational model by the Master Composting Class from The Lower Eastside Ecology Center, as well as by GreenThumb, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Queens Botanical Garden and several workshops, other community gardens & public school classes. Our compost has even been featured on Japanese television. To learn more about our compost contact us at the e-mail address below or come by the garden and ask for Charlie Bayrer, our head composter. For more information about composting in NY, check out The New York City Composting Project


Read a NY Times article about food waste, from May 18, 2008.

“One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal


☼ In 2007, we installed a composting toilet in our garden. This unit allows us to provide restroom facilities for visitors and gardeners, without having to depend on the non-sustainable, chemical, and costly involvement of a rented port-o-potty. Our composting toilet processes human waste and converts it into organic compost and fertile soil. Click here for more details on how it works. We hope that the presence of the composting toilet will serve as a further platform for our garden, and our community, to learn more ways to harness every resource we can when it comes to supporting our planet from the strain we place upon it. Our deepest gratitude to the Battery Park City Conservancy and the Park Avenue Building Supply for their time and efforts in helping us succeed in this project. To read a brief history of all the people who came together to bring this toilet to the garden, click here


To learn more about composting humanure…

– Read author Catherine Price‘s series on the current “humanure” movement


– Watch videos about Humanure, created by Joseph Jenkins


The Garden at Work!

The 2007 season saw an unprecedented amount of manual labors of love, from the digging of a 330 cubic foot hole, to the carrying of an 800 pound tub. Our composting toilet, much like Rome, was not built in a day. Check it out!

“This is what community looks like”: first workday of the 2007 season

“This is what community looks like”: composting toilet edition


Highlights of the Summer

Highlights of the 2010 Season

Highlights of the 2009 Season 

Highlights of the 2008 Season

Highlights of the 2007 Season


In Memory

In 2007, we lost a dear friend and a founding member of the garden, Ms. Gertrude Jefferson. We miss you, Gertrude.


Visitors are Welcome!

☼ Any time the front gate is open, please come in for a visit. Stop in, smell and admire the flowers, talk to gardeners, sit and read or just relax in the shade. Bring your family and your sketchbook. Share your knowledge and your questions.


☼ Respect the hard work of all the gardeners by not picking any fruits, vegetables or flowers. Also make sure to let them know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.


Contact Us

☼ To get more information,offer input, inquire about membership, see about holding an event, join our mailing list, find out how you can help, learn about community events, ask a question, or make a request, you can reach the garden coordinators Hannah Arnett & Dana Guyet at





Local Locals: Lorne, from The Local, May 27, 2010

So Happy Gardening Together by Van Sias, July 13th, 2010

Where Mansion Fell, A Garden Thrives by Calvin Men, from The Local (the Clinton Hill blog from the New York Times), September 22nd, 2009

Brooklyn Community Gardens Inspire Visitors from 4 Continents by Kate Daloz in The Brooklyn Eagle, May 14th, 2008

Tree-huggers Are Green With Envy Over This Toilet by Trevor Soponis, from the Brooklyn Paper, October 13th, 2007

Community Gardens Pick Up Where The City Leaves Off by Charlie Bayrer from State Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s Newsletter – March 2007

A short video about our composting toilet by NYU journalism student, Marshall Bel

An article about Hollenback and the Ft. Greene community composting program, by Laura Silver

A video podcast, Inside the Green Latrine, by Gersh Kuntzman in the Brooklyn Paper



☼ Brooklyn Queens Land Trust

☼ Brooklyn Bears Community Gardens

☼ The Woodbine Block Association Garden

☼ The Trust for Public Land

☼ Green Guerillas

☼ Just Food

☼ Greenthumb

☼ New Yorkers for Parks

☼ Council on the Environment

☼ Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Brooklyn Food Coalition

☼ Urban Studio Brooklyn

☼ The Lower Eastside Ecology Center

☼ Why Hunger Year

☼ Greater Newark Conservancy

☼ Flatbush Gardener

☼ Sustainable Pratt

☼ New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Office of Community Gardens

☼ 6/15 Green Community Garden

☼ Nowtopia: A New Politics of Work

☼ EarthMatter


Further Garden and Community Resources


Find a Community Garden!



Becoming A Member In 2012

We are no longer accepting new members for the 2013 season!  


The 2014 season will be open to new gardeners starting this coming March.  

In the meantime, feel free to visit us in the garden anytime the gates are open!




YEAH!  We’re so excited that you’re interested in joining the garden! 


The official season for 2011 ended Oct 31st and we will be starting up again in March.  Everyone is welcome to join.  If you are interested in joining for 2012 you should send us an e-mail at so we can add you to our e-mail list. 


If you would like to join our garden, and we hope you do, you need to come to either a workday or a meeting before Saturday June 16, 2012.

 Earning a Plot

There is tremendous interest in Hollenback these days but limited space, so we are sorry to say that we will not have many plots to give away in the 2012 season.  We have also started a new policy whereby, if you would like to be eligible for a plot you need to Apprentice for a year.  Apprenticing involves paying dues (a sliding scale of $10-50), coming to 4 workdays, 4 meetings and 4 2-hour open hours shifts during your first season.  If you do all of those deeply fun things in 2012, then you’re eligible for a plot in 2013 (if some open up).  We would love to have you in the garden as an Apprentice.  You’ll be able to tend the common areas and trees, build and turn compost, weed, prune, build beds, help with events and enjoy the garden on your own time.  


Click here for more information about our By Laws and Membership Rules.



If you decide to join as an Apprentice, you will receive a key after coming to 2 meetings and 1 workday.



Wear clothes you can get dirty and be prepared to weed, prune, build, hammer, saw, paint, shovel and get dirty.  We provide tools, but it’s a good idea to bring a pair of gardening gloves and a pair of hand pruners (if you have them).  Be prepared to stay at least 3-4 hours, though you’re welcome to stay all day.



Composting is currently available to members only.  If you would like to compost at Hollenback you will need to join the garden as an Apprentice.  (In years past, when we did accept drop offs from the community at large, we received too many scraps for our compost system.  This raised many complaints from our neighbors about the smell and fly infestation.)  


 Other Gardens 

If you are interested in getting hooked up with another community garden where you are more likely to get your own plot, please contact Hannah Riseley-White at Green Guerillas 212 594-2155.  She’s working with at risk and quiet gardens to get more support and energy into those green spaces. 


You can also go to to find a community garden near you.



If you still have questions contact the co-membership coordinators, Cassandra or Tony 

Open Hours Sign Up

 It’s time to spend some time at the garden!


We have open hours to make sure that our garden stays open & accessible to the public. 

When folks walk by, welcome them in and share our beautiful space with them!


-Please follow the link below to view Open Hours-


Garden Members and Apprentices


  • Sign up for Open Hours using the calendar link posted above.

  • Don’t forget to review the Tasks to do during Open Hours.

  • All members and apprentices are required to sign up for one (1) shift a month.


Contact us if you have questions:


Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Garden Meetings




July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012



April 2011 minutes

May 2011 minutes

June 2011 minutes



March 2010

April 2010

May 2010 

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010
October 2010



August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

April 2009

March 2009



October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008



October 2007

August 2007

June 2007

March 2007


Tasks To Do During Open Hours

  A big part of Open Hours is welcoming people into the garden and talking to them about the work that we do.   It is also time to do anything around the garden that needs doing. 
Some general chores that always need doing…   1) Water the flowers in the tree pits on Washington Ave.    2) Water common area beds:  shade and native gardens, herb garden, sunny perennial border, welcome gardens   3) Sweep and straighten up the composting toilet   4) Straighten the tool shed   5) Check for trash in the welcome gardens       6) WEEEDING!  If you feel comfortable and knowledgeable you can weed in the common area along the fence with the school or in the welcome gardens.  If you are not sure about what is a weed and what is not, check and see if there is another gardener around who might know and ask them.  If you are not sure and no one is around to ask, you can always weed the path and/or the common area in the back (the bricks and blue stone from the fig tree to the fenced compost piles).       7) Check for and spill out any standing water (Death to all mosquitos!)
    8) COMPOST!

  •      Stop, chop and drop all yard waste that is not done into waste bin
  •      Turn contents on Bin #1 into Bin #2; turn Bin#2 into Bin#3
  •      Sift contents of Bin #3 into Bin#4; place leftover sticks and big chunks into “browns” bin

      9)  TRASH!  Check the Department of Sanitation Trash Pick-up Schedule inside the green shed.  Black bag trash should be put out during Open Hours shifts on Sundays and Tuesdays.  Thursday evening Open Hour shifts are for black bag trash, recycling (both paper and metal/plastic) and all bulk trash.  If putting out bulk trash (sticks, wood, old tomato cages, etc.) please make sure that these items are tied into managable bundles.  There is string in the yellow shed for this.    

Gardening Resources

Follow the links below to learn more about local gardening:


Planting Schedule for NYC


Planning a Vegetable Garden

National Gardening Association

Mother Earth News

Square Foot Gardening


NYC Community Garden Fact Sheets


What to Compost


Brooklyn Queens Land Trust


2012 Calendar


 Hollenback Community Garden



                                              -Follow link to view 2012 calendar-


                         -Follow link to printable 2012 Meeting and Workday Schedule-


                                                                               hollenback.2012 schedule.doc




Membership Meetings 

  • To keep your plot, you need to attend 4 membership meetings during the season. 
  • Attendance at certain events may substitute for membership meeting attendance.  Contact Steering Committee for additional information.


Work Days

  • To keep your plot you need to attend 4 during the season.
  • Additional workdays may be added as needed.  Contact Steering Committee for additional information.


Special Events

  • Walk-About 

An informal gathering of gardeners who come together at a set time to walk about the garden and share what they know about gardening.  They look at what they are growing in their plots, explore the common areas and give advice and feedback on what they see.  


  • Full Moon Soiree

An evening garden party under the light of a late summer full moon. Open to garden members and their friends only.            


  • Triple Threat 

Our annual BBQ, Bake Sale, Stoop Sale Extravaganza!!!



Contact us for more information:


2011 Calendar 

Available by scrolling back through the 2012 Calendar


2010 Calendar


2009 Calendar


2008 Calendar


April 2011 Minutes



Membership Meeting Agenda

April 26, 2011



20 second activity – In 20 seconds introduce yourself in any way you want!




•       New structure: Email/calendar




Reviewed that new email is active

wiki pages updated; calendar and open  hours info available

•       Season calendar

◦     Open hour schedule and sign up process

◦     Review work day/meeting schedule



Suggested that same open hour schedule be maintained; partnering for sessions so no one is alone; tues 4-6; Thurs 6-8; Sat/Sun

•       Meeting locations

◦     PM meetings- Member home (when available)

◦     Other ideas???

◦     AM meetings – In garden (Raindates to be discussed)



Those present felt that using library for Sat meetings as rain option is better than raindate; Hannah will check into reserving space

For evening meetings check with Heather on use of her home; Teen Challenge as an option?

•       BQLT

◦     Members needed to attend meetings – Get involved! Become more garden community aware!

◦     Meeting attendance counts as garden meeting

◦     Hannah – Point person

◦     Review schedule



Encouraged members to get involved and attend meetings; need presence in order to influence decisions that affect our garden; contact Hannah or Emerson for more information

•       Membership requirements

◦     Review as FYI- please review detailed version on wikipage

▪     1 open hour per month

▪     4 meetings in the season

▪     4 work days (3 hr minimum shift)

▪     plant plot by June 15th

◦     Questions?

◦     Reminder- All docs available on our Wikipage



Reminder of dues to be paid by June 15th




•       Guerilla Gardening interviews with University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources Vienna

•       Bee hive opportunity



Tony will send email to members about GG request

A local resident wants to put a bee hive in the garden; not clear how the garden/community would be involved- would it be “his” hive and just using space? how interested in the garden is he and what would be be required to do- full membership? Noted that having a hive can be an issue with school location; Will invite him to meet and discuss with members at a monthly scheduled meeting.




•       Purchase of loppers for the garden. Would the members agree to spending approx. $100 on a good new pair? And, how can we effectively control the use and security of our investment?

◦     all at meeting were in favor of purchase



•       Suggestions from group on what plants to buy this year? Budget approved for this at last mtg.  Also, who would like to go to a Long Island Nursery with Marisa (and maybe Claire) to purchase these?

◦     will share date via email so members can participate


•       Who can volunteer to go to the GreenThumb Plant Starts Giveaway:  Sat 30 April?

◦     Will send email to all members requesting assistance (Joe attended)


•       Who wants their raised bed rebuilt? How will cost be covered ($12/plank)?

◦     Members present agreed for garden to pay for wood; use survey to get more feedback


•        Formation of Social Activity Committee – Suzanne (Point person)



•       Formation of Common/Social Area Committee – Deema (Point person?)


•       Plans to use funds to create permanent signs- Compost and other areas

◦     get costs and bring to future meeting


•       Member assignments: Opportunities to get involved

◦     Water barrels

◦     Assist members with plots

◦     Compost work shops

◦     Maintenance of common areas

◦     Trash

◦     Welcome garden/sunny garden area



Carmen- will continue to be on water committee

Emerson- was on committee, can he continue?



•       Review current balance

•       Collect dues- sliding scale $10-$50 by June 15th

•       Request purchase of Quickbooks

◦     Suggestion that there are free options for this software that will suit our needs






Next Membership meeting

Saturday, May 21st @ 12pm (Steering Committee meets @ 11am)

location: Hollenback


Next Workday

Saturday, May 21st @ 1pm-6pm (after meeting)


May 2011 Minutes




Hollenback Garden Meeting Minutes

May 21, 2011


Steering Committee Minutes:

1.     Hannah began the meeting by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each of the steering committee subgroups.

1.     There has been confusion lately around which subgroup has responsibility for specific tasks related to the garden. There is further confusion around what should happen when subgroup representatives are not able to be present for a workday/meeting and who should cover the absent members’ role.

2.    Communication among the steering committee has not been going very smoothly and we brainstormed about various methods for conveying information among the 7 SC members. As discussed at the last meeting, a Google site was created so that all of the information could be centrally located and easily accessible by all SC members. However, not everyone agrees that this method is feasible. In addition, the existing PB Wiki site—the main website for the entire garden membership—is still in use. A discussion ensured around whether it is easier to convey communication to the garden membership via email versus the Goggle site versus PB Wiki.



Action Items:

•      Several SC members noted that we should consider holding the steering committee meetings separately from the membership meetings so that we can iron out the communication and other relevant organizational issues.

•      Hannah/Dana will send around a availability inquiry so that we can hold a meeting prior to the next Membership meeting in June.


2.    The calendar of seasonal meetings and general Saturday workdays was reviewed and Cassandra will update to include the composting workshops as well. Discussion ensued around how to update the calendar to include all new workshop and other events. A decision needs to be made about whether the calendar should be updated electronically versus posted on a sign in the garden. While we await the construction of a sign for the gate where we can post garden calendar and activities, it was decided that we would both update the Wiki calendar and post something the bathroom of the garden. The workday and workshop dates should be clarified at the next SC meeting.



General Membership Meeting Minutes:

1.     The meeting began by welcoming new members to the garden and also extending the garden’s appreciation to Joe for taking on the task of acquiring new plants and seeds for the garden. Thank you, Joe!!

2.    Clarification around communication to the general membership was discussed: Gmail will be used for general emails to the entire membership; The PB Wiki site will be used for general announcements, updates, and information.

1.     The gmail address is:

3.    One of the major tasks facing the garden is the fact that we need to rebuild several plots. A survey was conducted via Survey Monkey to ascertain how many beds needed to be rebuilt and whether members approved of allocating general garden funds to spend money on this. Based on the votes via Survey Monkey and in the meeting (22 “yes” votes and 1 abstention), it was decided that we would use Garden funds to proceed with this task. The logistics of carrying this out will be discussed at a later meeting.

1.     There was a question about whether this vote indicates that we will use Garden funds for this year only or whether it authorizes funds every year when someone needs her plot rebuilt. It was clarified that this vote is for this year only.

2.    As a side issue, Hannah requested feedback on the use of Survey Monkey as a way to query the members about various Garden matters. For those who have access to computers/internet, there was a favorable response to this method, though when issues come up and it is necessary to use Survey Monkey, it would be helpful to have a brief summary of the issue outlined so it is more clear what the survey is about.

4.    Another critical issue facing the garden is the current key/lock situation. The lock is currently broken so that it won’t lock. Vlada volunteered to coordinate getting 60 keys copied and then checking each key against the lock (to be acquired from Mark) to ensure each key works. She will distribute new keys at the June meeting.

5.     Rachel Sousa graciously volunteered—once again—to oversee the apprentices to help orient them to the garden and to the shared apprentice plot. Cassandra will give Rachel the apprentices’ email addresses so she can communicate with them.

6.    A sign-up sheet was circulated for those members who might want some assistance from apprentices for their own garden plots. Cassandra will give the apprentice addresses to the members and they can coordinate among themselves how to work with the respective apprentices.

7.    Marissa introduced the topic of compost workdays and invited everyone to attend however many workshops they can. If they can only attend one, that is fine, but different topics will be covered at each workshop, so it would not be redundant to attend multiple meetings. Attendance at these workshops WILL count toward workday requirements and the list of dates for the workshops will be added to the seasonal calendar.

8.    Hannah asked for volunteers to lead various subcommittees: Social = Suzanne M.; BQLT = Hannah; Community areas = Deema; Compost = Marisa.

9.    Emmerson gave a financial update.

10. Hannah closed the meeting by clarifying that the Membership meeting will go back to a start time of 7 pm for the Wednesday meetings since the SC meetings will now be held separately. HOWEVER, we are still struggling with finding a place to hold the weekday meetings. We may need to consider alternative times/dates so we can continue to have monthly meetings. When that is resolved, it is anticipated that we will only need 1 hour for membership meetings since the SC meetings will be held separately.