Gardening Guidance in the Digital Age: 4 Online Resources for Urban Gardeners

A reader asks: “Are there any online forums dedicated to urban gardening, specifically in the NYC metro area?” Here’s what we could find.

nyc garden

Reader Craige Moore recently wrote to us with an excellent question: “Do you know if there are any online groups devoted to city gardening, specifically in the NYC metro area?”

As a long-standing Brooklyn community garden member — St. Mark’s Community Garden, just behind Zaytoons on Vanderbilt Ave.

— I’ve often wondered the same thing.

Like Moore, I’ve yet to find a city-only site with open forums. There’s possibly a good reason — maybe gardeners are leaning over their fences to ask their neighbors for nasturtium seeds, rather than turning to their computers — but regardless, there’s “a niche to be filled,” as 66 Square Feet author (and Edible contributor) Marie Viljoen puts it. Until then, her site is a good place for information for city gardeners, as are these resources below:

1. The Urban Garden forum is active with lots of New York City based gardeners, and a good place to post questions. The site itself resembles the early days of Chowhound, with lots of text-based lists and quirky queries like “Garlic: On Again/Off Again?” that I read just for fun.

2. At NYC Garden Blogs, the site managers maintain a list of gardening blogs in the city sorted by borough (here are Brooklyn’s), meaning you might be able to glean information on growing from your immediate neighbors.

3. Marie Viljoen also recommends New York City Garden, a well maintained personal blog that has an impressive list of links to resources of all kinds and an embedded planting calendar I’ve used myself from time to time. The photos of the anonymous owner’s handiwork are fantastic — they’ll either inspire you, or, depending on the state of your own patch of green, shame you. The site also allows for commenting on posts, which is not technically a forum, but encourages exchange of information.

4. For those that don’t mind using the old-fashioned instrument known as a telephone, you can also call the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Library’s gardeners’ help line at 718.623.7270, anytime between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm Tuesday through Friday, March through November. (In winter, the hours are 1 pm to 4:30 pm, Tuesday through Thursday.)  They also accept email. The New York Botanical Garden has a similar program, but they also allow you to pose questions on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo credit: New York City Garden

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.