Bathgate Community Gardeners Conserve Rain Water for their Garden

We Grok It! is a fantastic organization dedicated to social and environmental justice.  They foster health and sustainability through science, empowering residents to act as agents of change in their own communities. For the past 2 seasons, Bathgate Community Garden in the Bronx has been working with We Grok It! to support their space.

After exploring the surrounding neighborhood’s ecosystem, the gardeners determined that Bathgate would be a perfect location for a rain garden - a planted hole that collects rain water runoff to keep the surrounding street from flooding during heavy rain storms. The purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water and to ensure that rainwater becomes available for plants as groundwater rather than being sent through storm water drains straight out to sea. It’s a pretty solid way to conserve and recycle – important values we’re proud our gardeners implement in their community gardens.

After receiving a $5,000 grant from the New York Hall of Science, Bathgate Community Gardeners reached out to landscape architect Hannah Mellor who provided pro bono services to design the new rain garden in the Bronx. Over the course of 2 weekends, community members go to work digging out a 1 foot deep impression for the new rain garden that covers about 300 square feet total.  Afterwards, they put down 6 inches of gravel inside before laying the soil that was removed back on top of the gravel. Finally, the added mulch to insulate the soil helping to provide a buffer from the hot city summer.

We Grok It and the Bathgate gardeners plan to complete the garden this fall when they’ll install native, flood tolerant plants. Once those plants are in, the Bathgate garden will be home to a happy rain garden that’ll help keep storm water runoff off the streets of the Bronx. Two years ago, Bathgate Community Garden was just an empty lot. It’s absolutely inspiring to see watch community members of all ages build a sense of ownership at Bathgate and play an active role in bringing the space to life.

Make your way to Bathgate Community Garden to check out the rain garden’s progress and enjoy a Summer Movie Night! Tonight (July 19) enjoy The Book of Life (2014, PG) under the NYC sky – film starts between 8-9pm at sunset and complimentary hot popcorn will be provided. If you can’t join us tonight, save the date on August 16 for The Land Before Time (1988, G)! More info at