The Garden and Greening (G&G) Program at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides materials and technical support to over 3,000 resident gardeners in the cultivation of nearly 600 gardens citywide.
The overall mission of the Garden and Greening Program is to improve environmental quality by supporting resident garden cultivation and sound land management through garden materials resource provision and environmental education-based programming. G&G provides gardeners with year-round technical assistance, as well as free seeds, bulbs, compost and other gardening materials. In addition, G&G has three annual events: the Garden and Greening Program Competition, the Citywide Garden Competition Awards Ceremony, and the NYCHA Grows with its Gardeners Conference. As of 2012, G&G provides materials and technical support to approximately 2,737 NYCHA adult residents and 961 youth (6 to 12 years old) in the cultivation of 572 registered gardens citywide.
G&G partners with various non-profit and government organizations in order to leverage resources for NYCHA resident gardeners. Key partners include the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the NYC Department of Sanitation, the City’s four Botanical Gardens (New York, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens), Magnolia Tree Earth Center, and the Horticultural Society of New York, among others. For further information, call (212) 306-3511.
Become a NYCHA Gardener!
NYCHA residents interested in starting a garden must submit a GARDEN REGISTRY APPLICATION to their Property Management Office.
For each garden entry approved by the Property Manager, the Garden and Greening Program offers technical support and free gardening materials: vegetable, flower and herb seeds in the spring; spring-flowering bulbs in the fall; and other materials such as compost, woody shrubs and summer flowering bulbs. Petty cash in the amount of $40.00 will be reimbursed in the form of a debit gift card when receipts are submitted to your Property Management Office for the purchase of seeds and/or plants.
Each approved garden may be entered into the Annual Garden and Greening Program Competition. The Competition consists of awards for Flower, Vegetable and Theme Gardens. A panel of horticulture professionals judges each garden registered as “competitive”, with an emphasis on quality. Houseplants are not permitted to be used in the competition unless the garden is registered as “non-competitive.” A citywide winner in each category is chosen from first-placed borough winners. Selected winners are recognized at the Annual Citywide Garden Competition Awards Ceremony.
Read the Garden & Greening Program Garden Rules, and Program/Competition Registration Agreement for more information.
History of G&G
In 1962, NYCHA initiated a Citywide Resident Garden Competition. Initially a Flower Garden Contest only, the competition expanded to include the Vegetable and Them Gardens categories. The competition eventually evolved into the full-fledged unit at NYCHA dedicated to supporting resident gardeners presently known as the Garden and Greening Program.
In 2005, the Garden and Greening Program expanded its mission to include the planting of larger trees, and implemented environmental education programming which includes coordinating workshops and field trips to the city’s botanical gardens, parks, and museums. In addition, G&G increased the production of, and access to, nutritional organic produce.
Many gardens throughout NYCHA’s developments are entered in the Annual Garden and Greening Program Competition and judged by a panel of horticulture professionals. A citywide winner in a number of categories is chosen from first-placed borough winners. Selected winners are recognized at the Annual Citywide Garden Competition Awards Ceremony.
Have Your Soil Tested
Soil testing is required for all vegetable gardens cultivated for the first time on NYCHA grounds, and every 2-4 years, subsequently, to ensure soil safety in crop production for human consumption.
The Garden and Greening Program coordinates with resident gardeners and the City University of New York Soil Lab to conduct soil analyses at no cost for residents. Please call 212-306-3268 to have your soil tested.
Below are a few helpful gardening sites to get you started on your way to a beautiful garden in your NYCHA development.
GrowNYC Grow Truck (Gardening Tool Loans)