Here’s the latest information about things happening at the Garden, a request to help keep the Garden safe, and a reminder about changes in planned Garden events.
Of course, all of this is due to the Massachusetts State of Emergency and the City of Northampton’s COVID-19 response. As you are all aware, the situation with the coronavirus continues to evolve and there are no firm dates for when the current restrictions will be lifted.
New Plots for Current Gardeners
- The closure time for the Northampton Rec. Dept. has been extended to three weeks and could possibly be longer.
- With no one at the office there is no way to process registration forms or payments, so we are also unable to assign new plots to current gardeners at this time.
- As soon as we know the Rec. Dept. will be re-opening, we will begin to reach out to everyone who has requested additional or new plots for this year.
- It’s always a lengthy process, but we will still contact all current gardeners who indicated they would like an additional or new plot before we begin to register new gardeners.
Tool Shed Closure
- Guidance from the CDC and other agencies has suggested varying times that the coronavirus is able to remain alive on different surfaces including steel, plastic, wood, and cardboard. In some cases it seems to be hours and on other surfaces it might be days.
- That means that gardening tools may be carriers for live virus whether someone used them this morning or days ago.
- Until we have more science-based information about the virus and understand how best to manage tool use, we will be closing the tool shed.
- We understand this will be a hardship to some gardeners, but our greater concern is everyone’s health, keeping the Garden as safe as possible, and in helping to prevent the spread of the virus.
Social Distancing and COVID-19 Community Behaviors
- As the entire country is currently in some form of self-isolation, we are still encouraged to “get outside, take walks, garden.” However, we need to be mindful of how we interact with each other when we’re doing those things.
- The Garden can seem like a big open place, but gardeners often end up in close proximity to each other as they talk, share tools, etc.
- Because the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to spread by close human interaction, we all need to remember to maintain a distance of 6ft or more from each other while we’re at the Garden.
- Also, please don’t share tools. Remember to wear gloves and to wash them.
- And please respect the boundaries of other gardeners as we all figure out how to move through this situation.
- You can refer to CDC guidelines to better understand how the virus is spread, how to protect yourself, how to protect those around you and what to do if you get sick.
New Gardener Sign-Up Day Has Been Cancelled
New Gardener Sign-Up Day, which was scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 21st has been cancelled. And all new gardener registrations will be postponed for at least three weeks.
The registration period for new gardeners, when it happens, will be handled electronically, on an individual basis and through the Rec. Dept. There will not be a single event.
We’ll send out and post more details as we have them.
New Gardener Orientation Has Been Cancelled
New Gardener Orientation has also been cancelled. Again, once the COVID-19-related meeting restrictions have been eased or lifted, we will re-evaluate the needs of our new gardeners and plan an orientation or informational meeting accordingly.
Right now we have no idea when that might be.
Garden Committee Meetings
- Garden Committee meetings, at least through April, will also be conducted digitally and not in person.
- If you have something to discuss with the Garden Committee please email us or wait until we are back into our regular monthly meeting schedule.
Other Garden Events
- For now, the dates for Opening Day, Provisional Inspections, the Clean Plant Sale, and all other Garden events will remain the same.
- However everything is subject to change depending on the progression of the coronavirus and the federal, state and city policies put in place in response to it.
We will continue to be in touch as soon as we have new information. Stay safe, wash your hands frequently and remember that Spring begins on TOMORROW!
Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson
for the Garden Committee