Last year, Bedford Stuyvesant broke the record for the highest number of blocks entering in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Greenest Block in the Brooklyn competition, with 50 blocks participating.
The record-breaking number of entries is due in part to the block associations’ participation in “,” the brainchild of attendees at the Impact Zone Breakfast held in the spring.
This year, we are looking to break our previous record and we are off to a great start. The number of blocks participating in “Flower Bed-Stuy” has increased from 50 to 60 and we are encouraging all participants as well as other Bedford-Stuyvesant block associations, community gardens (of which we have the largest number in the city) and merchant associations to enter the competition.
Bedford Stuyvesant has a long history of exemplary performance in the competition. Last year ten of the thirty semi-finalists were Bedford Stuyvesant blocks with the Bainbridge Street Homeowners and Tenants' Association tying for second place, and the 200 Decatur Street/Stuyvesant Avenue Block Association, the Bainbridge Street Homeowners and Tenants' Association, the Macon Street Ralph/Howard Block Association and the Macon/MacDonough/Stuyvesant/Lewis Block Association receiving honorable mentions in the Residential Block category.
The Bainbridge Homeowners and Tenants Association took second place in the “Best Tree Bed” category; and Elizabeth Steward of the Macon/MacDonough/Stuyvesant/Lewis Block Association took second place in the “Best Window Box” category.
MacDonough Street (between Stuyvesant and Lewis) has always been a major competitor taking First-Place “Residential Block” in 2003 and 2007, Second-Place “Residential Block” in 2005, Third-Place “Residential Block” in 2006 and 2009, Third-Place “Tree Beds” in 2010 and an honorable mention in 2002.
In 2009, Shops of Lewis Avenue “SOLA” (Lewis Avenue between Decatur and MacDonough Streets) was the second place winners in the Commercial category.
The key to making a good showing in the competition is the number of residents on each block participating. Winning blocks usually have close to 100% participation. Residents will adopt the front yard of a vacant building or a vacant lot to ensure that entire block is bursting with flowers and greenery.
After getting the residents of your block on board, the next steps are understanding the judging criteria; planning, planting and maintaining your gardens, tree beds, and window boxes.
The judging criteria are available on-line at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website. To learn more about creating , and container gardens or starting garden, check out my previous articles and follow my upcoming articles on the “Patch”. If you need tools and in-person advice, GROWNYC can provide assistance.
The GrowNYC Grow Truck program traverses all five boroughs to lend and deliver garden tools, plants, and horticultural advice to community greening efforts. Schools, community gardens, block associations, and any new garden efforts are eligible to borrow tools. The Grow Truck loans out both specialized and common manual garden tools, and may also be able to deliver plants, soil, or other garden supplies you have arranged to be donated.
The deadline to register for Greenest Block in Brooklyn is June 1. The registration form is available on-line.
Next time: How to Start A Community Garden