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June 2011 Minutes


Hollenback Community Garden

Membership Meeting Minutes

June 15, 2011



•   please use for all garden business to be sure that message can be accessed by both co-presidents and other steering committee members will be able to view and respond.

•   Week day Meetings: 7PM in garden;

•   rain location: home of Heather Parlier,


57 South Oxford Street (between Lafayette and Dekalb)

•   Saturday meetings no rain location currently

•   Wikipage

•   Issues with online open hours sign up- we are working on issue

•   Please fill out open hour sheet legibly

•   email us your hours if you can’t access online; or

•   sign up in binder

•   reminder: general updates will be posted as announcements

•   Harvest tracking

•   We can do this again for the season

•   review forms/sign up members who want to track

•   Deema, Mark, Cody, Dana, Joe and Tony expressed interest

◦                    new forms will be in binder in toilet


•   Garden key distribution

•   distribution/tracking with Claire at work day



Subcommittee Updates

•   Space Committee: Deema (see details at end of minutes)

•   Deema to send Google doc to group for ground cover suggestions.  Vote on 6/29. Space is approx 23/x18

•   Open to suggestions on soil source and depth.  Could do project over 4 different workdays in July/August.

•   Compost Committee update (Marisa)

•   Successful workshop on 6/11.  Fresh compost available in 4th bin

•   please help people to chop greens when difficult

•   Opportunity to put Hollenback on the compost map.  Group approved (with one abstention)

•   on 7/13 there will be a potluck meeting at Brooklyn Botanical Garden




•   Open Hours

•   initial in binder that you attended/completed

•   Remember to complete tasks: trash; watering; weeding

•   Weeding and watering of public space = welcome/sunny/shade gardens; common areas

•   Part of the duties, along with meet and greet, is taking out the trash.  Trash


schedule is in the green binder.  (After 5pm: Sundays, Tuesdays and                         Thursdays. Recycling: Thursdays)

•   Extra week day time session requested- select day/time

•   Hose procedures

•   Please do not leave hose lying in pathway

•   It should be dragged the full length of path so it does not block walkway

•   spigot on rain water harvester broken; use water so we can replace it when close to empty

•   Plot rebuilding

•   Update on plan for fall

•   Details to be provided during the season; operations will do cost/benefit analysis

•   Many plots need to be rebuilt (12-15).  Could rebuild 5/day on average

•   Should consider staggering rebuilding of plots so that they don’t need to rebuilt all at once every 2-3 years.

•   Cedar lasts longer/costs more

•   HBCG received $300 grant toward project – must complete by 10/15

•   Tool/supply purchase- 2 clippers now in shed. PLEASE RETURN WHEN DONE

•   Opportunities to get involved. Join the team!

•   Water Barrels – Frank, Joe and Carmen are the committee.  Apprentices can help.

•   Herb garden plant luck- Heather P will coordinate via e-mail. Sunday 6/26; she will email for participation

•   Weed guide activity- dispose of weeds in regular trash to avoid reproduction

•   Common Plot areas: Frank requested that members take care of the space around their plots; keep path clear, etc




•   Review/update information on membership list for accuracy

•   New plot lottery- will be held at July meeting

•   Membership responsibilities

•   Dues  – must be paid by June 15 – extended to allow to mail by June 18

•   Planting deadline- June 15th

•   status of member responsibilities will be shared over course of season




•   Current balance – $4,923.46

•   2011 dues paid (prior to meeting): $140.



Space committee details: questions/suggestions

•   soil- where to get/how much

•   plants- where to purchase

•   4 work days to get completed

•   will maintain benches/seating area

•   maybe do tarp cover

•   Possibly add earth oven, and/or hammock to common area

•   need to determine budget

•   Marisa can help with gravel assessment

•   set pavers to determine soil amount

•   use of slate- determine how much we have




Upcoming Events:


Next  Meeting

Saturday, July 16th @ 11AM – 12PM

Location: Garden (rain location TBD)


Next Workday

Saturday, June 18th @ 10am-6pm

Location: Garden


Next Compost Workshop

Thursday July 14th @ 6PM

location: Garden


Plant luck work day June 26, 2011- at garden 10AM-1PMJune 2011 minutes Meeting Minutes


2010 Calendar

Hollenback Community Garden

General Calendar & Event Information 


                                              -Follow link to view 2011 calendar-



Membership Meetings

Location: Saturday’s – In the garden, weather permitting. Weekday’s – TBA. 


  • 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

Location:  In the garden


  • 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

Location: In the Garden


  • Herb Garden Plant-luck 

The garden has a memorial herb garden. Once a year, we will send out a list of plants that we would like for the herb garden, such as 4 basil plants, 2 lavenders, 2 oregano, 3 chives, and ask for people to sign up to bring a plant from the list for the planting day.


  • 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:


2009 Calendar


2008 Calendar


By Laws And Membership Rules

Hollenback Community Garden By Laws and Membership Requirements



All Members Agree to:


1) Sign this contract agreeing to the following guidelines by June 15th of every growing season.


2) Pay on a sliding scale of $10-50 per person by June 15th of each season. Membership dues are paid within the fee scale at a given member’s discretion.


3) Work one open hour session per month. Members are not allowed to miss more than 4 shifts per season. One shift is a 2 hour session. 

Open Hour Shifts will be:

  • Thursday 6-8
  • Saturday 4-6
  • Sunday 10-12, 2-4, 4-6


Each Plot Agrees to:


4) Attend at least 4 out of 8 meetings per season.

The first and last meetings of the year will no longer be considered mandatory, but as in the past, much important business is taken care of at these meetings, such as distribution of plots. If you are not in attendance, and there is a quorum, important votes may occur without your presence. The garden will make every attempt through e-mail, phone or mail to inform members of important issues coming up for vote so that they can express their opinion before the meeting if they can not be in attendance.


Up to two (2) out of the four (4) Meetings can be fulfilled with the suggestions below.  In order to receive credit for attending an alternative meeting or event, attendees must report back to the membership to tell everyone how awesome it was.  The following alternatives for Meetings are approved:


a.     Attend a Brooklyn Queens Land Trust meeting. 


b.      Organize or Facilitate a workshop at the garden for the garden or neighborhood.  (Workshop ideas must be presented to the membership for approval and to enable the workshop organizer to solicit volunteers and other support.)  


c.     Attend a community garden workshop, class or event.  Approved activities include:


o   GreenBridge workshop (community garden branch of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden)


o  GreenThumb workshop (community garden city agency for NYC)


o  Making Brooklyn Bloom (community garden conference organized by     



o  GreenThumb Grow Together (community garden conference organized by  



(Any other workshop or event attended by a garden member that is not on the list needs to be approved by the membership.)


d.     Attendance at two (2) Hollenback committee meetings (ex: Education or Rules committee) will count for one (1) Meeting credit.


5) Work at least 4 workdays or events per season (at least a 3 hour shift for each).

If it looks to be a particularly busy season, the garden may vote at the beginning of the season, to increase the minimum number of workdays/events attendance to be required that year.


6) Plant their plot by June 15th


Consequences for not fulfilling Membership Rules & Responsibilities #1-6


1) If any Member with a plot does not adhere to the membership rules, they will lose their plot at the start of the next growing season. Those members will remain members of the garden and keep their key. They will be placed on the waiting list for earning plot eligibility for the next season.


2) If a Member without a plot or an Apprentice does not adhere to the membership guidelines, they will lose their key and be placed at the bottom of the wait list for plot eligibility. They can reapply as Apprentices for the next season.



1) New people can join the garden their first season by attending either a workday or a meeting between March 15th to June 15th. These new members are called Apprentice members.


2) Apprentices will be given a key after paying dues and attending 2 meetings and 1 workday in their first season.


3) If Apprentices fulfill regular member rules #1-5 as an individual they will be eligible for a plot the next season, if there is one available.


4) If a current member with a plot invites a friend to work with them on their plot, that new person must still join as an individual Apprentice. To get a key they personally need to come to 2 meetings and a workday. To qualify for their own plot the next year they must follow member rules #1-6 as individuals. If they do not follow rules #1-6, they loose their key the following year.


5) Apprentices will help tend communal areas, potentially including plots that are not planted by June 15th. 


6) New members will not be accepted after June 15th.


7) You must be 18 years old to join the garden.




1) There are three tiers of membership used to determine the waitlist.

  • a. Members with plots.
  • b. Members without plots.
  • c. Apprentices.


2) These tiers will remain when determining rank on the wait list for available plots. For example, if a member with a plot, a member without a plot and an apprentice all fail to meet the membership requirements, they will appear at the bottom of the waitlist in the same order (member w/ plot, member w/out plot, apprentice).


3) Determining order of Apprentices on the wait list:

  • A. In the week following June 15th, a lottery will be done to determine the rank of Apprentices who have expressed interest in becoming members.
  • B. It will be a random lottery drawing of names.
  • C. From this, the master list of apprentices will be made to determine their spot on the wait list.
  • D. Apprentices who don’t meet the requirements of membership will be removed from the wait list at the end of the season and can reapply the next year.



 1) New plots will be distributed at the First meeting of each season.


2) If there is open space, current members will have the option to expand their plots to reach a total maximum of 4 X 8 Ft per household.

-The proposed maximum space of 4 X 8 square feet per household is to be put into effect for the 2008 season. This proposal is not to be put into effect retroactively.


3) Seniority matters. Senior-most members who wish to change plots within the garden will be able to do so first, before the waiting list is consulted to place a member w/out a plot or an apprentice.


4) When 2 or more people tending a plot decide that they no longer want to share a plot and one of them wants to find their own new space, it is the seniority of the member seeking the new plot that determines their rank in the order that plots are being disbursed.


5) If there is additional space, Members without plots who are at the top of the waitlist will have the option to claim a plot next.


6) If there is still more space, Apprentices who have met all of the member requirements from the previous summer and are next on the waitlist will have the option to claim a plot.



 Keys are a precious commodity.

 1) Keys and plots are non-transferable.

This means you can not make copies or give your key out to your roommate/friend/neighbor to take over your plot.


2) Current members may LOAN their key to a friend to help maintain their plot if they are out of town etc. but they may not make duplicates of the key. Make sure to contact the coordinator and introduce your friends to garden members. Allowing someone to water your plot or tend to it while you are on vacation is done at the gardener’s discretion, though it is suggested that garden members look to apprentices and other garden members if at all possible.


3) You have to be 18 years old to get a key.



1) After 3 active seasons in the garden each member in good standing who has a plot is entitled to take a one year seasonal sabbatical.


2) Their plot will be tended either by their current plot partners or by gardeners at the top of the plot wait list.


3) Members on sabbatical will have the right to return to their original plot after their year away.


4) Members must inform the garden coordinators of their intent to take a sabbatical by June 15th.


5) Members must inform the garden coordinators of their intent to reclaim their plot by the following March 1st.


6) In the case of an emergency sabbatical from the garden:

a. Members must contact the garden coordinator as soon as possible to turn in their key.

b. The plot will be given to either an interested gardener or an apprentice to tend in their absence, and the member can return to that plot at the end of their sabbatical during the current season or at the beginning of the next season.

c. The member going on sabbatical may also choose to rescind ownership of the plot, in which case it will go to the first person on the waitlist. Their membership will remain intact in the case of a rescinded plot and they will go to the top of the waitlist at the beginning of the next season.

d. It is a member’s responsibility to contact the coordinators if they need an emergency sabbatical.



1) For any expenditure valued at less than $250 or action of the garden that will happen within three months of the meeting, decisions can be made by simple majority among attendees at the meeting.


2) For any expenditure greater than $250 or any decision impacting the Membership Rules, the by-laws or with long-term impact beyond 3 months, a quorum of the garden must be obtained to vote on the proposal.


3) IF Quorum is not reached at the meeting it will be reached through e-mail, phone or mail in a reasonable amount of time.


          a. A quorum is 3/4 of the total garden membership determined by the number of members

             who have been in the garden longer than one year. 

     b. A 2/3rds majority of the quorum is required to pass a given proposel.

     c. Apprentices can not be counted towards a quorum, but they do have the right to vote.

 d. Apprentices must be present to vote.


I. Other Guidelines


1) Garden Membership Rules (especially those for becoming a new member) will be publicized at the garden gate and on our website and through the Membership Coordinators.


2) Open Hour Buddies will increase accountability at Open Hours and make it more fun to show up for your timeslot.


3) A Phone Calling Tree will assign people who do have access to email to act as buddies for people who do not. As we move towards having more information about the garden online, this will ensure that people without access to email are kept in the loop and also build in another buddy system. 


4) Leadership Positions will create concrete roles for people who want to be more involved in Hollenback and will provide much needed leadership and support to the Garden Community.




1. Steering Committee   

  • The Garden membership will elect a Steering Committee.
  • The Steering Committee will optimally consist of 7 members:
    • Co-Presidents (2)
    • Membership Co-coordinators (2)
    • Garden Operations Co-coordinators (2)
    • Treasurer (1)
  • Elections will be held at the October member meeting
  • Any Hollenback Garden member in good standing (i.e., dues are fully paid and all open hour/work day commitments have been met) can run for a position on the Steering Committee
    • Hollenback Garden apprentices are not eligible to run for Steering Committee positions
  • The Steering Committee is a 2 year commitment
    • Exception: elections in 2011 will allow one year commitments for 3 Steering Committee members (1 co-president, 1 membership coordinator and 1 garden operations coordinator) in order to stagger the elections in future years.
    • Members of the Steering Committee are eligible to run for re-election if they want to do so.
    • If a member of the Steering Committee resigns mid-term, a special election will be held within 30 days of the notice of resignation to replace him/her.  Elections for the vacated position will be held regularly after that.
    • If a position remains vacant prior to the special election being held, existing members of the Steering Committee will assume the responsibilities of the vacant position.
      • Every effort must be made by the Hollenback Garden members to fill any vacant position within 30 days of the notice of resignation, or during regularly held elections (whichever comes first).
  • Members of the Steering Committee will be excused from performing open hours.
  • The Steering Committee will conduct open meetings for the first hour of every garden meeting.


2. Concerns

  • If there is a concern about a member(s) on the Steering Committee or a decision that the Steering Committee has made, garden members should:
    • 1 – Approach a member(s) of the Steering Committee with their concern prior to any general garden meetings
    • 2 – The Steering Committee, will then put this concern on their meeting agenda.
    • 3 – If the issue can not be resolved by the Steering Committee, it will be brought to the general membership


3. Role of the Steering Committee

  • The following are the duties of the seven positions that make up the Steering Committee:


Duties of Membership Co-coordinators (2)


          In terms of Record Keeping

          – Update attendance at all meetings, events and workdays (members who are not sure if           they were counted should contact this person)

          –  Inform gardeners of their attendance

          –  Reach out to quiet members

          –  Work with members to help figure out how they can fulfill their    

          membership requirements

          –  Create Open Hour sign-up sheets

          –  Make sure garden maintains Open-Hour commitment (Check that slots are         

          being filled and that everyone is signing up)

          –  Update garden member contact information

          –  Coordinate phone tree to keep members without e-mail informed about   meetings,           events, workdays, important votes


            In terms of New Members

          –  Respond to interest/questions from new members

          –  Coordinate garden orientation for new gardeners (This includes setting a schedule of set           “New Member Orientation” dates over the course of the season)

          – Hold apprentice member waitlist lottery- Apprentice plot – find an experienced gardener           to coordinate planting and harvesting 


Duties of Garden Operation Coordinators (2)


          In terms of Day to Day Operations

          –  Organize workdays

          –  Be mindful of seasonal workday chores

          –  Oversee garden repairs

          –  Move the cone in the composting toilet

          –  Provide seasonal maintenance (removing the plunger for the rainwater harvester in the           spring, replacing the plunger in the late fall, coordinate snow shoveling/leaf drop off)

          –  Take attendance at workdays and send to record keeping coordinator 


          In terms of Big Picture Operations

          –  Make sure garden is operating in accordance with membership agreement

          –  Preserve and present garden history

          –  Explain rain water harvester, composting toilet, composting system

          –  Set project agendas

          –  Form/ take volunteers for events committee (An events committee can be made for the           entire season or for each individual event)

          –  Delegate committee leadership

          –  Making sure garden is represented at GreenThumb tool and plant giveaways

          –  Makes sure there is photo evidence of garden events and projects

          –  Create and propose annual workday calendar


Duties of Co-Presidents (2)


          –   Conflict resolution

          –   Serve as contact person for garden

          –   Loose ends

          –   Set agenda for coordinator meetings and for membership meetings

          –   Facilitate monthly membership meetings

          –   Take attendance at coordinator meetings and membership meetings and submit to           membership coordinator

          –    Take meeting minutes (this could also be done by a secretary or by a volunteer present           at the meeting – whoever takes them should type them up to be posted on Hollenback wiki           page)

          –  Serve as voting representative for Hollenback in BQLT (or any other land trust which           hold the deed to Hollenback)

          –   Outreach and Communicate with neighbors and block association

          –   Communicate with other gardens and other gardening groups

          –   Disseminate important information to garden membership

          –   Update wiki page

          –   Announce gardening workshops/conferences

          –   Maintain yahoo e-mail account – check e-mail and forward to appropriate           committee/coordinator/person


Duties of Treasurer (1)


          –  Maintain budget

          –  Maintain garden bank account

          –  Collect dues

          –  Keep track of dues paid

          –  Deposit checks

          –  Reimburse expenditures

          –  Write small grants/delegate writing of small grants

          –  Propose annual budget for garden approval

          – Report on garden accounts at meetings


  • The role of the Steering Committee will be to:
    • Act upon the wishes of the General Membership as agreed to by majority vote or general consensus during the garden meetings
    • Serve as a liaison between the Hollenback Garden and the outside community.  “Community” in this case includes, but is not limited to, other garden associations, government bodies, academic institutions, interested parties and the general population.  Basically anyone not associated with Hollenback Garden.
      • Any positions put forth by the Steering Committee on behalf of Hollenback Garden when liaising with the Community shall be first agreed upon by the General Membership – either through majority vote or general consensus during an open meeting.
    • Represent the goals and ideals of Hollenback Garden in good faith as agreed to by the General Membership
    • Faithfully perform the duties of their office as defined in the job descriptions above.
    • Any use of funds by the Steering Committee must be agreed upon by the general consensus of the General Membership
  • If any member of the Steering Committee is believed to be in violation of his/her roles as outlined above by any member of Hollenback Garden,  the process outlined above in Section 2 Concerns should be followed.
    • If, after following the process outlined in Section 2 Concerns, a member of the Steering Committee is believed to be in violation of his/her role, s/he can be removed from office by a majority vote of the General Membership.  The vacated role must be filled within 30 days.

    4. Documentation

  • Steering Committee meeting minutes need to be posted on-line, by e-mail and at garden meetings.
    • The Membership Coordinators will be responsible for the drafting and posting of the meeting minutes.



October 2010

Wednesday, October 20th

Meeting Minutes


In attendance

Cara (and Fern), Deema, Heather P., Hannah, Lon, Melissa, Maggie, Sarah, Pat, Carmen, Frank, Judy, Claire, Greg, Tom, Joe, Mark, Tony, Cassandra, Emerson, Charlie, Val, Anabelle, Yodit, Dana, Vlada (and Alex), Roma



          Name one highlight of your gardening season

            Name one opportunity for growth for our next growing season








Opportunity for Growth





Forgetting to plant bachelor’s buttons, planting them late, but they still come up – an important reminder that the “rules” of gardening need to be taken with a grain of salt & the green signs that everyone used to name their plots!



Being more conscious of the nutrients in the soil and doing more to replenish them


Heather P.



Roof gardening


Becoming a lavender farmer




Lesson learned – no more squash – it takes over your entire plot and then spreads more



Ordering seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library





Variegated chasmanthium and finishing the path in the native plant garden






The “little red arrows pointing up to the sky” – the magenta celosia



Dealing with the white flies that came and killed everything this season






Lizza’s excitement over the first lettuce she’d grown and harvested






The Triple Threat – especially working with Jennifer with the cake sale and the participation of all the gardeners who brought secret sneak-preview Martha Stewart cookies and different organic treats






His tremendous yield of cucumbers – this year getting them to not fight against each other



Remembering that less is better






The Triple Threat





Zinnias, garlic, jalapenos – less variety, minimizing approach really worked



Learning more about weed recognition and knowing what is ok to pull up; learning more about pruning and maintaining plants; cold frames





Making a big, delicious tomato sauce



Some seeds never came up – experimenting with a scarecrow or try to plant from seedlings





Growing eggplant



Trying garlic, potatoes and onions





The new compost bins


The opportunity to fill the new compost bins






Excited to have a plot for the first time – all the sage and mint and jalapeños



Plan out my plot better – more variety





A squash plant choked out a lot of plants, but there was some beautiful corn and tomatoes



Getting to the garden more often and earlier to weed things out





Growing peppers and eggplants


Growing garlic





Growing eggplants and bright red peppers



Pepper recognition without biting into the pepper; trying to re-grow corn; organizing the plot better next year



Tony & Cassandra



The cantaloupe that came up (even though it didn’t taste that good)



Figuring out a better schedule for when to plant things





Being able to balance a newborn and still maintain plot and harvest



Planted tomatoes from seed that came up but yielded little





Growing jalapenos, which I had always resisted – they were so plentiful and I learned a lot about what to do with them (cooking, pickling, relishes, etc.)



Saving seeds from my vegetables





Cara gave a budget report.  Some highlights:

• The garden’s current assets come out to $4,939.57. 

• The garden raised $579.05 from our fund-raising events (The Triple Threat) and $987.00 from our membership dues (which are a sliding scale from $10 to $50).


Earlier in the season, we estimated our income from membership dues would be around $800.  Based on that amount, Cara proposed a spending budget of $500 for plants; $150 for Events and $100 for garden/office supplies, for a total of $750.  Of the money allocated, $568.95 was spent.  Hollenback has never allocated funds to specific categories like this before.  Deema said it was really helpful to see it all written out like this and Cassandra said it will also really help us for next year.


Some expected, up-coming expenditures are $250 for a new battery for the composting toilet; $25 for additional signage for the compost bins; and $40 for anti-mosquito plants.



There was some discussion of the mosquito problem at Hollenback this season.  In addition to the anti-mosquito plants that Ruth researched, Emerson said he would look into the cost and logistics of an electric mosquito zapper.  Mark also brought up a proposal that was made several seasons ago about the possibility of putting up a bat house in the garden, since bats are natural predators of mosquitoes.


New Plants

As decided at our September meeting, Cara bought some tulips, daffodils, clematis, hellebore, 6 ferns and some bleeding hearts.  These will be planted during the workday on this coming Saturday.  Thanks Cara!


Heather P also bought enough Winter Rye to cover everyone’s plot.  Winter Rye is what is known as green manure – it germinates in the winter, sprouts in the spring and it is then tilled into your soil before it goes to seed.  The seeds will also be available at Saturday’s workday.  Any gardener who will not be at the workday who is interested, should contact Heather and she will leave a baggie of it on your plot. ( Thanks, Heather!


Plot Distribution for 2011

As always, in accordance with our membership agreement, plot distribution will take place at our first meeting of the 2011 season in March. 

At that point we will know:

a.       who has fulfilled their membership requirements

b.      which, if any, gardeners are leaving or taking a sabbatical

c.       which, if any, gardeners currently on sabbatical wish to return


all of which will tell us which, if any, plots are available.  If any plots open up, garden members with plots will have an opportunity to leave their old plot and shift into the new plot.  Then, any apprentice members who have fulfilled their membership requirements will be given plots to farm in accordance to their order on the waitlist.


GreenThumb workshop: Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities

This workshop is on Sat., Nov. 20th at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  Greg volunteered to represent Hollenback and place a mulch request on behalf of the garden.  Vlada said she would try to go as well.  Thanks Greg and Vlada!


Transition of Leadership: Hollenback’s next phase


After six seasons as coordinators at Hollenback, Cara and I are stepping down from our positions. 


To put it in gardening terms, if you always plant your tomatoes, season after season, in the same spot of your plot, eventually they will drain all the nutrients from that area of your soil and they will not grow as strong or as fruitful.  It is time for Hollenback to rotate its crop. 


When we first became the coordinators at Hollenback at the beginning of the 2005 season, we were given the password to the garden Yahoo account and a few pictures of events that had happened at the garden and not much else.  At the time, the position of garden coordinator was for life, with no official process for transition.  We would like to build a formalized structure of how leadership should be organized within the garden.  At the meeting, we proposed forming a committee to think about these issues and to try and design some structure for how power will be divided up in the garden.  So far, the Transition Committee is Cara, Mark, Cassandra, Hannah, Tony, and Vlada.  When the committee meets, the time and place will be announced to the entire garden membership, and anyone should feel welcome to attend.  It was proposed that we have an all-member garden meeting during the winter (maybe around January) where the Transition Committee can report on its progress.


We brainstormed some ideas, so that the committee could have some indication of what the members are thinking about leadership:

  1. Several people thought that the leadership would be more manageable if it were divided up between more than two people – perhaps different leaders to handle different parts of the coordinator duties and Cara and I have defined them over the years.
    1. Financial
    2. Communication
    3. Record Keeping
    4. Garden Operations
    5. New Membership
    6. Meetings
    7. Representation in NYC Garden Community
  2. There was an idea of creating a design committee to come up with large scale design plans  and maintain momentum for the development and realization of those plans
  3. There was the idea of having an executive team, with a rotating chair – perhaps with the chair having two-year terms, one year as a learning chair and one year as the main chair.
  4. We will need some process for what happens if no one is interested in assuming necessary leadership positions
  5. We will need to decide what kinds of decisions leadership should be able to make quickly (and on their own) and what kinds of decisions they need to consult with the garden membership.


As Maggie said, when we are finished with this process, Hollenback is going to be even stronger than it is today.


Rebuilding Beds

Hannah and Dana are working together and exploring the idea of purchasing cedar raised bed kits to rebuild their plots.  If you are interested in doing the same, let them know.  They are also looking into seeing if they can write a small grant to pay for the materials.  If you would like more information, you can reach Hannah at ( and Dana at (



Respectfully submitted by Mark.

September 2010

Saturday, September 23rd

Meeting Minutes


In attendance: Heather P, Heather L, Daisy, Carmen, Carolyn, Peter, Rachel S, John Ryan, Mark, Ruth, Kirk, Emerson, Judy, Cara



One expression your parents used when you were a kid that you have used as an adult

–         Heather P’s father passed on the use of “hot tamales” to describe the weather

–         Carolyn’s parents passed down “cruisin’ for a bruisin’”

–         The older generation in Carmen’s family used to tell the children who asked too many questions,

          “Go read a book.”

–         Rachel S learned “only boring people get bored”

–         Ruth got her use of the word, “ding-a-ling” to describe people who are idiots

–         Heather L got “Goll diggings!” (as in “shoot!” or “darn it!”)

–         Emerson got, “Eat your food before it eats you!”

–         Kirk got the moniker, “ragamuffin”


Favorite mode of transportation

–         Judy likes the efficiency of the NYC subway system and the view from above on the bus

–         Daisy loves to walk

–         Peter loves to ride his bike, hoping someday to bike across the US, a dream stoked by an shower           curtain map he once had

–         Mark reminisced about riding freight trains, esp. when he wasn’t sure where they were going, because           then the traveling really was more about the journey and less about the destination


What was your favorite/best subject when you were a kid?

–         Cara was fond of history – she had a penchant for memorizing facts and liked finding out what happened           – she remembered she was the only student in her history class at her Quaker school who felt the US           should not have dropped the atomic bomb

–         Mark was a good reader – in the 2rd grade, he’d gotten in a fist fight during the morning line-up in the           gym and the gym teacher said he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in that days gym class.  Mark brought           the book he was reading at the time, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne and sat on the           sidelines.  Mr. Glowen (the gym teacher) saw the 300 page book in Mark’s little hands and asked his           teacher about it.  She told him Mark loved to read and was very advanced.  This impressed Mr. Glowen,           who said Mark could participate in the sport of the day and leave his book with his teacher.  This turn of           events did not impress Mark.




At the beginning of the season, we set a budget for the purchase of plants for the common areas of the garden.  There is $400 of this money left.  Ruth volunteered to look into some anti-mosquito plants (maybe citronella, molasses grass).  Heather P. volunteered to look into cover crops.  Cara volunteered to look into bulbs and other plants suggested (tulips, crocuses, etc.)



Other Garden Purchases

Peter brought up the fact that the battery we use to run the composting toilet is losing its ability to hold the charge from the solar panel.  Someone asked about the need to purchase a new battery, concerned the seemingly short time that our current battery has run down.   Pete pointed out that what we have is the battery that came with the unit and we have no way of knowing how many years it was in use before we even got it.  Peter volunteered to look into the pricing and installing of a new battery.



Triple Threat

It was a close competition between the yard sale and the bake sale, but in the end, the yard sale brought in $259.75, and the bake sale brought in $265.30.  Add the $44 we made in donations and subtract the $90 we spent on BBQ supplies, and the garden raised $490.05!

Special thanks to Jennifer, Gary, Dana, Carmen, Cody, Hannah, Lizza, Roma, Peter, Gina, Emerson, Kate, Kirk, Joe, Anita, John Ryan, Melissa, Ally, Lorne, Vlada, Michael, Claire, Ms. Covington, Margaret, Ruth, Carolyn, Cassandra, Tony, Greg, Heather, Judy, Mark, Cara and to all of the friends and community members who spent the beautiful day with us in the garden.

Some ideas for next year’s Triple Threat:

  1. Coordinate with Washington Avenue to maximize foot traffic past garden – it turns out there was a street fare soon after our event. 
  2. This year we had a lot of great vintage women’s clothes, donated kindly by Joe’s sister, Anita.  Instead of just dropping off what remained at the end of the day to a Goodwill (as has been our usual practice), Emerson donated the clothes to an organization that works specifically with women looking for a second chance to get back on their feet.


Cold Frames

Rachel S. attended a workshop in East New York on using cold frames and windrows to extend the growing season.  She plans on using windrows (hoops covered with plastic or cloth) in her plot and hopes to organize a workday with other interested gardeners in mid-October.  Daisy, Heather P, Mark expressed interest in taking part in Rachel’s fall workday.  There was some interest in perhaps talking to Greg to see if there were any Pratt students who might be interested in designing windrows with the garden using cheap or found materials. 


Compost Orientation


Now that our new compost bins are completed, Hollenback is embarking on a compost education project.  Our first target audience is ourselves.  Since we no longer have Charlie as the sole keeper of the compost, it is important for every garden member to learn the basics of compost as well as how our compost is set-up.


We started with a true/false quiz:


1)       The heat from a compost pile is caused by exposure to sunlight.

FALSE. The heat from a compost pile is created by the many types of bacteria doing their thing in our compost pile.  They are busy multiplying as they begin the process of breaking down all of our organic material.  With the proper moisture and oxygen, and a balance of carbon and nitrogen, there is little organic material these little friends can’t break down.


2)    A balanced compost pile is composed of 50% greens and 50% browns.

TRUE.  Greens are things like food waste and fresh garden clippings.  Browns are things like dead leaves, wood chips, newspaper, dried greens.


3)     A compost pile requires oxygen in order to break down.

FALSE, BUT….  Things break down with or without oxygen, but at Hollenback we are interested in aerobic composting.  That means we want all our little friends in the pile to get plenty of oxygen.  That is why we “turn” the piles.  The alternative is anaerobic decomposition.  While things will break down, anaerobic decomposition happens very slowly. Anaerobic decomposition is what happens at garbage dumps where food waste is mixed in with plastics and other trash.  In that environment, methane is produced in large quantities.  As an environmentally friendly, local community garden, that is a product and smell we are not interested in.


4)    You should only add compost to your plot in the spring.

FALSE.  Compost can be added to your plot at any time in the season.  Many people dig compost into their soil when they put their beds to rest at the end of a season.  Many people add compost when they plant their seedlings.


5)     Only garden members (including apprentices) can drop off food scraps at Hollenback.

TRUE.  This may change in the future, but for now, we are only processing our own food waste.  If a community member comes by wanting to drop off food waste, explain Hollenback is not currently accepting outside food waste.  You can suggest the Fort Greene Farmers market compost drop off.  Our plan is to develop the scope of our composting project slowly, making sure that production level takes its lead from how much work gardeners are interested in doing.   


6)     The only purpose of compost production is to improve soil conditions.

FALSE.  It is true that compost can improve soil conditions.  It is more local and sustainable that buying fertilizer, often made with petroleum, and certainly transported by petroleum in bags made of petroleum.  But compost is not only about allowing a natural process to take place to replenish our soil.  Every scrap of food waste and plant waste that we compost is food waste and plant waste that we are keeping from an unsustainable garbage dump, which as we mentioned in #3, is a toxic producer of methane, a greenhouse gas.


7)     When I drop off my food scraps, I should add an equal amount of brown material.



8)     Charlie is responsible for the turning of our compost piles.

FALSE.  All members of Hollenback are responsible for the proper care and necessary work to keep our compost piles going.  That includes deciding when to turn the piles, turning the piles and keeping them about as moist as a squeezed out sponge.


9)     Plant waste is considered brown material.

TRUE AND FALSE.  Once dry, plant waste is considered brown material.  The purpose of th “Stop/Chop/Drop” bin at Hollenback is to allow fresh plant waste to turn into brown material.


10)   Chopping up plant material is a great way to get to know your fellow gardeners.



11)    All plant waste found in the garden is appropriate for the compost pile.

FALSE.  Use your judgment.  Weeds are fighters and if their seeds are placed in the compost pile, there is a good chance that they will come up wherever that compost is used.  It is not the end of the word if a weed ends up in the compost, but keeping large,”problem” weeds out of the compost will save the energy of having to cut them up now and of having to pull them up later.  


After our discussion we went over to the actual bins and Pete talked a little about his design choices, and the building of the bins.  We walked through the process of adding an equal amount of browns when adding food waste to Bin #1.


Our new compost project is a work-in-progress, and we will continue to develop our own individual and organization understanding of what we want composting to mean at Hollenback.





Respectfully submitted by Mark.

July 2010

Hollenback Community Garden

Sat, July 17th, 2010


Icebreaker Interviews: 

          What is the coldest you have ever felt in your life?

          What is your favorite recipe for a cool summer drink?

          What new gardening discovery have you made this year?


It’s Business Time!

☼ Open Hours

☼ Dues

     Dues are paid annually on a sliding scale of $10-50, so you decide how much      you want to pay. Give your dues to Cara, or send them to her at 590      Flatbush Ave, #11L, Brooklyn, NY 11225.



☼ Weighing the Food We Grow at Hollenback

☼ Composting at Hollenback

☼ EarthMatter

     Charlie and Marisa are looking for volunteers for City of Water Day on      Governor’s Island, Sat, July 24th.  For a 2 hour commitment, you      will be      rewarded with a t-shirt and permission to camp out on the island Sat night.      Contact Marisa for more info: 


New Business

☼ Security in the Garden


Best Practices

☼ Weeds- Scavenger Hunt! 



☼ Workday: Tues, July 20th 5:30-8:30 @ the garden 

☼ Walk About: Thurs, July 29th 6:30-7:30 p.m. @ the garden


Next Meeting:

Wed, Aug 18th 7:00-9:00 @ the garden (rain location: 459 Vanderbilt Ave) 


August 2010

Hollenback Community Garden

Wed, Aug 18, 2010

Meeting Minutes

(compiled by John Ryan, with a little help from Cara)



     Who was your favorite teacher and why?

     Share a story from your or someone in your family’s birth.


It’s Business Time!

☼ Open Hours- sign up on-line or in the green binder in the shed

☼ Dues– At this point, 37 out of 39 members and 9 out of 19 apprentices have paid dues for a total of $886.



☼ Neighbor Tree Removal- Liz Thorpe, who recently began renovating a house at the back of the garden (that used to have a bath tub hanging out of the second floor), sent us an e-mail saying that she be will cutting down their choke cherry, letting more light in for the fig tree. Everyone cheered!

☼ Ruth out of town until Aug 30th- volunteer needed to empty roof washers- Michael will empty the roof washers in her place.

☼ Cold frames with Rachel- Rachel attended a Greenbridge workshop on building cold frames, and will lead a workshop on building these season extenders sometime near the end of Sept, beginning of October. Many gardeners were interested.


☼ EarthMatter: Catching up with Charlie and Marisa-

  • The Fort Greene Compost Project continues; they’re now collecting close to 1700 pounds of kitchen waste every Saturday at the Fort Greene Farmers Market. They are trying to develop Hancock  T and T Community Garden as a compost site (Hollenback no longer accepts kitchen waste from the farmer’s market).  Food waste mostly goes to Red Hook Community Farm.  Also goes to the Secret Garden, and Prospect Heights Community Farm. 
  •  The Compost Learning Center opened on Governor’s Island in the spring, spearheaded by Charlie and Marissa. So far they are mostly collecting local food waste. Charlie and Marissa are there every Fri/Sat/Sun from 12-4 until October 10, so go visit them and learn about everything they’re doing!  In the fall they will be partnering with the Harbor School on the island to teach about composting. 
  • Marissa (representing EarthMatter) and Charlie (representing Hollenback) are also acting as advisors on “Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities” with Cornell Cooperative Extension to study the health of urban soils.



New Business

☼ Events:

     Full Moon Soiree- Thurs, Sept 23rd- Suzanne will follow up with garden via email about what to bring.  She throws a great party.  This is a relaxing time to be in the garden when you can meet other gardeners (and not be chopping compost!)

     Triple Threat- Sat, Sept 11th, Rain date Sun, Sept 12th from 12-6pm. There will be a sidewalk sale organized by Deema and Roma, a bake sale organized by Liza and Carmen, and a BBQ organized by Cody and Margaret. John Ryan and Frank will be in charge of the grill. The garden approved a budget of $75 for the event.

☼ Composting at Hollenback-

     -The new bins are built! Many thanks to Peter Brown and his friend Juan for finishing these beautiful compost bins!

     -The garden decided to start with a “cumulative” method of composting, which allows gardeners to deposit their kitchen waste as long as they cover them with browns to deter flys and reduce odor.  Once the bin is full with a mix of greens, kitchen waste,  and browns,  it can be turned.

     -Marisa and Charlie will lead the first compost tutorial on Tuesday, Aug 24th from 5:30-6:00 in the garden. 



☼ Upcoming Workshops: GreenThumb Program Guide- Cara will be sending an email to the garden about upcoming Greenthumb workshops.   In order to get free supplies, a garden member needs to attend one of the workshops.  We are especially looking for someone to attend workshops where we can order compost and mulch. Attendance at a workshop gives garden members credit for one meeting, as long as they come back to the garden and share what they learned.  Check out the program guide here:


☼ Common Area Design with Deema!-  The conversation about what to do with the common area in front of the composting toilet was re-started, thanks to Deema. A couple ideas were thrown around, including leveling the space, adding pavers, and/or putting down the existing slate. Charlie said he could bring in more slate if the garden wants it, and there’s also a possibility a Brooklyn-based kitchen counter company will donate some of its recycled glass countertop rejects if the garden would like to include those in the project.


☼ Workday: Sat, Aug 21st10:00-5:00 @ the garden- Maggie will lead the workday from 10 – 1 and Michael and Frank will lead it from 1 – 4. Maggie has been briefed on the composting process, so if you have any questions on Saturday, please ask her.


Next Meeting:

Sat, Sept 25th 11:00-1:00 @ the garden



Saturday, September 11 The Sixth Annual Triple Threat


The 6th Annual Triple Threat!


It was a close competition between the yard sale and the bake sale, but in the end, the yard sale brought in $259.75, and the bake sale brought in $265.30.  Add the $44 we made in donations and subtract the $90 we spent on BBQ supplies, and the garden raised $490.05!

Thank you so much to Jennifer, Gary, Dana, Carmen, Cody, Hannah, Lizza, Roma, Peter, Gina, Emerson, Kate, Kirk, Joe, Anita, John Ryan, Melissa, Ally, Lorne, Vlada, Michael, Claire, Ms. Covington, Margaret, Ruth, Carolyn, Cassandra, Tony, Greg, Heather, Judy, Mark, Cara and to all of the friends and community members who spent the beautiful day with us in the garden.