Welcome to the Floyd Bennett Gardens Association Inc, located on historic Floyd Bennett Field,
part of Gateway National Recreation Area Jamaica Bay Unit. We are one of the largest community gardens in the USA and a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
We are open from sunrise to sunset from April 1 through October 31.
• Jill Weingarten, President
• Joe Bonserio, Vice-President
• Molly Battenhouse, Corresponding Secretary
• Lynn Halligan, Recording Secretary
• Judy Tropeano, Treasurer
• Ayala Jonas Administration
The rules and policy that we ask you to follow help to maintain a certain amount of order that allows
each member to enjoy the privilege of gardening here—and our policy is simple.
We are asking members to attend a short 2 hour meeting this year. To show our appreciation we are awarding each household 1 hour of community service if you arrive on time, stay and participate.
We are asking you to adhere to the policy on inspections, join a committee to help continue the benefits we all receive as gardeners, respect your aisles, plots, neighbors, the environment, and
the critters that live here.
We ask that you think before you act—
a. Issues with your neighbor—try to work it out before contacting Conflicts & Resolutions.
b. If a wheelchair can’t get down your aisle—think about what if that was you in the wheelchair
c. If you see trash on the ground—don’t wait for someone else to pick it up—you are the one!
Some members reap the benefit of grandfathered rules—which means you have something
other members can no longer have. Please consider that you are more privileged than the rest and ask yourself—is that fair and just? If you can fix an issue that violates the rules please do it!
-if you have not separated your 5 plots with a fence made of metal or plastic using the colors we ask all members to use (black, green or silver) please fix it.
-if you have a structure in your garden or want to put one up too, discuss it with your neighbor to make sure there is no problem
-if you are growing an invasive plant or vine, make sure you and your neighbor are ok with it
-if you have a fruiting vine that interferes with your neighbor—share the fruit before you cut it down.
Lastly—gardening in a community space has many problems but likewise many rewards. Do the right thing so everyone can have peace & quiet and grow together!
Members are NOT permitted to garden without a current permit. All members must have current permits. You must pick up permit tags and ID cards at the Spring Meeting or contact the Administration within 48 hours to make other arrangements. Failure to have permits by April 30 may result in forfeiture of the plot. There will be a one make-up day on Mar 18 from 10-12 for religious observers who could not attend Mar. 17, 2018 Only those members who have already contacted our Corresponding Secretary will receive their permits on the make up day.
The following rules & regulations apply to all members and guests. Failure to abide by FBGA’s rules & policy may result in forfeiting your privileges as a community gardener.
Plots are inspected monthly from May 1—September 30. Violations must be corrected within 10 days of date of the notification letter. Violations not corrected by the next inspection will count as another citation. Three violations in two-years is cause to reassign your plot. Members with violations are considered not in good standing.
- Plots must display a clearly labeled sign on the gate or front fence facing the aisle by April 30 containing member’s last name & plot number.
- Gardens and aisles must be level and free of weeds—maintain by weeding or mulching. A 48 inch aisle width for safe public & wheelchair access and maintaining front and back aisles (applies to 10’X40’ plot only) is mandatory.
- Invasive plants (not limited to): bamboo, fennel, Fountain grass, Houttuynia, horseradish, mints, morning glory, blackberry, raspberry, trees and shrubs are to be grown in pots only not to exceed 6 feet in height. The roots can interfere with common areas or your neighbor’s space.
- Only green, silver, or black metal or plastic fencing 5 feet high is allowed. Chain link and/or permanent structures are prohibited. No more than 4 single plots are to be fenced in. Climbing vines or any other plantings are not permitted outside or along the fence line.
- Limit of 50 sq. ft. of any size plot can be for structures. The remaining area must be used for plantings. Existing structures allowed to remain.
- No altering or tampering with any pipes or main watering system. No standing water in any container, or bird bath without mosquito dunk or larvae eating fish to prevent mosquitoes.
Members are responsible to check bulletin boards, newsletter or website for changes and/or updates. Educational workshops are for members and the public. Children’s garden workshops are for member’s children unless otherwise specified.
All members must have current permits. Pick up permit tags and ID cards at the Spring Meeting or contact the Administration within 48 hours. Failure to have permits after April 30 may result in forfeiture of the plot.
Plots are non-transferable except in situations of a member’s death; the plot may then be transferred to a spouse, domestic partner or immediate family member only, provided administration is notified in writing. If a plot is or appears abandoned without written notification, the plot will be reassigned. Plots must be left free of debris and plants when switching to another. Moving is permitted from March 15-30. Secure plots for winter break.
After 2 years, members can apply for double plots if they have no violations in a 2-yr. period. Plots are assigned when available. Only 10 members annually are assigned a second plot. Members must be and remain in good standing (no violations) before given a double plot.
Members must adhere to the layout dimensions of plots as allocated. Approximate sizes are: 10’X20’ single, 10’X40’ (X plot), and/or 20’X20’ (U plot).
Obstructions of any kind in aisles are not permitted, this includes: mats, rugs and carpets. Structures must not exceed 6 feet in height or interfere with neighboring plots. Tarps on sides or top of structures is not permitted. However, roll-up shade cloths and umbrellas are allowed.
Unauthorized pruning, planting, or removal of plants from common areas is not permitted.
Dogs must be leashed & controlled. Clean up after your pet. Pets who interfere with common areas
or the community are not welcome.
Community Areas & Community Service
Households are members at the same address. No more than 4 single or 2 double plots
is considered a household. Each household is required to present ID to obtain credit or exemption for community service and perform 8 hours of service as specified in FBGA’s by-laws or determined by the Board of Directors. Service must be completed by September 30.
There is no carry over of service.
Members are encouraged to join a committee of your choice to participate in the community environment. Be social. Work together!
All green NPS trash cans are for small trash only. Metal, wood and large items must be brought to the dumpster located in the rear of the gardens for removal by Dept. of Sanitation. Vegetation and organic matter (weeds) are to be placed in the Community Compost area; no plastic bags or trash allowed therein.
Members are not permitted in work areas (located behind the picnic and habitat) without permission from the O&M Director. Any delivery of materials (compost, manure, or woodchips) are for members only and will be placed in the parking areas for you to use by Operations & Maintenance crews.
FBGA’s picnic area, our 3 gazebos (including The Champions of Courage Garden), are community spaces shared by all members. Members must accompany their guests and remain with them during picnics and BBQ’s. Large groups require prior permission. Only charcoal fires are permitted. Clean grills after each use and place spent coal in the red cans marked CHARCOAL ONLY. Dispose of your bagged trash in the green containers. Whatever you bring in, take with you when you leave. BBQ responsibly. Fires destroy property and wildlife habitats.
The following are strictly prohibited:
– stealing from common areas or gardeners’ plots
– fighting, verbal abuse, disorderly conduct
– racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation slurs
– ball playing, skating, loud music
– interfering with the day-to-day activity of FBGA committees
– the use of chemical pesticides or fungicides such as Sevin, Captan, Diazinon, Roundup
National Park Service Requirements
• Display hang-tags in vehicles front window, or you may be subject to ticketing by NPS police.
• In case of drought, members will respect any restrictions posted or stated by NPS.
• FBGA will be closed in the case of closure of Floyd Bennett Field by NPS.
• Interfering with wildlife is prohibited
Soil and Fertilizers
FBGA encourages organic gardening. The following information is provided to help you grow the best fruit, flower and vegetables in your garden. These are suggestions to amend your soil.
Fertilizers come in numbers. These numbers tell you the content of the 3 main ingredients—NPK
What the numbers stand for: N=Nitrogen/P=Phosphorus/K=Potassium
• Nitrogen is important from growing new leaves to keeping pests at bay. It is part of the chlorophyll molecule, which gives plants their green color and is involved in creating food for the plant through photosynthesis.
• Phosphorus helps a plant convert other nutrients into usable atoms/molecules with which to grow. Vitally important for root growth.
• Potassium responsible for the growth and reproduction of plants. Potassium is considered second only to nitrogen, when it comes to nutrients needed by plants
Many companies including Miracle Grow and Espoma now produce both organinc and non-organic products. Reading the label carefully is suggested. If the front label contains 5-10-5 it is non-organic. Fertilizers exceeding an NPK total of 15 or higher are non-organic. You must look at the numbers to be sure. Look for organic brands i.e. Dr. Earth and FoxFarm. Bat or bird guano, composted chicken, sheep, or horse manure, blood meal, chicken feather meal or fish meal are all good sources of nitrogen. Bonemeal is a good source of phosphorus, and kelp or greensand are organic sources of potassium.
Want to know exactly what is in your soil?
Read the articles below/Ask where is the soil coming from/
What is in the feedstock producing your compost/soil/
Note: Both Brooklyn College and Rutgers University do not analyze for contaminants, including pesticides. The FBGA administration is still pursuing a source that can and will.
We’ll keep you posted!
Tatiana Morin, Director
NYC Urban Soils Institute
www.usi.nyc, cell:917-821-5711 (a text before a call is welcome:)
2nd Annual URBAN SOIL SYMPOSIUM – Check back for postings of the Symposium lectures and pictures later this month (February 2018)
Environmental Sciences Analytical Center
2900 Bedford Avenue rm 5139
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Rutgers Soil Testing Lab offers compost analysis:
Notice we do not analyze for contaminants, including pesticides.
pH, electrical conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen by saturated media extract, maturity index $66
pH, electrical conductivity,plant-available (inorganic) nitrogen by saturated media extract, organic matter content, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, C:N ratio, maturity index, moisture content, coarse/inert fragment content $138
Compost Available Nutrients
Add to either compost test above; water-soluble (plant-available) P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Mn, Zn, B by saturated media extract $17
For either basic or technical compost analysis, these documents will be needed:
Greenhouse/Compost Sampling Instructions—Organic Media Test Questionnaire
Here are some fact sheets and a bulletin that might be useful background.
For complete list of Rutgers Cooperative Extension publications, see http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/
FS117 Using Leaf Compost
FS1135 Soil Organic Matter
FS1136 Soil Organic Matter Level and Interpretation
FS1137 Improving Soil Quality By Increasing Organic Matter Content
E307 Best Management Practices for Horse Manure Composting on Small Farms
FS036 Horses and Manure
Some information about pesticide degradation in compost :
This paper is from New Jersey/Rutgers: Pesticides in Yard Waste Compost, Peter F. Strom
Compost Science and Utilization, Pages 54-60 | Published online: 23 Jul 2013
Abstract: “Samples from six yard waste composting facilities in New Jersey were analyzed for a wide range of pesticide residues. Chlordane was found at low levels (0.3-3.2 mg/kg) in all samples; no other pesticide was detected. It appears likely that the source of the chlordane is the residential soil incorporated with the raw yard waste during collection. Based on these findings, routine analysis of yard waste compost for pesticide residues does not appear warranted.
Literature Review: Occurrence, Degradation and Fate of Pesticides During Composting: Part II: Occurrence and Fate of Pesticides in Compost and Composting Systems
Fatih Büyüksönmez, Robert Rynk, Thomas F. Hess & Edward Bechinski
Compost Science and Utilization, Pages 61-81 | Published online: 23 Jul 201
From abstract: “Investigations of pesticide residues in composting feedstocks and finished compost detected few of the target pesticides. The compounds that were found occurred at low concentrations. The majority of the compounds detected were insecticides in the organochlorine category, including chemicals that have been banned from use in the U.S. for many years. Generally, organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and most herbicides were rarely detected. Comparisons of pesticide concentrations before and after composting also showed organochlorine compounds to be most resistant to biodegradation during composting. With some exceptions, pesticides in other categories decomposed moderately well to very well. Studies that followed the mechanisms of degradation indicate that mineralization accounts for only a small portion of pesticide disappearance. Other prominent fates include partial degradation to secondary compounds, adsorption, humification, and volatilization. In general the research results suggest that the pattern of pesticide degradation during composting is similar to the degradation observed in soils. With a few important distinctions, composting can be considered a biologically active soil environment in which degradation is accelerated. However, as some studies noted, composting does not always speed the degradation of all pesticides. The nature of the pesticide, specific composting conditions and procedures, the microbial communities present, and the duration of composting affect the extent and the mechanisms of degradation.”
Remediation of Pesticide Contaminated Soil by Planting and Compost Addition
Michael A. Cole, Zhang Liu & Xianzhong Liu
Compost Science and Utilization, Pages 20-30 | Published online: 23 Jul 2013
Abstract: “Pesticide contaminated material was obtained from an agrichemical retail facility in Illinois. In an effort to improve physical properties and increase microbial activity and plant growth in the contaminated matrix, the material was mixed with uncontaminated soil or with mature yard waste compost to determine the impact of compost compared to soil on plant establishment and growth, development of soil microbial activity, and herbicide inactivation. Plant growth, particularly weed growth, was significantly greater in compost containing mixes than it was in soil mixes. Microbial activity, as measured by dehydrogenase activity, was significantly higher in compost-containing mixes than in soil mixes. The combination of planting and compost addition resulted in significant increases in herbicide inactivation in the contaminated materials. The results strongly suggest that remediation of herbicide contamination at agrichemical retail facilities can be achieved quite rapidly and at moderate cost and also demonstrate that the combination of compost addition and planting can accelerate xenobiotic degradation in contaminated soils.”
So generally, most pesticides will break down under good compositing conditions, and/or in soil, which is habitat for huge populations of diverse bacteria and fungi.
Pacific Northwest Extension Publication 533: FERTILIZING WITH MANURE AND OTHER ORGANIC AMENDMENTS on page 9 : Herbicides in Manure and Compost
“Herbicides that are applied to forage and pasture crops can pass through animals into their manure, leaving a small amount of herbicide residue in the manure. In most cases, the levels of herbicide in manure are inconsequential and have no effect on the crops or soil where manure is applied.
A few herbicides that are active at very low concentrations and persist in the environment can cause problems in manure or manure compost. These include clopyralid and aminopyralid, herbicides that are used to kill broadleaf weeds in grass, grain, and some other crops. Residues from aminopyralid and clopyralid persist in manure and compost and have ruined sensitive crops, such as legumes (e.g., beans and peas), and nightshades (e.g., tomatoes, potatoes, peppers). The labels for these
herbicides now stipulate that manure from animals eating treated forage should not be used on sensitive crops.”
Most horse pastures are not managed to include herbicides in their maintenance.
Also keep in mind that pesticides including herbicides must show low persistence in the environment before they are allowed to be marketed. Read labels for or manufacturer’s website for details.
Horse manure is likely to carry some deworming drugs; that has been found to break down relatively quickly in compost and soil but in some cases may have a short-term effect on earthworms and insect larvae populations in soil or compost.
I hope this is mostly re-assuring; the biological activity in compost and soil can handle the job of decomposition and inactivitation to a large extent. However, it is always good to question, “where the compost products are coming from and what the feedstock is”.
Stephanie Murphy, Ph.D.
Director, Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory
ASB-II 152, Cook Campus
57 US Highway 1 South
New Brunswick, NJ 08901