Northampton Community Garden

Updates for Mid-April

Here’s the latest information about things happening at the Garden and a reminder that the Health Dept.’s request for limited time at the Garden is still in place. Please do what you need to do in your plots and then go home.

As much as we’d like it to be, this is not a time to socialize at the Garden. Remember that, as we explained in the last post, all events at the Garden, including picnics, parties, bird & butterfly walks, workshops & classes, etc. – have all been cancelled. Even small events of less than 10 people are prohibited until further notice.

Water is On and the Dumpster is in Place

  • We know the dumpster is about 20ft further east that it should be. They’ll move it to its regular place in two weeks when they come to empty it.
  • The water is on, but hoses won’t be installed until late April or early May. Hoses get handled a lot and thus are potential vectors for the virus. So to keep everyone’s exposure to a minimum, we’ll hold off on installing them for a few more weeks.
  • Please remember to wash your hands! We’ve ordered nylon mesh bags to hold bars of soap and will attach them to all the spigots as soon as they come in. Until then please bring your own soap or hand sanitizer with you to use when you enter the Garden and before you leave.

Tool Shed Closure

  • Guidance from the CDC and other agencies continues to report varying lengths of time 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 & equipment may be carriers for live virus whether someone used them this morning or days ago. So the tool shed will remain closed.
  • 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.
  • We’ll open it back up as soon as we know it’s safe to do so.

Gardening Gloves & Masks

  • Please remember to wear gloves while you’re working at the Garden – for your own safety and that of other gardeners.
  • Washing your gloves in hot, sudsy water in between wearings will help kill any virus you might have picked up.
  • If you don’t have gloves, can’t afford them or are otherwise unable to get out to a store to get a pair, please contact Larri & Betsey at noho-garden@googlegroups.com.
  • We have washable gardening gloves that we will give you. Let us know what size you need (unisex sizes: S, M, or L) and we’ll work out a way to get a pair to you as quickly as we can.
  • The state of Massachusetts now requires that residents wear masks any time we’re outside. We can’t provide masks for you, because we haven’t been able to source them, but we urge you to follow this rule when you’re at the Garden.

Portable Toilet

  • We have no plans, at this time, to have the portable toilet delivered – because there’s no way to sanitize them after every use. So they become potential sources of live virus.
  • We understand not having the portable toilet will limit time at the Garden for some gardeners. But we need to prevent the virus from being spread at the Garden in every way we can.

So please plan your visits accordingly!

Limiting Outside Visitors to the Garden

As City parks and recreation spaces have been closed to prevent group gatherings (including the “not-a-dog-park” to the immediate West of the Garden), we have worked to keep the Garden open for gardeners. But we have no way of preventing non-gardeners from walking through the Garden.

We (both the Garden Committee and a few gardeners) have, however, sent out numerous emails to different groups urging non-Noho CG gardeners not to come into the Garden until the restrictions have been lifted. Because so many people from Village Hill visit the Garden, we have sent out a number of emails to groups there, as well.

  • We’ve said that, if they must come to the Garden, they can walk along the back road or around the perimeter of the Garden.
  • We’ve also explained that the presence of outside individuals (not wearing masks or maintaining social/physical distance) is potentially dangerous to gardeners working in their plots at the Garden. And, if there are too many people in the Garden, we run the risk of having the Garden closed.

So please urge your non-Noho CG gardener friends to refrain from visiting the Garden until the shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted. And, if you see people in the Garden who don’t have plots, gently ask them to walk only around the perimeter of the Garden.

Social/Physical Distancing and COVID-19 Community Behaviors

We know we’ve all heard more about social/physical distancing than we ever wanted to hear. But, we still need to be mindful of how we interact with each other when we’re working at the Garden.

The Garden can seem like a big open place, but gardeners often end up in close proximity to each other as they talk, walk to their plots/cars, carry things to the compost piles & dumpster, fill watering cans, 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 10ft or more from each other while we’re at the Garden.

Please respect the boundaries of other gardeners as we all figure out how to move through this situation.

And please, if you aren’t feeling well, don’t come to the Garden.

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 Plots for New Gardeners

No new gardener registrations will be processed until at least the first part of May.

The City Health Dept. has said that we need to keep the potential number of gardeners who might be in the Garden at one time down to a minimum. So we won’t be able to add new gardeners until those restrictions are lifted.

Also, City offices are closed and/or most staff members are working from home without full access to the software & systems necessary for processing new registration forms.

REMINDER – Garden Committee Meetings

Garden Committee meetings, at least through April, will 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.

REMINDER – Other Garden Events

For now, the dates for Provisional Inspections, the Clean Plant Sale, and all other Garden events will remain the same.

We will get back to you next week about possible timelines for having straw and compost delivered. Those deliveries will definitely need to be separate events this year.

Remember that all dates and upcoming events are 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 with new information. We’ve also begun printing/posting Garden emails on the covered tool shed bulletin board and on the Master Gardener kiosk board just so everyone gets the information.

Please stay safe and enjoy the Spring weather!

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson
for the Garden Committee

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