Northampton Community Garden


May newsletter, first inspection, and more!

Here are the latest updates as we head into another steamy weekend. You’ll find a link to the May Garden Newsletter, information about the May 30th Garden Inspectio and how to volunteer to be part of the inspection team, the 2021 Garden Committee, and information about additional ways to complete your Community Service hours this year.

GARDEN NEWSLETTER
Here’s a link to the first Garden newsletter of the season. Thank you to everyone who contributed articles! Remember that you can get Community Service credit for photos and articles you contribute. Contact Betsey a noho-garden@googlegroups.com for more information.

FIRST GARDEN INSPECTION – May 30th

The first Garden Inspection of the season is to make sure all rented plots:

  • Are being planted and that weeds have been removed,
  • Have legible signs,
  • Have their edges cut back and that paths around plots are cleared.

Please refer back to your 2021 Northampton Community Garden Registration form for all Garden rules and inspection information.

If you are are interested in working on completing your Community Service hours by serving as a peer inspector for the May 30th Inspection, please contact Garden Committee member/Inspection Manager Donna Cuipylo at dcuipylo@gmail.com to schedule your service hours. Your email should include your name and preferred contact information.

2021 GARDEN COMMITTEE MEMBERS
The Garden Committee is a volunteer committee of Noho CG gardeners who help oversee the day-to-day operations of the Garden. We work closely with the Northampton Parks & Recreation Department (the Garden is one of the department’s programs), with the DPW and other City offices.


This season we have new members on the Garden Committee in the following roles:

  • Christie PetersonSecretary
  • Karen Smith-Emerson, Mowing Manager
  • Donna CuipyloInspections Manager
  • Sarah Bachrach (joining Jana Chicoine and Greg Mongeon) on the Water Team
  • Regina Bragdon and Micky McKinleyTool Shed Managers

They join these long standing Garden Committee members:

  • Tom Gagnon – New Gardener Registration
  • Steph Vasiliades – Tree Maintenance Manager
  • Arlene Avakian – Village Hill Liaison
  • Lora Hodges – Education Manager

COMMUNITY SERVICE
All gardeners at Noho CG are responsible for contributing volunteer Community Service hours to help keep the Garden clean, organized and operating smoothly. Historically gardeners have volunteered to keep the Garden free of invasive weeds, clean out overgrown plots, assist with Garden inspections, assist with mowing, write articles for the newsletter, etc.

Although COVID restrictions are easing, we’ll continue to be cautious and focus on smaller work parties and individual assignments in addition to scheduled jobs like mowing, tool shed maintenance & inspections.
Watch for upcoming emails with volunteer opportunities in the Garden!

New CS Opportunities
This year, we are also testing a new idea: we are expanding what “community service” means to include giving you credit for some volunteer work done outside the Garden and in the surrounding communities.

With this new idea, gardeners will be able to receive credit for 1 hour towards their Noho CG Community Service when they volunteer with any of the following local groups and non-profit organizations. This list may expand throughout the season and we welcome any suggestions for other non-profits that would appreciate volunteer help.

If you volunteer with any of these groups/organizations, all you have to do is email us at noho-garden@googlegroups.com and tell us what you did and the name of the individual to whom you reported. We’ll get back to you if we have questions. Please let us know if you have suggestions for other groups and organizations!

Noho CG Community Volunteer List

  • (NEW) Northampton Senior Center Vaccination Clinic
    • Volunteer at the Center’s vaccination clinic. Contact Volunteer Coordinator, Loren Davine, at 413-429-6363 for more information.
  • (NEW) Pioneer Valley Workers Council
    • PVWC is looking for volunteers to help with fundraising.
    • 20 Hampton Ave, Ste. 200, Northampton MA
    • Call 413-570-3060 for more information Monday – Thursday.
  • 2021 Forbes Library Garden Tour
    • The Friends of the Forbes Library Garden Tour is a much-loved annual event here in Northampton. In addition to raising funds for the Forbes Library, the Tour gives attendees a peek into the beautiful, otherwise private, gardens throughout the City.
    • This year, due to COVID restrictions and the hopes that more people will be vaccinated in the ensuing months, the Tour is being pushed back to July 17th.
    • Volunteers for the Tour help with logistics, act as garden guides and other support roles for the group managing the Tour.
    • To learn more, contact the Forbes Garden Tour Volunteer Coordinator, Deena Sarvet, at dsarvet@gmail.com.
  • Northampton Survival Center
    • “The Northampton Survival Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County by providing nutritious food and other resources. “
    • Contact the Survival Center about their current opportunities for volunteers at (413) 586-6564.
    • Learn more about their work by clicking here.
    • 265 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA 01060
  • Easthampton Community Center
    • The Easthampton Community Center serves a vital role for Easthampton and surrounding towns with their Food Pantry, Clothing Closet and Community Dinner programs.
    • To learn about current volunteer opportunities, visit their Volunteer page by clicking here.
    • (413)-527-5240
    • 12 Clark Street, Easthampton, MA 01027
  • Western Mass Pollinator Networks
    • WMPN is a local non-profit formed in 2016 to provide education about pollinators, the installation of pollinator habitats and pathways, and an evolving list of grant-back work in support of pollinators.
    • This all-volunteer organization also does hands-on installation & maintenance of public pollinator habits throughout the City of Northampton.
    • For information about volunteer opportunities, contact Director, Peggy MacLeod at wmassbees@gmail.com.

As always, let us know if you have questions or if there are other things we need to address.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson

for the Garden Committee


Mid-April Greetings from the Garden!

We continue to work out the 2021 Schedule of Garden Events and respond to the evolving local/state COVID regulations as they pertain to the Garden.

The most important things you need to know right now

  • Last month the City of Northampton issued new COVID regulations regarding masks: effective immediately, masks must be worn in all outdoor public places at all timesThis means that all gardeners must wear masks while we’re in the Garden – both in our own plots and while we move through the Garden.
  • If you are a New Gardener we’re continuing to work with the City to figure out at way to be able to hold a couple of in-person New Gardener Orientation events at the Garden in the next weeks. In the meantime please email us with questions and/or ask other gardeners.

Garden Opening

As we mentioned earlier, due to COVID restrictions, we will again be doing a “soft Garden opening” with events being held over several days. Our goal is to minimize the number of people in the Garden at any one time.

Water

The DPW turned on the water, only to discover an underground leak near one of the spigots in the middle of the Garden. (Thanks again for letting us know, Sarah!) The leak has been repaired and water is back on now. We will pull a team together to deploy the hoses as soon as possible now that the water is back on.

Tool Shed

We will be able to use the shared tools in the Tool Shed this year. Right now, we are continuing to work out tool shed safety rules, signage and getting the hoses out before we open the shed and share the new lock combination.

Dumpster

The dumpster has been delivered. Please observe the following rules about the dumpster use

  • The dumpster can be used only for Garden trash and non-recyclable materials (plastic bags, plant pots/trays, wooden pallets, etc.) Please take cardboard back home with you and recycle it!
  • The only plant materials that can be thrown in the dumpster are diseased plants – so the compost piles don’t become contaminated.
  • DO NOT bring trash from home and throw it in the Garden dumpster.
  • DO NOT bring food waste from home and throw it in the Garden dumpster or compost piles.

Re-Using Fences, Tomato Cages and other Materials

  • If you’re new to the Garden this season and have found garden materials you don’t want in your new plot, or are a returning gardener and have equipment you no longer need, you can place anything USABLE on the western side of the tool shed.
  • Often other gardeners will have use for those things. And we’d rather see them get re-used or recycled before throwing them into the trash.
  • Plant pots, on the other hand, can’t be recycled. And many gardeners are cautious about using them. So it’s generally better to put them into the dumpster when you’re done using them.

Straw Bales

  • We will again place an order with Sandy Jaescke from Pinebrooke Farm for bales of straw.
  • Delivery date will be Saturday, April 24th at 10:00AM.
  • Please add the word, “Mulch”, into the subject line of your email when placing your orders.
  • Cost per bale is $8.50 – which will be paid directly to Sandy by cash or check on the 24th. (Make your checks out to Sandy Jaescke)
  • You or a proxy must be on site at 10:00AM, at the Garden, to receive any bales you’ve ordered. Sandy can’t wait.
  • If you or a friend can’t be there – please don’t place an order. You can always go and purchase bales at Sandy’s Pine Brook farm stand on Bridge Road.
  • Kindly note that Sandy will not be able to drive around the Garden to do direct drops this year – she broke her foot over the Winter and has limited mobility. So please plan accordingly when placing your orders.

Bulk Compost

  • We will also, once again, be ordering bulk compost from Bear Path Farm in Hatfield.
  • Pick-up time will be Saturday, April 24th from 9:00AM – 12:Noon.
  • Cost per 5-gallon bucket will be $3.50
  • Please add the word, “Compost”, to the subject line of your email.
  • We have buckets and, this year, we’ll be able to use both the carts and wheelbarrows to move the full buckets around the garden from the staging area.
  • We generally have at least a few helpers to shovel the compost into buckets and to help move some of them. Everyone who volunteers to help with the compost will get credit towards their Community Service hours.

Garden Neighbors

Garden Neighbors are experienced gardeners who volunteer each season to help answer your gardening questions. Located throughout the Garden, we will place tall, “Ask Me I’m a Garden Neighbor”, signs in their plots this coming week.

Here’s a list of the 2021 Garden Neighbors & Their Plots :

  • Ellie Cook (N16, O15, O16, O17)
  • Lora Hodges (C10, C11, D10, C11)
  • Art Larson (G32, G33, H32, H33)
  • Tim Parshall (G30, G31, H30)
  • Julie Abramson (R04)
  • Geneva Brinton (K04, L05, L06, L07)
  • Elizabeth Thulin (M07, M08, N07, N08)
  • Eric Howard (K03, K04, L03, L04)
  • Howard Friel (G13, G14, H13)
  • Paul Grace (G18, H18)
  • Meg Ryan (K15, K16, L15, L16)
  • Austin Roberts (G08, H07, H08, O09)
  • Mindy Theroux (I05 as well as shared K24 & K25)
  • If you have questions about Garden Neighbors, please contact coordinator Ellie Cook.

Thank you to Ellie and all the Garden Neighbors for volunteering this year!

Garden Committee

  • We will be looking to fill a couple of positions on the Garden Committee this year. All positions on the GC are working roles – meaning that you will be responsible for managing some aspect of the daily Garden operations and reporting back to the GC at our monthly meetings.
  • Serving on the Garden Committee fulfills your annual Community Service responsibilities.
  • We’re still looking for a Mowing Manager (or Co-Managers) to oversee the mowing schedule. Please let us know if you’re interested!

As always, let us know if you have questions or if there are other things we need to address.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson

for the Garden Committee


Spring Greetings from the Garden

Welcome to both Returning and New Gardeners!

This is the first in a series of Garden posts you’ll see over the next weeks as we work out the 2021 Schedule of Garden Events and respond to the evolving local/state COVID regulations as they pertain to the Garden.
The most important things you need to know right now:

  • Earlier this week the City of Northampton issued new COVID regulations regarding masks: effective immediately, masks must be worn in all outdoor public places at all times. This means that all gardeners must wear masks while we’re in the Garden – both in our own plots and while we move through the Garden.
  • The Garden is fully rented out for the season. We fulfilled as many requests for additional plots from Returning Gardeners as we received. And we registered 30+ new gardeners last weekend. There are currently no additional plots to assign/rent. So there will be lots of new faces in the Garden this season!
  • If you are a New Gardener – we’re working with the City to figure out at way to be able to hold a couple of in-person New Gardener Orientation events at the Garden in early April. Watch for updates! In the mean time please email us with questions and/or ask other gardeners.

New Gardener Sign-Up Event Last Weekend

  • We worked closely with the Rec. Dept. and were able to hold an in-person New Gardener Sign-Up Event last Saturday morning, March 21st.
  • We were mostly outside (with masks, tables, traffic cones, hand sanitizer, and lots of bleach wipes) at the Rec. Dept.
  • Happily, the weather cooperated and those waiting in line were very patient.
  • Thank you to long-time gardeners, Patty Ryan & Tom Gagnon, and to the Rec. Dept.’s Sandra Gross for working with us to process new registrations.

Garden Opening Dates and Events

  • Water – As always, the water turn-on date is TBD by the DPW. We’ll let you know when it’s scheduled to be turned on as soon as we hear from them. It depends on April’s temperatures.
  • And thank you to Rec. Dept. Director Ann-Marie Moggio for working with us to organize and run the event.
  • Tool Shed – We will be able to use the shared tools in the Tool Shed this year. We have a few details to work out and safety rules to put in place before we open it and share the new lock combination. Stay tuned!
  • To minimize the number of gardeners in the Garden at any one time, we will be doing Garden Opening events on different days – the same way we did it for Garden Closing in the Fall. We’ll let you know those dates ASAP, including hose deployment, and dates for delivery of bulk compost and straw bales.
  • Garden Neighbors – if you served as a Garden Neighbor last year, please contact coordinator Ellie Cook (eleanor.cook@comcast.net) about your availability this year. With so many new gardeners, we’d like to get the Garden Neighbors team set up and signs in your plots as quickly as we can.

Garden Committee

  • We will be looking to fill a couple of positions on the Garden Committee this year. All positions on the GC are working roles – meaning that you will be responsible for managing some aspect of the daily Garden operations and reporting back to the GC at our monthly meetings.
  • Serving on the Garden Committee fulfills your annual Community Service responsibilities.
  • Right now we need a Mowing Manager to oversee the mowing schedule. Please let us know if you’re interested!

As always, let us know if you have questions or if there are other things we need to address.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson

for the Garden Committee


2021 Registration & other updates

Happy January! The 2021 Returning Gardener Registration Packets will be in the mail on Monday and should arrive in your mailboxes next week. Signed forms (pages 7 & 8) with payment for current plots are due back to the Northampton Recreation Department by February 16th, 2021.

Although the Recreation Department office remains closed to outside visitors, you may still drop off your forms/checks into the mailbox located to the right of the main door. If you want to pay by credit card, you can send in/drop off your signed registration forms and call the office with your credit card information.

Remember that the Recreation Department is located at 100 Bridge Road behind JFK Middle School. Enter the main driveway of JFK and drive around to the right of the school. You’ll see the Rec. Dept.’s grey modular office building just before the playing fields.

Please read all 2021 Noho Community Garden Rules and Guidelines carefully, as some items have changed. A few notes:

  • In order to keep the Garden’s base plot fees at the current rate, there have been changes to a few of the other fees:
    • We are no longer offering a discount for keeping a compost pile in your plot — but we encourage you to do so!
    • Gardeners may take ONE discount only, (i.e. a discount for being 65+ OR applying for a low-income scholarship).
    • You now need to include your date of birth if you request a discount for being 65+.
    • Gardeners 65+ (who live in Northampton) are eligible for a senior discount for one plot only. (All current non-resident gardeners aged 65+ have been grandfathered in to this rate, in perpetuity, so the $10 discount rate for your first plot will remain the same until and unless that discount rate itself changes sometime in the future.)
  • If you are not planning on returning to the Garden this year, please email us and let us know the plot(s) you’re giving up. The sooner we know which plots are open, the sooner we can get in touch with current gardeners who wish to add a plot(s) and the better able we’ll be to offer plots to new gardeners.
  • Likewise, if you want to add a plot this year, please remember to fill out the back of the registration form letting us know how many plots you’re looking for. We will be in touch with you in the weeks after February 16th – when the preliminary 2021 Returning Gardener Registration period has ended.
  • Returning gardeners have first dibs on newly open plots through March 20th, 2021.

New Gardener Sign-Up Day – Tentative Date

Depending on COVID restrictions, our tentative date for new gardeners to sign up for a plot is Saturday, March 20th from 9:00AM – 12:00PM outside at the Parks & Recreation Department Office at JFK Middle School in Northampton.

In a few weeks, new gardeners will be able to download a 2021 New Gardener Registration form from the Noho CG website. Or they can complete a form at the March 21st event where we’ll have printed copies available.

If you know anyone who would like to rent a plot as a New Gardener this season, please tell them to watch this page as well as the City of Northampton Parks & Recreation Department’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Garden Newsletter

We publish a Garden Newsletter four times per season (March, May, July, September).

If you would like to write an article of interest to other gardeners or have original photographs or illustrations to contribute, please sent them to Betsey (noho-garden@googlegroups.com). We will include as space permits.

Pieces that are included count towards Community Service hours!

Garden Committee Meeting

We will resume in-person Garden Committee meetings as soon as we’re able to meet outside in the Spring. If you have something to discuss with the Committee you are welcome to contact us.

As always, let us know if you have questions or if there are other things we need to address.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson

for the Garden Committee


October End-of-Season Events at the Garden

Greetings from the Garden!

Just a few more days before we officially close the Garden for the year. You can still work in your plots but hoses will be gone, water turned off and the dumpster will be removed – all by the end of October.
In light of COVID-19 precautions, we have spread Garden closing events across two weekends this season rather than doing everything on one day. Last Saturday we did hay/straw and compost deliveries. And we’ll be on site to do a final work day to gather hoses and clean up the Garden this coming Saturday, October 24th.

Garden Newsletter
Here’s the October edition of the Garden Newsletter. Yes, we meant to get it out before last weekend so disregard the compost/straw delivery information! Sorry! But please read through it – you’ll find a bunch of Garden information which will be particularly useful for new gardeners. And there are also two wonderful articles by Jori Ross.

Upcoming Events
Saturday, October 24th, 10:00AM – 2:00PM Cleanup Day
Come to the Garden on Saturday, October 24th, 10:00AM – 2:00PM, to help get the garden ready for winter. If you have not fulfilled your two-hours-per-plot service requirement, this is a great time to help out!
Garden Committee members will be on hand with a list of garden chores which need to be completed.
Please remember that you need to wear your masks at the Garden while you’re working. We’ll also have plans in place to allow everyone to maintain adequate distance for other gardeners.

Sunday, October 25th – Fall Garden Inspection
Every gardener must clean up and secure their plot(s) in preparation for winter. Inspections are a simple “pass or fail”. If your plot does not meet the guidelines as outlined in the bullets below, you will receive an e-mail (or notice by mail) telling you what needs to be done. Plots which do not meet ALL of these requirements will fail.


Here’s what the inspectors will be looking for:

  1. A legible sign with plot # in place.
  2. Dead vegetable plants, vines and other non-perennial plants removed.
  3. Weeds removed and tall grasses cut back (inside plots and around the edges).
  4. Sunflowers cut back.
  5. Tools, trash, watering cans, empty bags, etc. removed
  6. Chairs, stakes, pots, tomato cages, personal hoses, plastic ground covering, bird houses, bird baths, etc. neatly stored and/or secured.

There will be a “last-chance” inspection the following weekend. If your plot fails as of that last inspection, you will be unable to complete a full registration for next season.

Water and Dumpster
The dumpster will be removed on Monday morning, October 26th.
We’re not sure of the final date for water shut-off. But it’s generally done by the end of October. We’ll send out an email as soon as we hear from the DPW.

Community Service Hours Reporting & Opportunities
If you’ve finished your CS hours, please make sure to report them to us at noho-garden@googlegroups.com so we can log them. For gardeners who still need to complete their Community Service Hours for the season, here’s a list of jobs that you can sign up for:

  • Fall Clean Up Team (10/24) – Contact Larri at llcochran@gmail.com to sign up.
  • Plot Clean Up and Branch Pruning – We have an updated list of plots that need weeds pulled, holes filled and debris removed, and a new list of areas of Asian Bittersweet vines & branches which need to be pruned & pulled. Contact Larri at llcochran@gmail.com for a plot/location.

Reminders
Garden Committee meetings have been virtual this season. Normally our meetings are on the second Wednesday of each month. As always gardeners are welcome to submit questions. If you want to talk about something, you’ll just need to let us know in advance so we can add your topic to the agenda for that meeting.

As always, please let us know if you have questions or if there are other things we need to address. noho-garden@googlegroups.com

Best,
Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfsonfor the Garden Committee


August 2020 Weed Inspection

As gardeners, we all need to be aware of the following plants which are harmful to our plots and can cause severe allergies to ourselves or our garden neighbors. It is important that we look for them in our plots and remove them.

We’ve changed the July Ragweed Inspection to a broader-focused August Weed Inspection. We’ll be looking for these weeds to be removed from your plots by the second week of August.

Photographs of Garlic Mustard, Asian Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, and Ragweed for reference
  • Garlic Mustard – A biennial plant with a garlic odor when leaves are crushed.The leaf is kidney shaped and there are small white flowers in the Spring. The plant can produce thousands of seeds which are dispersed by winds. This plant can change soil conditions which can inhibit the growth of other plants. Pull out at the base and try to remove the entire long tap root.
  • Bittersweet – A climbing woody vine.New twig growth is smooth and green. Plant grows rapidly, girdling and choking plants and bushes. Seeds are dispersed by birds. Cut vines to ground and hand pull or dig out root portions.
  • Japanese Knotweed – An extremely strong and aggressive plant. It spreads rapidly by underground rhizomes. The plant has bamboo like stems and large bright green leaves. Eliminate as much of root system as possible when removing to slow the spread. It will reoccur so continue to monitor its presence.
  • Ragweed – A plant which produces pollen in August. The pollen may cause severe respiratory duress to many people. Leaves are fern-like, and feathery green. Flowers are yellow and long streamer-like. Plants can be hand-pulled, preferably before they flower.

Do not put these plants in the compost piles when you remove them. Bag them and place in dumpster.

If you need further help in identifying these plants, please seek out a Garden Neighbor in your zone or email the garden committee at noho-garden@googlegroups.com.


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


Closing the Garden to Non-Registered Gardeners

In our ongoing efforts to keep the Garden open, create a safe environment for gardeners and minimize the number of people in the Garden in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to increased reports from gardeners about theft in their plots, we requested that we be able to close the Garden to everyone except registered gardeners. Yesterday, the City approved our request.

This means that, as of today, only registered gardeners,
their co-gardeners and immediate family members
are allowed to be in the Garden.

  • Yes, the dumpster will still be taken care of.
  • Yes, we will have straw delivered.
  • Yes, gardeners may hire people to till/help with their gardens, but they must oversee those individuals.

To help all of us enforce this new policy, we will also begin
issuing laminated Garden ID cards to all gardeners
and co-gardeners early next week.

  • Please keep your 2020 Garden ID card with you at the Garden at all times. It will be designed so you can wear it on a lanyard, keep it on your keyring or in your pocket/wallet. Laminating them will make them both sturdy and waterproof.
  • Your entire family does not need individual ID cards. Just one per family and one for your co-gardener if they’re not a family member.
  • If you are gardening as a group, like the Master Gardeners and Tree Northampton, we will issue three group ID cards – not one for each individual group member.
  • Please don’t lose your ID cards or lend them to non-gardeners – we will re-issue them only in extreme situations.
  • No, this doesn’t mean that there will be someone at the Garden checking your IDs whenever you come to the Garden.
  • However it does mean that, going forward, if you see someone you don’t know in the Garden walking around/running through/not gardening/potentially cutting someone else’s flowers or getting ready to take something else – you can remind them that the Garden is closed to outside visitors and ask to see their Garden ID card.
  • If they didn’t know the Garden was closed or don’t have a Garden ID card (so they are not a registered gardener), politely ask them to leave the Garden – even if their purpose for being in the Garden is benign.
  • If they make excuses (e.g. “visiting a friend’s garden”), or otherwise resist or refuse to leave, they will now officially be trespassing. Please call the police at 587-1100 to report the incident.

Here’s the process as we get the Garden closure in place

Today

  • We have posted the first round of laminated signs from the City Parks & Recreation Department advising visitors, runners, dog walkers, bikers and all others that the Garden is closed to everyone who does not currently have a plot at the Garden for the season. This policy will continue until further notice. (Linda, Blaise & Larri)
  • We are sending out this, all-gardener email, advising you all of this new update. (Larri, Betsey, Garden Committee)
  • We have sent out an email to the Village Hill resident groups advising them about this update to the Garden’s COVID-19 rules. (Arlene)

On Monday/Tuesday:

  • We will finish laying out and will laminate sheets of ID cards with gardeners’ names and plot #s. (Ann-Marie, Betsey & Larri)
  • We will prepare the cards (cut and hole punch) and the Rec. Dept. will begin mailing them out to gardeners. (Rec. Dept. & Larri)
  • We will add additional signs around the Garden. (Linda, Blaise, Larri)

On Tuesday:

  • Orange barricades and/or barrels will be placed at the Garden entrance closest to Village Hill, along the east road and along the back road with signs advising of the Garden’s closure. Similar barriers & signs are already in place at the other end of the Garden to close down the “not-a-dog-park.” (DPW)

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.

REMINDER – 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.

We will continue to be in touch with new information as COVID-19 regulations, which are relevant to the Garden, continue to change and unfold. We understand this is an extreme measure, but the world is in an unprecedented place right now. Once, again, our objective is to continue to work with the City and keep the Garden open for gardeners.

We’ve also begun printing/posting Garden emails on the covered tool shed bulletin board and on the Master Gardener kiosk board so everyone gets the information.

Please stay safe and let us know if you have questions.

Larri Cochran & Betsey Wolfson
for the Garden Committee


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


COVID-19 Policy Update

Notice from Northampton Parks and Recreation

The City of Northampton is monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic closely and working with public health officials to reduce its spread. The City urges residents to practice good health habits, stay home when you or a member of your household is sick, keep a safe physical distance from other people, and take other precautions to protect yourself and others from the virus.

Our Community Garden provides many residents opportunities for physical exercise and, most importantly, the ability to grow food for themselves and their families. We are reminding all gardeners to exercise caution as you begin to work in your plots to prepare for this year’s growing season.

For the time being, the Community Garden on Burts Pit Road will be allowed to remain open. But, we need your cooperation in order for the Garden to remain open this season.

Please, read carefully and follow these guidelines:

  • Through at least the month of April, please limit your time in your plots to the minimum amount of time you need to be there — but not more than two hours per day.
  • The Health Department and Parks and Recreation Department want to make sure the number of gardeners on site at any time is kept to a minimum, to keep us within Governor Baker’s guidelines.
  • Please remember that, for everyone’s safety, this is a time for physical distancing, not a time for social interactions at the Garden — even as we’re all happy to greet our Garden neighbors after a long, challenging Winter.
  • All events at the Garden, whether by gardeners or those from outside are prohibited. This means no picnics, parties or other gatherings, no bird or butterfly walks, no workshops – even if those gatherings have less than 10 people.
  • STAY HOME if you are showing any symptoms or if you’ve been in contact with someone who is sick. Even if it’s just a stuffy nose, please stay home.
  • We also encourage gardeners to STAY HOME if you are considered more vulnerable to exposure to the virus (older adults and people of any age who have known underlying medical conditions).
  • WEAR GLOVES while you are on site and gardening.
  • Everyone should WASH THEIR HANDS upon entering the garden and upon exiting. For the time being, please bring your own soap
  • WEAR A MASK at the Garden if you have one.
  • Practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • BRING YOUR OWN TOOLS. The tool shed will remain locked until further notice.

Please stay safe and remember that the virus can be passed even by people not showing symptoms.

And, please, stay home as much as possible!

From Northampton Parks and Recreation Director, Ann-Marie Moggio, and
Larri Cochran and Betsey Wolfson, for the Northampton Community Garden Committee