Thursday, May 21, 2020

Windham Community Garden prepares for growing season

By Elizabeth Richards
With the weather finally turning warm, the Windham Community Garden is open to gardeners, as long as they follow some specific protocols.
Priscilla Payne, Secretary of the Windham Community Garden committee, said there are 80 beds available, and they are going quickly, with just a few left to be rented.
“We are getting off to a slow start due to the colder weather but there are green things beginning to show up,” she said. “We have a solid group of returning gardeners and some new gardeners. It seems like many more folks are looking to provide their own food during these times of Covid-19.”
Because of COVID-19, the committee has developed protocols designed to protect the safety and health of both the garden community and the community in general. These protocols were sent in a document to all gardeners and include some standard guidelines as well as some specific instructions around tool cleaning and usage.
zachary.conley@mwarep.orgThe general protocols include not coming to the garden while sick or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus; wearing a mask and maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet if other gardeners are present; bringing personal gardening tools if possible; and carrying disposable items in and out, leaving nothing behind in the garden.
While at the garden, people are expected to have the following supplies on hand: face mask, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, gloves, a trash bag, and a spray bottle containing a bleach and water mixture.
Payne said that the committee will depend on the honor system for enforcement of protocols at times.“Committee members cannot be at the garden all the time and so we are depending on the gardeners to police themselves,” she said. “The committee members will model the correct behavior.  For example, yesterday I went to the garden and there was another gardener there, so I wore my mask and we stayed more than 6 feet away.”
Gardeners using tools that belong to the Community Garden must wash and sanitize these tools both before and after use.  They are also asked to use disinfectant wipes or a bleach solution on the combination locks before and after use, on hose sprayers and faucet handles before and after use, and on the gate handle before and after entering.
With these protocols in place, the Community Garden is open and ready for gardeners – and with most beds already rented, it’s clear that gardeners are ready too.  “It looks like it’s going to be a busy year,” said Payne.
For more information or to sign up to participate, visit website  <

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