Open 7 Days a Week

10am - 6pm

Big Reuse Queens

3-17 26th Ave. Astoria, NY 11102
718-777-0132 x2

Big Reuse Brooklyn

69 9th St. Gowanus, NY 11215
718-725-8925 x2

Big Blooms Overview

*We are currently out of stock. Please put in an application to hold your place in the queue for materials.*

If you are a qualified community garden in NYC, please put in your application now. Supplies are limited, and donations are not guaranteed. Pick-up appointments will be scheduled for approved community gardens.

Please note that the application review process takes approximately two weeks.

Requesting DSNY Compost & Mulch? DSNY’s spring 2014 compost and mulch application period has closed.This spring, DSNY distributed 55,000 bags (over 2 million pounds!) of locally-produced compost and mulch to public greening initiatives in all five boroughs of New York City. The fall 2014 application will be posted on Friday, August 1, 2014. Please check back then to request compost or mulch for your street tree, park, community garden, or other public greening initiative.

About BIG!Blooms:

Big Reuse's retired scaffolding donation program - Big Blooms - began in late 2011, and has over diverted 108 tons (216,000 pounds!) of retired scaffolding lumber to be re-used as raised garden beds, tree guards, and compost bins for local community and school gardens. That’s enough material for over 2,000 raised garden beds!

Did you know that after scaffolding lumber has been used for construction purposes, it is retired and sent to a landfill, a chipping facility, or to an incinerator? Big Reuse saw an opportunity to help divert the wood from the waste stream and provide free materials to local gardens and community groups.

One of our early donors to this program is local LIC company, United Hoisting and Scaffolding. "I have got to say, it feels great seeing the end result with the product we donate," said Joe Covello, Vice President at UHSC. "Seeing the joy in the people's faces and the benefit we bring to their communities is what make us continue to donate to Big Reuse." Other BIG scaffolding donors include York Scaffolding and New Jersey based, Ace Scaffolding.

Now when you walk past scaffolding being used as a temporary sidewalk shed, you can know that some of those boards may have a second life ahead of them! 


Here are some tips on how to plan and build raised garden beds with retired scaffolding lumber:

We recommend that you clean and paint the scaffolding lumber with a non-toxic paint, water based coating, or polypropylene liner. The scaffolding boards are not pressure treated, but may contain chemical from their use onsite. It is impossible for us to test every board. so it is important to take preventative measures when working with salvaged materials. More suggestions from "How To Build Raised Garden Beds"


Here's a growing list of BIG!Blooms Recipients:

100 Quincy Community Garden
152 Tompkins Garden
373K/Brooklyn Transition Center
462 Halsey Community Garden
61 Franklin Street Garden
92 Woodruff Building Association
Bartow Pell Mansion Museum Children's Garden
Battery Urban Farm
Bountiful Harvest Garden
Brooklyn Arbor
Brooklyn Queens Land Trust
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Brownsville Educational Farm
Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community Garden
City Parks Foundation
DB Co-op
Designed Environment for Experiential Learning Inc. (Senior Citizens Sculpture Park)
The Doe Fund
Drew Gardens
East New York Farms!
Elmhurst Community Garden
Espiritu Tierra
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School
Farm School NYC - Just Food
Feeding Family
Fifth Street Farm Project
Glendale Community Garden
Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Grand Street Settlement Bushwick-Hylan Community Center
Green Guerillas
Green Thumb
Harlem Grown
Hellgate Farm
Herricks Community Garden
Imani Garden
Java St Garden
Jackie Robinson/Crown Heights
Lefferts Garden
Maple Street Community Garden
McIntosh Neighborhood Assn. Garden
Millbrook Community Garden

Myrtle Village Green
New Life Community Farm

New Roots Community Farm
New York Hall of Science
North Brookolyn Farms/Bobby Redd
NYCHA Garden and Greening ProgramPatchen Community Square
Outer Seed Shadow #01
Piazza Gratissima, BroLab
Project Eats
PS329 - YWCA Schol Garden
PTSD 837
Queens Botanical Garden
The Red Shed Community Garden
Rivers Run Community Garden
Rochaway Waterfront Alliance/Goldie Maple Academy
Roger That! Garden Project
Saratoga Farm
Sheepshead Bay Recovers/Occupy Sandy
Smiling Hogshead Ranch
Socrates Sculpture Park
Solar One/ Green Design Lab
South Brooklyn Children's Garden
Sow Brooklyn/Boys & Girls High School
Smith Bros. Garden
Sparrow's Nest Community Garden
St. John's Place Family Center - Edible Schoolyard
St. John's Preparatory
Sunnyside Community Garden
Sustainable Flatbush
Sprout Farms at The Green School
St Mary's Urban Farm Project
The Hindu Temple Society of North America
Turnip Garden
UCC Youth Farm
Urban Hope, Inc.
Wagner Middle School Parents Association
Warren St. Marks Community Garden
Windsor Terrace Library, Community Garden by The Green Works Team

Young Adult Institute



Big Blooms Donee Gardens

Project: Sustainable Flatbush Healing Herb Garden

Written By: 
Big Reuse Summer Intern, Melanie Pavlidis

Sheryll, the coordinator of the Sustainable Flatbush Herb Garden is fascinated by seeds. Though she could have adopted nursery-born seedlings and tucked them into her numerous creative planters, she instead chose to raise a garden family of her own. With a cold frame and some new stepped beds constructed with reclaimed scaffolding lumber from Big Reuse, Sheryll has raised a lush, green garden from an an assortment of tiny, brown orbs.

The herb garden has been in existence since 2010, but prior to the Big Blooms donation was purely a container garden. Since then, various volunteers have contributed to the project: from Chris who is developing the pollinator garden and can name every species of bee in the vicinity, to one of their youngest volunteers who can’t help informing every visitor that he “really like[s] to water the plants!” At present, there are 47 different herbs in the garden including: solarium, sage, basil, motherwort and catnip which the local strays enjoy a little too much.


The Herb Garden is part of an effort to “re-energize” the area around the Flatbush Reformed Church. In addition to the herb garden, there is also a laudable compost initiative at the site which created 1.7 tons of compost last year and a CSA pick-up for a Hudson Valley farm. According to Sheryll, “whoever came up with the expression ‘dirt cheap’ didn’t know what they were talking about,” so they work with the compost initiative to maintain the soil they already have and educate and encourage the community through workshops to appreciate and sustain their local environment.


Project: Roger That Community Garden

Written By: 
Big Reuse Summer Intern, Melanie Pavlidis

Some gardens are of this world and some are not. The Roger That Community Garden, is one of those that is truly out of this world. Just inside the fence, soft, weeping branches create a shadow of cool space and an assortment of mismatched furniture makes one expect to find The Mad Hatter and his tea party around the bend. Then, as if passing into another scene of Alice’s fantasy, one is met with a sea of blossoming perennials and blooming boxes all overseen by a striking mural of Mother Nature.


The Roger That Garden was established six years ago, but has only existed in its current form for the past two years, thanks to the work of Coordinator Emily Bell Dinan and her team as well as the kindness of Richard Green, the director of the Youth Collective next door. Said Emily, while her loyal Labrador panted at her feet, “we also wanted to start a garden you could bring dogs into, because we all love dogs!”


Together, the garden volunteers have not only developed within the fence, but also expanded beyond it. Using the reclaimed scaffolding lumber donated by Big Reuse, they have built additional vegetable beds which participating community members help to manage and harvest. They have also worked to beautify the street by constructing planters along the sidewalk with the rest of the Big Blooms scaffolding lumber and filling them with leafy and flowering plants. Participating families and individuals share the work and the harvest because as Emily explains, “more people can be involved if it is communal because we are not limited by a set number of plots.” One of the garden volunteers, Andrea, when asked if she was the “president of the garden” by an intrigued passerby, responded with a smile, “no, just a lowly neighbor who loves to see the community grow.” And so the community has, as evidenced by the brilliant scarlet trumpet vine that blossomed for the first time this summer; an omen, if ever there was one, that this will be a blossoming, blooming year for the galactic garden on Rogers Avenue.



Project: Queens Botanical Intergenerational Garden

Written By: 
Big Reuse Summer Intern, Melanie Pavlidis

Through the Big Blooms program, Big Reuse both helps people realize their agricultural aspirations and brings communities together. However, while we hope our donations give gardens a jump start, it is ultimately up to the respective community coalitions to put on those gloves and overalls and get the job done.

One Big Blooms recipient that is currently bringing not only people of different cultures together, but also people of different ages is the Intergenerational Garden at Queens Botanical Garden. Using the reclaimed scaffolding lumber donated by Big Reuse, the resourceful and creative volunteers at the QBG Intergenerational Garden have constructed a number of new vegetable beds, as well as a platform which they will use as a steady surface to put chairs on so seniors don't fall and a stage on which to hold performances.

With the summer just begun, their new beds are brimming with delicate greenery and stretching vines that whisper of the bounty these warm months will bring. Diligent volunteers water and weed the garden with devotional care. With bent heads and dirty knees, they are seemingly oblivious of the oppressive afternoon heat as cabbage moths dip between the staked tomatoes and curling bean vines. Said Maureen Regan, the IG Garden coordinator and a horticultural therapist, when speaking about the volunteers "It is amazing what experience can do. It's not just putting some seeds in a hole with water; it takes a lot more than that."

Last Sunday, the stage was christened with its first performance as a group of talented students from the Lowell school performed songs from the musical, Grease and recited some original poetry. The students had been working for over a month in the area just outside the IG Garden to establish a brand new butterfly garden and this was the grand opening. (Apparently no one had told the pollinators though; they were buzzing and fluttering about long before the ceremonial launch).

The event was very aptly themed “we go together;” the title of the final song the group performed, as well as a beautiful message about what this new project had accomplished. In this case though, it was not only the human community that was brought together by this initiative, but also the natural community. Susan Klein, the school’s principal said in her opening address about the importance of community, “if you help just one person in your life, your life is worthwhile," a sentiment that appeared to resonate with everyone in attendance, plants and pollinators included.


Project: McIntosh Neighborhood Association Garden

The McIntosh Neighborhood Assn. Garden has been in existence since 1978. They are a registered GreenThumb community garden and also a member garden of Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (BQLT). The garden is senior-led, with Ms. Ada Smothers as the current Garden Leader. The McIntosh garden has been a NY Cares project for more than 10 years and also hosts children in the garden from a nearby private school. Each season they grow vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, perennial and annual flowers; they have two active compost bins and a number of rain collection barrels. They are always seeking new, younger members from the surrounding neighborhoods to help sustain this community garden.

With the Big Blooms lumber they received this spring, they have built 3 new raised beds and have been able to repair/replace old boards for more than 10 existing raised beds.



Project: Solar One's Green Design Lab (Spring-Summer 2012)

Solar One's Green Design Lab (TM) is an in-depth curriculum and program focused on greening New York City schools.  The Green Design Lab curriculum looks at the school building as both a laboratory for learning and a tool for environmental change. Using a creative approach to problem solving, 4th-12th grade students participate in activities that incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to explore and then implement what they have learned by saving energy and creating schoolwide sustainability projects.

East New York Farms (Summer 2012)

The mission of the East New York Farms Project is to organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development.





Project: Brownsville Student Farm Project (Spring/Summer 2012)

There are thousands of acres of abandoned lots in New York owned by the city.  We are starting with a space in Brownsville. At the corner of Sutter and Rockaway Avenue, across from Public School 323,  is our sunny 8,000 square foot corner lot, currently full of weeds and trash.  We will transform this lot into a urban teaching farm that will beautify the neighborhood, educate local youth, and provide a source of fresh produce for the community. Read an interview with founder Nora Painten here.

Project: Sprout Farms (Spring 2012)

Sprout Farms is a project dedicated to urban agriculture.  We are fiscally sponsored by Open Space Institute, Inc. through its Citizen Action Program.  Sprout establishes educational spaces for students and community members to learn about food systems through gardens and projects related to the food and waste cycle.  Sprout partners with schools to develop educational programming to teach plant care, nutrition, and environmental stewardship.  Sprout's summer programming connects students and their communities with food production during the peak growing season to provide a deeper understanding of the food we eat.  Sprout works to reduce its impact on the environment by using recycled and refurbished materials and partnering with like-minded organizations.

Project: Queens Botanical Garden - Inter-generational Garden  (Spring/Summer 2012)

From thematic gardens and historic plantings recalling QBG’s World’s Fair origins to new gardens showcasing native species and sustainable landscape practices, our collections represent the expert horticultural knowledge, artistry, and commitment to environmental education and public service that have been hallmarks of QBG for more than 60 years.

Project: Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (Spring/Summer 2012)

"Grounded in Community Gardens in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City"

Thanks to the generous support of BIG!BLOOMS, a program of Big Reuse, BQLT has been able to deliver nearly one hundred pieces of lumber to seven BQLT community gardens in Brooklyn and Queens so far this season. The lumber is repurposed from retired scaffolding boards and is used to build raised vegetable beds, an excellent second use for this material. BQLT looks forward to receiving more lumber and distributing it to additional gardens this Spring.

If you are a scaffolding, or building material supply company looking to make a donation, please contact our Donations director at 718-732-4143  or


Topics and Types: 

Our Big Gives Back program has given away $300,000 worth of materials benefiting NYC's community and environment.

Our Food Scrap Drop-off program serviced 1000 households per week in 2015!

Our Big Blooms program has given away 5,345 pieces of retired lumber to build 2,226 garden beds in over 1,269 community and school gardens.

We processed 765,477 pounds of food scraps and accepted 237,554 pounds of wood chips and leaf matter in 2015! That's over 1 million pounds of organic material diverted from landfills!

The greenhouse gas emissions prevented by our diversion efforts is equivalent to saving 360,000 gallons of gasoline!