Northampton Community Garden

June Updates and Good News

Here’s the latest update about things happening at the Garden – with some really good news!

Water is On, Hoses Will Be Out Tomorrow

  • Yesterday, Governor Baker announced that the number of new COVID-19 infections was continuing to go down and that “Phase 2” of his multi-phase opening plan was on track to begin tomorrow, Monday June 8th.
  • So, with the Rec. Dept.’s approval, we are going to bring the hoses out and get them set up – TOMORROW!
  • Betsey will be overseeing the project. She’ll need a small team of gardeners to help her. So would you please email her at noho-garden@googlegroups.com if you can work with her?
  • Your work will count towards your Community Service hours requirement. Just email us to let us know how long you worked.

We also have someone new to help manage maintenance for the hoses/spigots this year. Gardener, and soon-to-be-retired plumber, Greg Mongeon will take over for Tom Bassett. (Thanks, Greg!) We’ll have someone from the Garden Committee do a weekly walk-though to check the 14 spigots and send a report to Greg about any leaks or other repairs that need to be done.

Tool Shed Closure

  • Tool sheds and shared tools continue to be on the Governor’s list of prohibitions for community gardens.
  • So the tool shed will remain closed.

June Plot Inspections

  • We’ve pushed back the June Inspections to next Sunday, June 14th.
  • With all the COVID-19 related restrictions about the number of gardeners allowed in the Garden, delays in assigning plots, closed tool shed, etc., this first inspection will be very basic:
    • You need to have a legible, accessible sign with your plot number.
    • The edges of your plot need to be cut back (ticks are already bad this year).
    • Your plot needs to be at least partially planted.
    • You need to have weeds under control.
  • For this first inspection, and with masks and social distancing rules still in place, just two people will do it. We’ll ask for volunteers for subsequent inspections.
  • We also understand many gardeners are late getting things started and that we’ve asked you to keep your time there to a minimum to help us stay in compliance with the Health Dept.’s rules. So please don’t stress out about this inspection – we just need to see where we are, how the Garden looks and how best to move forward.

Wearing Masks in the Garden – A REMINDER

  • Wearing masks in public has become the most important way to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading.
  • We have a number of gardeners with health issues and compromised immune systems. It’s important that we all work to help make the Garden as safe for them as possible and for other gardeners, as well.
  • We know it’s hot out there now, so you can move your mask off your face while you’re in your own plots as long as there’s not anyone within 10ft of you. But please wear your mask (covering your nose and mouth) whenever you move around the Garden.
  • If you are entering the Garden, please be mindful of gardeners who have plots on the main paths – and put your mask as soon as you enter.
  • If you have a medical reason such that you’re unable to wear a mask, you need to be particularly mindful about maintaining social distancing.
  • Please be a good Garden neighbor.

Donating Fresh Picked Vegetables from The Garden

  • We’ve had several gardeners reach out to us about donating produce from their Garden plots to local food banks and survival centers. Ironically, we found that the Northampton Survival Center (where the Garden has historically donated food) is only accepting financial donations this year due to the huge increase in families who need help with food due to the pandemic.
  • So, we made a bunch of calls and have found three (…so far) local food pantries who would gladly accept smaller donations of fresh-picked produce from the Garden.
  • They just require that gardeners follow CDC/MA guidelines for food handling – which means wash your hands and wear clean gloves as you’re harvesting. And then transfer the vegetables directly into bags for transport.
  • If you’re interested in either donating from your plots and/or becoming part of a larger effort to grow specifically for donating to the pantries, please get in touch with us at noho-garden@googlegroups.com.
  • We have plenty of washable garden gloves and will gladly give them to gardeners who would like to participate.
  • Once we have an idea of how many of you are interested, we’ll work out the details including weekly collections and making the deliveries.
  • And if anyone would like to help manage this project, let us know that, too!

Additional Plots for Current Gardeners

  • We are still finishing up the process of registering/renting additional plots for current gardeners. The City asked that we do it more slowly than in previous years to help reduce the number of gardeners working at the Garden at any one time.
  • However, in the past couple of weeks, we have been able to move more quickly in fulfilling requests from current gardeners for additional plots.
  • We’re still waiting to hear back from a few gardeners who have previously requested additional plots. If you requested an additional plot and haven’t heard from us, haven’t responded to us or if you’ve recently decided you would like to rent another plot, please get in touch with us this coming week.
  • Again, thanks for your patience!

Plots for New Gardeners

  • With the Governor and his team feeling comfortable enough to move the state into Phase 2, we’re also going to begin reaching out to new gardeners a little earlier than anticipated. We’ll post an announcement on the Noho Garden website later this week.
  • Not surprisingly, we have a long list of people who want to rent plots this year! If you have friends who are waiting to rent a plot this year, please pass on this information.
  • We’re eager to get them into the Garden and growing their own food. As we create new ways to get them integrated into the Garden, we’ll have new CS jobs. Look for an email about helping new gardeners next week.

Garden Committee Meetings

  • Garden Committee meetings, at least through June, 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.

Let us know if you have questions. Please stay safe and enjoy the weather!

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson

for the Garden Committee

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