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GreenThumb Growing Food Toolkit

Updated May 2021

GreenThumb supports community gardeners in growing food through educational workshops and materials. Below you will find many of our workshop handouts and webinar recordings, as well as many resources from partnering organizations, on topics related to food production. We will continue to add to this page and update our educational resources as time and capacity allows.

For links to additional webinar recordings, click here. References below are informational only and do not represent GreenThumb policy. For GreenThumb policy, please refer to the GreenThumb Gardeners’ Handbook.

Adapted from and inspired by Soul Fire Farm’s “How to Use Soul Fire Farm Materials with Integrity,”
These guidelines are for those who access any of the educational materials on the GreenThumb website, and want to use this information in your community. We believe in popular education and the free dissemination of ideas in service of the movement for a just and sustainable world. By using GreenThumb Growing Food Toolkit educational materials, you agree to the following conditions: 
  • Attribute the Source: Written and verbal attribution to the appropriate source is required when using our materials. The source is listed next to each link. If you are not sure who to cite, please ask us at
  • No Private Gain: No part of these materials may be copyrighted, sold, or used for private gain.
  • Communication: Please let us know if you have success with these materials or have any feedback by sending an email at 
  • Truth Telling: We do not “certify” trainers. Facilitators must honestly state their learning experience. For example, “I attended a workshop with GreenThumb where we did this activity” or “I found this online and repurposed it.”




GreenThumb Composting Safety During COVID-19 & More Composting Resources - GreenThumb

Outdoor Composting Guide - English - NYC Compost Project

Outdoor Composting Guide - Spanish - NYC Compost Project

Composting Tipsheet - Bilingual - NYC Compost Project

Troubleshooting Your Compost - NYC Compost Project

Decomposer Tipsheet - NYC Compost Project

Using your Compost - NYC Compost Project

WEBINAR: Vermicomposting at Home - Facilitated by Claudia Urdanivia and Vanessa Ventola (GreenThumb)

VIDEO: Scaling Up Community Garden Compost Systems
Facilitated by Kimberly Brown (Davidson Avenue Community Garden, Marisa DeDominicis (Earth Matter), and Natalie Sucre (Q Gardens)

WEBINAR: Composting During COVID-19
Moderated by Lisa Bloodgood (La Casita Verde - Brooklyn)
Panelists: Natalia Sucre (Q Gardens - Brooklyn), Gil Lopez (Smiling Hogshead Ranch - Queens), Nando Rodriguez (Frank White Memorial Garden - Manhattan)

VIDEO: Managing a Community Garden Public Food-Scrap Drop-Off
Facilitated by: Caroline Mwaniki and Natalia Sucre (Q Gardens)

WEBINAR: Troubleshooting for Advanced Composting
Facilitated by 
Vanessa Ventola and Ariana Arancibia (NYC Parks GreenThumb)

Container Gardening

Start a Rooftop Container Garden - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Grow Greens and Herbs Indoors on a Windowsill - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Two-Bucket Sub-Irrigated Container - source unknown 

WEBINAR: Reclaiming Ancestral Knowledge: Hydroponic Window Gardening - Facilitated by Adriano Espaillat, Jr. and Yadira Garcia (Happy Healthy Latina)

VIDEO: Growing Microgreens Indoors - Facilitated by Mara Gittleman (GreenThumb)


Cover Crops

Cover Crops - GreenThumb

Crimson Clover - Brooklyn Botanic Garden


Crop Planning and Companion Planting

Seasonal Vegetable Gardening Guides - Bronx Green-Up of The New York Botanical Garden

Plant Families Chart - GreenThumb

Square Foot Gardening - GreenThumb

Planting Vegetables for a Continuous Harvest - ATTRA

Planting Calendar for Vegetables - English - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Planting Calendar for Vegetables - Spanish - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Vegetable Planting Times - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Companion Planting for Vegetables - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

WEBINAR: Crop Planning 101 - Facilitated by Mara Gittleman (NYC Parks GreenThumb) and Ciara Sidell (Randall's Island Park Alliance Urban Farm)

WEBINAR: Tomato Heaven! - Facilitated by Maureen O’Brien


Fruit Trees and Brambles

Pruning Fruit Trees - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

Pruning Fruit Trees - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit - Cornell Cooperative Extension

WEBINAR: Growing Brambles: Raspberries, Blackberries, and Other Cane Fruit - Facilitated by Babbie Dunnington and Richard Squire (GreenThumb)

WEBINAR SERIES: Open Orchard School Playlist
Facilitated by Sam Van Aken (Open Orchard, Trust for Governors Island)


Irrigation and Rainwater Collection

Drip Irrigation Planning & Design - GreenThumb

Rainwater Harvesting How-To-Guide, Videos, and More - GrowNYC

Water-Thrifty Gardening - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

WEBINAR: Drip Irrigation 101 - Facilitated by Lory Henning and Arlene Roberts (Maple St. Community Garden); and Mara Gittleman (GreenThumb)



How to Use Mulch - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Mulch Tipsheet - NYC Compost Project



Growing Mushrooms in an Urban Environment - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Wine Cap Factsheet - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Grow Your Own Mushrooms Indoors or Out - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

WEBINAR: Marvelous Mushrooms - Facilitated by Gil Lopez (Smiling Hogshead Ranch)

VIDEO: Growing Wine Cap Mushrooms in a Raised Bed - (Facilitated by Arielle Hartman, GrowNYC)


Pest and Disease Management

Organic Pest Control Techniques - GreenThumb

Top Ten Garden Insect Pests - GreenThumb

Nine Keys to Plant Disease Prevention - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Make your own Natural Pest Spray - GreenThumb

Least Toxic Controls of Plant Diseases - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Preventing Pest Problems - Brooklyn Botanic Garden


Pollinator Habitat and Beneficial Insects

Habitat Gardening - NYC Parks Horticulture

Native Species Planting Guide for NYC - NYC Parks

Guide to Insectary Plants - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Tips for Successful Pollinator Gardens - Butterfly Project NYC

Beneficial Insects Poster - University of California

Make Your Garden a Haven for Insect Diversity - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Butterfly Gardening - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

VIDEO: Pollinators in the Native Flora Garden - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

WEBINAR: How to Make and Use Native Seed Balls to Protect Biodiversity - Facilitated by Jade Johnson and Navida Vignoles (New York Botanical Garden)

WEBINAR: Native Plants of the GreenThumb Plant Distribution - Facilitated by Cindy Goulder 

WEBINAR: Spring Care of Pollinator Perennials - Facilitated by Cindy Goulder

WEBINAR: Design your Garden to Attract Pollinators - Facilitated by Bronx Green-Up of The New York Botanical Garden and Butterfly Project NYC

WEBINAR: Growing a Wild Classroom: Designing Habitats for Outdoor Learning - Facilitated by Sarah Ward (National Wildlife Federation)

WEBINAR: Bees Please: A Guide to Creating Habitat for Native Pollinators - Ashley Whited (NYC Urban Park Ranger)

WEBINAR: They Only Come Out at Night: Inviting Bats to the Garden
Facilitated by Dan Tainow and Ashley Whited (NYC Urban Park Rangers)


Raised Beds

Wheelchair Accessible Raised Beds - GreenThumb

Make a Lasagna Garden in a Raised Bed - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

VIDEO: How to Build a Raised Bed / Como Construit una Cama Elevada - Spanish with English subtitles - Facilitated by Eugenio German (GreenThumb)

WEBINAR: Accessible Garden Design - Facilitated by Babbie Dunnington (NYC Parks GreenThumb) and Christopher Noel (NYC Parks Accessibility Coordinator)


Record Keeping & Data Collection

Farming Concrete Garden Data Collection Toolkit - Farming Concrete

Farming Concrete Data Entry Portal - Farming Concrete

Farming Concrete Open Data Downloads - Farming Concrete

WEBINAR: Online Garden Monitoring Systems - A Tool for Community Engagement - Facilitated by Sarah McMillian and Briana Garcia (Temboo)

WEBINAR: Record Keeping in the Garden
Facilitated by Heather Warren-Dombrowa (Urban Cultivated and Bissel Gardens) and Sheryll Durrant (Kelly Street Garden and Farming Concrete)


Season Extension

Low Tunnels - GreenThumb

Cold Frames - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Use a Cold Frame to Grow Vegetables in Early Spring or Late Fall - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Season Extension - GrowNYC

Growing All Seasons - USDA NRCS High Tunnels Initiative

WEBINAR: The Highs and Lows of High and Low Tunnels - facilitated by Onika Abraham (Farm School NYC) and Joseph Heller (USDA NRCS)


Seed Propagation/Seed Starting

VIDEO SERIES: Propagating Crops in a Hoop House - YouTube video series by NYC Parks GreenThumb, featuring Dan Moon of Citywide Nursery, NYC Parks, in the Bronx. This series covers everything from choosing a tray or flat, potting soil selection, planting seeds, watering, pricking out and potting up, hardening off, and more.

  1. Crop Planning
  2. Seed Anatomy
  3. Seed Types
  4. Seed Starting Materials
  5. Sowing Seeds in a Tray or Flat
  6. Watering Seedlings
  7. Fertilizing Seedlings
  8. Pricking out and Potting Up Seedlings
  9. Hardening off Seedlings

Starting Seeds Indoors and Out - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Planting Vegetable Seeds Outdoors - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

Starting Seeds Indoors - English - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

Starting Seeds Indoors - Spanish - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

Seed Starting Log Worksheet - English and Spanish - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

Germination Test: Are Your Old Seeds Still Good? - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Getting Started with Seeds - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

WEBINAR: Starting Seeds at Home - Facilitated by Lillian Reyes (GreenThumb)

WEBINAR: Grow Greens on your Windowsill - Facilitated by Maureen O'Brien (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

VIDEO: Soul Fire Farm Liberation on Land Series – Greenhouse Propagation // Propagación en un Invernadero - Facilitated by Cris Izaguirre and Maya Marie Stansberry (KCC Urban Farm) for Soul Fire Farm

WEBINAR: Grow A Garden From Food Scraps - Facilitated by Laura Casaregola and Chantel Kemp (GrowNYC Education)


Seed Saving

Seed Saving Chart - Seed Matters

Six Tips for Saving Seed - Seed Matters

Seed Saving Guide - Seed Savers Exchange

VIDEO: Saving Tomato Seeds - Facilitated by Owen Taylor (Truelove Seeds)

WEBINAR: How to Build and Manage a Community Seed Library - Facilitated by Eric Rodriguez (The High Line)

WEBINAR: Garden Planning for Saving Seeds - Facilitated by Owen Taylor and Julie Aguilar (Truelove Seeds)

WEBINAR: Local Seed-Keeping Initiatives Panel - Moderated by Owen Taylor (Truelove Seeds); Panelists: Lex Barlowe (Reclaim Seed NYC), Amirah Mitchell (Truelove Seeds), Jeremy Teperman (East New York Farms!

WEBINAR: Saving Seeds Part 3: Basics of Saving Wet and Dry Seeds
Facilitated by Owen Taylor and Zainab Muhammad (Truelove Seeds)


Sharing our Farm Traditions

Soul of Food series by Maya Marie S. about the crops, cuisines, and people of the South. Learn more about Maya's work at the Seeds & Receipts website and instagram and at Bring it Home


Site Planning

Garden Planning and Design - Bronx Green-Up of the New York Botanical Garden

VIDEO: How to Assess your Garden's Site Conditions - Facilitated by Anthony Reuter (GreenThumb)


Soil Health and Safety

Safe Gardening in New York City: How to Reduce Your Exposure to Contaminated Soil - English - NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lead Free NYC, and GreenThumb 

Safe Gardening in New York City: How to Reduce Your Exposure to Contaminated Soil - Spanish - NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lead Free NYC, and GreenThumb  

Soil Basics - Cornell Cooperative Extension

10 Best Practices for Healthy Gardening - English - Cornell Cooperative Extension

10 Best Practices for Healthy Gardening - Spanish - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Soil Food Web - GreenThumb

WEBINAR: Contaminants in your Soil? Best Practices to Reduce Risk for a Healthy Garden - Facilitated by Sara Perl Egendorf (Brooklyn College)

WEBINAR: Carbon Sponge Kit: Monitoring Soil Health - Facilitated by Katharhy G. and Brooke Singer (Carbon Sponge)

WEBINAR: Ag in the City: Growing Healthy Soils: Facilitated by Hannah Shayler and Perl Egendorf (Cornell University)



Building Trellis in your Garden - GreenThumb

Trellising Part 1 and Part 2 - East New  York Farms!


Vegetable Gardening Guides, Toolkits, and Other Learning Resources for Growing Food

Vegetable Growing Guides - Cornell University

Master Gardener Curriculum - Cornell Cooperative Extension

Crop-by-Crop Growing Guides - Seed Savers Exchange

Guide to Urban Farming in NY - Cornell Small Farms Program

Community Garden Guides - USDA NRCS

Videos from Soul Fire Farm - Soul Fire Farm

Webinars and Virtual Classes from the DC Urban Gardeners Network - D.C. Urban Gardeners Network

WEBINAR: Growing Peanuts and Cotton in NYC - Facilitated by Willie Morgan and Aaron Morgan (Our Little Green Acre)



Weed of the Month Series - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

WEBINAR: A Primer on Weed Identification and Management - Facilitated by Aleah Butler-Jones (Cornell University)

WEBINAR: Managing Weeds in the Garden Part 2
Facilitated by Aleah Butler-Jones (Cornell University)



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