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The official 2017 gardening season starts tomorrow. Starting tomorrow the garden will be open, weather permitting, 12-5 Saturdays and Sundays. We will also be open many other unscheduled hours. So if you see the gate open, come on into the garden.

Tomorrow is also the first meeting of the season. Here’s a schedule of all our garden meetings for the 2017 season:


all meetings take place in the garden at noon, rain or shine on the first Saturday of every month during the gardening season.

see everyone in the garden and happy Spring!



cat at the compost binMs. Betty, one of our feral cats surveying the greens kept out of the waste stream

Thanks to Citizens Committee for New York for our Composting Grant. Here’s our calculations for the past year:

Our 3 bin pallet compost bin holds 4 square feet of compostables, 50% is food waste and 50% is garden waste and leaves. We turned these bins 5-6 times since April 2015. Our collection bin holds approximately  4 feet square or 64 cubic feet of materials – which has cooked down to much less, especially as the weather has warmed.  Therefore conservatively estimating 64 cubic feet of compostables, multiplied by  5 compost turns, our three bin compost system has therefore diverted 320 cubic feet or about 12 cubic yards of compostables.

We also have a post about the process of turning the compost – in our old bins.

According to this calculator  1 cubic yard of compost is 800 pounds.  12 cubic yards of compostables might weigh around half the weight of finished compost. We therefore diverted approximately 4,800 pounds of organics from the waste stream in our open compost collection bin. The volume of finished compost cooked down in our removal bin usually ends up being about half of that, so we produced 6 cubic yards of compost which also weighed approximately 4,800 pounds. This compost went to amending the soil of garden plots and tree pits around the community. We will soon have a compost give-away to empty out this bin in preparation for building our new bins.

We collected approximately 100 cubic feet or 3.7 cubic yards of fall leaves in our browns holding bin. Using this calculator for dry leaves, we estimate that we diverted 1271 pounds of leaves from the waste stream. These leaves will eventually be mixed with greens throughout the year.


Sunday October 18 12 -3pm [rain or shine]

Joseph Daniel Wilson Community Garden/Project Harmony
Across from 216 west 122nd street between Fredrick Douglass & Adam Clayton Powell Aves
A/C, D/B Subway  to 125th street 8th Avenue

In this workshop we will discuss challenges and advantages of composting through the fall and winter months. We will cover what is needed –including food waste, coffee grounds, fall leaves, water and air – to build a hot compost pile and discuss how to keep it active through the cold season. Attendees will receive information, handouts and instructions on composting and learn how to ‘cook’ enough finished compost for spring plantings.

Compost binsTogether we will turn and sift the piles in our newly-built concrete-block compost bin and examine what is interacting, living, decomposing in the bins and the composition of finished compost. In addition to discussing ways to keep the outdoor compost pile going through the cold, ice and snow we will also learn about incorporating indoor methods such as worm or vermi-composting and Bokashi food fermentation in the garden composting system.

While this is a hands-on workshop, attendees of all physical abilities and hands-off observers are welcome. Please dress appropriately for the weather and work if you intend to get your hands dirty. Bring your compostables!

This is part of a series of workshops supported by 2015 Composting Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City, the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB), and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Everyone is invited to the upcoming workshop: Managing a Feral Cat Colony in a Garden: Community Relations on Saturday 10/18 1-4pm (rain or shine). Here is a chance to see an established, “managed” cat colony which is resident in a NYC Green Thumb community garden. We will discuss what we have learned about managing a TNR’d (Trap Neuter and Return) cat

Too hanging out in the garden

Too hanging out in the garden

colony and show methods which allow them to coexist with and benefit the garden by keeping it rodent free. We will also visit other nearby TNR shelters and feeding stations in the neighborhood, including a church, a park, a parking lot and apartment building basement.

Harley eating dinner

Additional information:

All the cats are spayed, neutered and vaccinated against rabies. The cats don’t reproduce or fight with each other. They fend off most other cat-newcomers and keep the garden rat-free.

Gardeners can rest assured that there are no rat-burrows in their garden plots or rats hiding in the compost heap. We can garden; hold events and parties anytime, day or night, with no fear of the “beady red eyes” or gnaw-marks on our tomatoes.

Harley and Creampuff eating dinner

Harley and Creampuff eating dinner

We’ll show you how we constructed and placed feeding stations, cat shelters, and discuss how we have involved other volunteers. Perhaps you’ll even meet the cats …if they come out from their sleeping places.

If you are thinking of starting a feral cat colony, we will distribute information on where and how you can get further training in becoming a certified TNR Feral Cat Colony Manager. See links below.

Other TNR colony managers are welcome; we don’t have all the answers, we can all learn from each other.

Informational Links:

Cocoa Bean watching over the compost bin

Cocoa Bean watching over the compost bin




 Saturday May 17


 Morris-Jumel Community Garden

457 west 162nd street

Between Amsterdam and Edgecombe


Books, Clothes & General Stuff

from 25cents-$20 everything priced to sell!


 to benefit the funding for a

New Back Fence for the

Morris-Jumel Community Garden

1your contributions will allow us replace this fence…

with this fence!

        ???????????????????????????other ways to contribute:

Come into the garden Saturday and help with the community workday or…

PayPal Donate Button <<– Click on this button to make an online donation to the Morris-Jumel Community Garden Fence Fund!! Thank You!

The growing beauty of the garden naturally attracts attention. And the most frequently asked question from our visitors is

How can I join the garden?

Answer: Come to a garden meeting and get voted in as a garden friend.  Our meetings take place in the garden April – October on the first Saturday of the month.

As a Green Thumb garden, the garden has established bylaws, which are specific on how to join the garden.  Once you join the garden as a friend, you can be placed on the waiting list for a plot if you want. Friends on the waiting list are required to volunteer for 5 hours a season keeping the garden open during our open hours and are encouraged to volunteer more. As of October 2013, there is a 2+ year waiting list for garden plots.

A schedule of garden meetings is posted here on this website and on the garden gate.

Members and friends of the Morris-Jumel Community Garden invite everyone to attend an exhibition of their art work. The art will be installed in the garden from 12-5 We look forward to seeing you there!

Art in Garden 2013

Here’s a Flyer to Print and Distribute


Published: Friday, January 11, 2013, 6:09 PM Updated: Sunday, January 13, 2013, 5:31 PM


Harley is a member of the feral cat colony that lives at the Morris-Jumel Community Garden in Washington Heights.

The free-roaming cats that reside at a Washington Heights community garden can ride out the harsh winter in their new fancy high rise.

The insulated five-story “Kitty High Rise”  which echoes the style of the area’s historic brownstones  boasts robin’s blue fire escape-like ramps, a rooftop garden and a pergola where wisteria can climb.

“It’s just gorgeous and so functional,” said Sheila Massey, who manages the colony of 11 feral cats that live amid the rows of vegetable plots at the Morris-Jumel Community Garden and the untold number of strays in the surrounding area.

Until now, the cats have taken refuge from the cold in Styrofoam boxes that are filled with straw and hidden beneath a tarp in the back of the garden.

The cat-friendly garden was selected as one of eight locations for the stylish, innovative outdoor shelters designed by some of the city’s hottest architects.

Kitty High Rise was designed by Leslie Farrell, an animal enthusiast who created Architects for Animals to help raise awareness of the plight of the city’s explosive cat overpopulation crisis.

sheilaSheila Massey will manage the Kitty High Rise cat shelter, intent on keeping the feral cat colony at the Morris-Jumel Community Garden in Washington Heights warm through the winter. It was designed by architects to benefit the city’s homeless cat population.

Since cats need winter shelters to help protect them from freezing temperatures, for the third year in a row she’s asked some of the city’s top firms to voluntarily design shelters that were functional, warm and weatherproof.

“It’s a great way to draw attention to the problem and move the conversation forward,” Farrell said at a benefit this week for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, where the unique shelters were unveiled to the public.

Kathryn Walton of The American Street Cat designed her shelter, which will be placed in a Brooklyn monastery, using insulated cat food cans and a reclaimed cedar frame.

The remaining shelters will be placed at a tennis club, a church, a park and a ballet company studio.

The exact locations will remain under the radar to prevent indoor cats being dumped, said Mike Phillips, community outreach coordinator for the feral cat program.

He said dumping is a growing and widespread problem; domesticated cats are often rejected by feral colonies and if un-neutered will continue to reproduce.

“If all of the cats abandoned to the street were neutered, or better yet, if no one would ever consider throwing a cat out on the street, there would be no need for The Feral Cat Initiative to even exist,” he said.

Experts estimate that tens of thousands of homeless, stray and free-roaming cats live on the streets, in alleyways, yard and abandoned lots throughout the city.

Phillips said Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only proven method to control them and reduce their numbers.

Under TNR rescuers can trap feral cats, have them spayed or neutered and return them to the same areas.

Once neutered, the cats no longer display nuisance behaviors such as fighting over mates, yowling in heat, rummaging through trash cans, spraying urine and producing multiple litters. Well fed, there is no need for them to scavenge for food.

Meanwhile, Massey said her garden cats earn their keep by steering the rats away.

“By spaying and neutering the cats, they become good citizens,” she said, and proposed the city adopt TNR as a method of rat control.

Still, despite the city’s cat overpopulation problem, there are currently no rescue groups or city agency that will come to trap and remove feral cats.  That means it’s up to the independent rescuers, or colony caretakers, like Massey, to help keep the crisis at bay.

Anyone can help. The NYC Feral Cat Initiative offers TNR Workshops and instructions on how to build a low-cost outdoor shelter.

To attend a workshop or learn more go to

Read more:


Garden Art Show Satuday October 27, Noon

Everyone is invited to the Garden Art Show – we look forward to seeing you there.