Welcome ...

Welcome to the Clifton Place Block Association Community Garden. Since 1991, the garden has been a green oasis for many in this corner of the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. As is the case with so many New York City community gardens, the Clifton Place Block Association Community Garden developed from the community's need to reclaim and transform a garbage-strewn city-owned lot into a place of beauty and an asset to all in Clinton Hill and surrounding areas.

In its years of existence, Clifton Place Garden (short) has served as a place where neighborly bonds are strengthened, the passion for gardening and nature is shared, friendships develop, and neighborhood children learn. Through its open door policy, Clifton Place Garden has endeared itself to the community. It is not uncommon to hear someone passing by compliment its beauty and express pride and appreciation for what the garden does to the surrounding area.

Going forward, Clifton Place Garden will seek to continue strengthen its ties to the surrounding neighborhoods through composting programs, children's workshops, and unique arts events. And we hope to connect, via this Web Log, to other gardening enthusiasts, and to share the excitement of our urban gardening experience here. Hopefully, this site will be a favorite place you will keep returning to, and if in the neighborhood, you will stop by to enjoy the pleasure of our small, flourishing retreat.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snap On; Snap Off – The Watering System

After years of relying on the nearby fire hydrant and creative water collection systems as a source for water , The Clifton Place community garden was fortunate to have its own feed established, thanks to The Trust For Public Land. At one one point, because the city had implemented special caps on hydrants to prevent water loss during the summer month, we were solely reliant on rain water and water schlepped from our homes to meet the garden's water demands. After struggling through many seasons' dry spells with little or no water, today the water system is a cherished component of the garden.

But, long before the existing system was implemented, steps were taken to make it easier to water the various areas of the garden. Particularly, hoses that lead to connecting points were submerged into the ground. Initially, these hoses were fed by the source we took from the fire hydrants. Today the underground hoses connect to the feed station located within the confines of the garden.

To simplify things for everyone, we have design our system to have only one connection point gardeners need to interface with. In the old days, gardeners had to drag cumbersome hoses from the tool shed and establish connection to one of the connecting points in the garden. And after use, a gardener would need to recoil the hose and return it to the shed. A lot of work. Today, because of sustained connections throughout the garden, snapping in the hose that feeds the underground system is all it takes to water any point in the garden. Now that is progress.

While the system is simple, for the uninitiated it can seem more complex than it really is. For these gardeners, here is a photo demonstration of how to connect the water systems.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


April 4th and it's opening day at the Clifton Place Garden. It is suppose to be spring but bad, old winter decided to show up with the many gardeners wanting to join and re-up. With overcast skies and and a blustering wind, it didn't take long to became chilled! But spirits were high and an old timers like me we was warmed by the high turnout of people looking to join the garden. Boxes were assigned and re-assigned. And while we were all chilled to bone after the 45 minute meeting, and the weather didn't indicate it, something in process indicated Spring.

Given the high interest in the garden this year we are very excited about the coming gardening season. We are looking forward to the results that will come from the combined efforts of our new membership. Maybe the high interest is an uncommon economic indicator or just an indication of our ever evolving community. Whatever the reasons, its hard to not sense that this should be a special summer at the Clifton Place Garden.

So hopefully spring beats back winter quickly. Because clearly in this corner of Brooklyn, there are a group of folks wanting to reconnect with the food their eat. And the sooner it warms up, the sooner their will be picking and enjoying tomatoes, corn, and a host of other wonderful fresh veggies. When the garden is fully flourishing, it is hard to believe winter will ever come.