FORT GREENE — An interest in horticulture is blooming at the Ingersoll Houses.
Residents recently received a “Gardens for the City” program grant to build 24 new flower and vegetable beds on an empty lot after outgrowing their current 40-plot community garden nearby.
"We have a waiting list of more than 50 people wanting space to garden," said Ingersoll Garden Club president Edna Grant, 74. "Interest is just increasing around here."
Members of New York Restoration Project (NYPR), along with NYCHA Resident Green Committees, Green City Force and Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Partnership teamed up to build and install the new beds for Ingersoll residents on Myrtle Avenue between Fleet Place and Navy Street.
Members are eager to start planting seeds in time for spring.
"Some gardeners were in makeshift plots and others just grew in pots on the fringes of the first garden," said NYPR director Amanda Brown. "They grew wherever they could."
Ingersoll's current garden was planted six years ago when the local Associated Supermarket was shuttered to make way for new residential buildings. At that time the Garden Club had eight members and eight plots.
But times have changed for the club, which now boasts more than 40 members who grow tomatoes, cucumbers, collard greens, lettuce, herbs, eggplant, string beans and squash.
"The vegetables are very good," Grant said. "We can't get enough."
And these gardens are about more than just the food for residents who enjoy the community feel of a garden.
"When the weather is nice we spend full days in the garden sitting and talking and laughing," Grant said. "We have a good time out there."