Build A Garden

Applications will open Spring 2024

We understand that many people want to garden but not everyone can get to one of our community gardens and many people cannot safely grow directly in ground at their home due to lead contamination (see below for more information). To help more people grow food, we have launched our Build a Garden Program. We will provide a completely constructed raised garden bed or a set of garden bags filled with rich compost and soil and other resources to help you get started. Applications for garden bags will be open in the spring of 2024, and applications for raised beds will be open in the summer of 2024.

Educational resources on how to grow in raised beds and garden bags can be found here.

Who is eligible:

Anyone who lives in the City of Binghamton, Johnson City, Endwell, or Endicott  is eligible for the program, but we do have limited funds and will prioritize people who:

    • Don’t already have a home garden or community garden plot
    • Don’t have access to a personal vehicle or have other barriers to accessing fresh food
    • Live in NYS Environmental Justice areas or census tracts with 20%+ poverty levels
    • Are experiencing poverty

What you will receive if you are selected:

  • A  4 foot x 10 foot raised bed (~16 inches tall) constructed with pressure treated lumber. They will be filled with compost and soil, with mulch placed on top for the upcoming winter season.
  • A growing guide to help you be successful with your garden
  • Garden stakes and twine to trellis climbing plants if you need them
  • A set of gardening hand tools if you need them
  • Ongoing educational support via email or text message as well as educational videos
  • Fencing to go around your bed if you have pest problems
  • Seedlings & Seeds- as supplies allow. We are working on getting seedlings donated and will also be starting some of our own. We will also have a limited amount of seeds to provide for those who need.

Additional program details & gardener expectations:

  • This is a pay-what-you-can program. You do not have to contribute anything toward the cost of the garden, but if you are able, we do strongly encourage you to do so to help us be able to build more gardens for others. The cost to build one raised garden bed is about $215 in materials, not including labor. Each garden bag is between $10-$15.
  • We can completely build the a raised bed for you or you can help build it. Your ability to help construct the bed does not impact whether or not you will be selected, but if you can help build a bed, you will help us be able to build more beds for others.
  • Gardeners in this program must attend an online introduction to gardening workshop session and complete a post-season survey.
  • Gardeners in this program must plant and maintain their gardens on a weekly basis. We generally recommend spending at least 1-2 hours per week.
  • While not required, our hope is that participants will become engaged with our programs and other gardeners in their neighborhood.

Lead Contamination Information:

If you live in a home that was built before 1970 or you live near a major highway, your soil may be contaminated with lead from lead paint on your house or lead gasoline dust. To keep yourself and your family healthy, you should not grow in soil that is or may be contaminated with lead. To be safe, grow in clean soil in a raised bed or bag. Read this article on gardening and lead contamination for more information. If you are concerned about you or your child having been exposed to lead, contact the Broome County Health Department. VINES has limited funding for lead soil tests from time to time. Contact us for more information.