A dry August is taking its toll on Queens’ community gardens.

Sonia Ferraro has been gardening her whole life. But she says there is a noticeable difference this year in the fall.

“It’s different from other gardens. This year, it was like crying because we drank water and it wasn’t enough,” said Ferraro, founder of Garden Community Gardens in Queens.

More than a dozen vegetables and flowers are growing in the Gardens community garden, but New York City is currently in the grip of a severe drought — the driest August since 1994. In the last 50 days, it has only rained. seven days.

What you need to know

  • New York City is currently in a severe drought.

  • This is the driest August since 1994

  • It has rained only seven days in the last 50 days.

That means volunteers at this community garden at Inwood Street and Shore Avenue are working twice as hard to water the plants.

“It takes a lot of effort to make sure everything is well fed and well watered,” said St. Albans resident Sasha Bennett.

Bennett is new to gardening, but has been volunteering at the garden for about a year now.

She has already noticed a difference in the amount of rainwater collected in the garden’s rain barrels this summer.

That leaves the gardeners even more dependent on the city’s water supply through a hose connected to a fire hydrant around the block — something they need FDNY training and permission to access.

The Garden Community Garden is one of more than 550 city gardens around the city and is supported by the Parks Department’s Green Thumb Program.

According to the Parks Department, community gardens play an important role as part of a city’s green infrastructure during inclement weather.

The agency is offering free workshops on sustainable garden water management and providing resources to groups to help with drought conditions.

Before the epidemic began in 2020, Ferraro helped found a community garden in Jamaica, Queens.

For Ferraro, it was a place of refuge. And it helped provide healthy food to local families when it was most needed.

“The general idea behind each bed is that families come here to supplement their meals at home because food is very expensive. “A lot of people can’t afford to buy organic foods or even the ethnic foods they’re used to,” Ferraro said.

And according to Ferraro, while this summer’s bounty isn’t as large as she’d hoped, she’s grateful for the hard-working volunteers and hopeful for the rainy planting season ahead.

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