Coronavirus update for community gardens
Last updated 13 May 2020
As the Coronavirus crisis dominates the national and global landscape, the Capital Growth team are supporting members projects and gardens to help you access online training and support and ensure as many of you as possible continue to grow food.
Our survey received over 100 responses. Read our news item or download our report to find out more about what community gardens are saying about the crisis.
Many of you told us you want to grow food this season and we think it's critical to keep our community gardens and allotments growing through the Covid-19 crisis, where safe to do so.
We are now helping local networks and gardens to do so - through
- online training
- a webinar to share experiences
- Take our survey on our new project and to register your interest...
Read on for
We know the health and wellbeing benefits that community food growing brings and how important our gardens are for the people that use them.
As the team at OrganicLea says “Being outdoors is good for us all and for our overall health and wellbeing. Looking after our mental health is crucial at this time and many of us find that green spaces and nature connection supports us through difficult times such as these.”
Now more than ever it is critical to keep people and gardens growing as part of longer-term resilience and we know there has been a surge of interest in growing your own. We want to make sure people are doing it well, safely – and in a nature friendly way!
We have adapted various online guidance for you to use for your local projects and gardens.
Access and travel
- Gardens should be accessible for members only rather than open to the public.
- Anyone considered medically vulnerable/ subject to government shielding advice should not visit the garden.
- Rotas should be set up where there are a lot of members to limit the numbers of visitors into a garden at any one time.
- During Covid-19 outbreak growers must travel to gardens by bike or foot. At no time should public transport be used.
- Garden leaders should publicise maximum numbers of visitors on any communications and on external signage. This should include reference to government guidance on social distancing.
Social distancing and Sanitation
- At all times social distance (minimum 2m) must be maintained between growers. Click here for guidance.
- Hand washing should be followed according to government guidance. Wash your hands when you arrive at the garden, wear gloves while working in the garden and ensure you only use your own gloves and take those home with you.
- Keep hand sanitiser available where possible and use before opening and closing any gate locks.
- Ensure any visitor to the site washes their hands before they engage in growing activities even if they are going to wear gloves.
- Growers should only use tools if wearing (own) gloves, otherwise no tools to be shared,
- Do not offer guest gloves to garden visitors or volunteers during this period.
- If children are onsite, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.
- We recommend that all communal facilities are closed. e.g tea making facilities.
- Click here for guidance if you do need to clean an area that has been visited by an infected person.
Kate Poland from the Union of Hackney Gardens has kindly shared her notices which you can adapt. One is targeted for users and the other for the wider community so they understand why you are still using the site.
- National Allotment Society response to Covid-19
- Social Farms and Gardens response to Covid-19
- Social Farms & Gardens insurance advice for community gardens and farms
- Landworker’s Alliance Coronavirus response and resources page.
With many people stuck at home we are looking to compile useful advice on growing your own food. If you come across any that you don't see on here, let us know by emailing email@example.com
- You will also find many resources on the Capital Growth website, and on the dashboard if you are a member of the network.
- Do check out Garden Organic's info for Growing advice, School resources and Grow your Own cards
- Walworth Garden in London shared this fantastic PDF of Food Growing for Beginners by Karen Hepworth.
- Vertical Veg has excellent resources for growing in small spaces and containers.
- The Orchard Project have a variety of Guides & Advice for home gardeners, including planting fruit trees in containers if you are short on space/soil.
- Compost Direct have shared this fantastic document on growing your own medieval herb garden.
- Hackney Herbal has a lot of free resources on social media/HH blog for herbs growing and nature connection and doing some online ticketed workshops for growing herbs.
- Cordwainer's Grow are offering short workshops/videos on composting, growing your own food and propagation on social media.
- Brockwell Community Greenhouses are running some remote sessions including Gardeners Question Time, Fermentation classes anda Singing Group. There are also green activities for children on their Youtube channel here.
Core Landscapes community roof garden in Hackney are offering a range of short films from their award-winning movable community garden. With gardening tips and tours round garden spaces, to boost mental health and wellbeing and support you to get the most from your growing space however small it may be. A fantastic resource!
School/at home resources for children
- Capital Growth log on to the dashboard for school resources, or you can find some activities and ideas on our website
- Garden Organic has practical advice and activities for all ages on how to start and maintain an organic food growing garden on their school resources page
- Trees for Cities has a selection of curriculum guides, lesson plans and a range of other resources to support you to teach through food growing.
- The RHS has activities, projects, lesson plans & other resources suited to your educational needs.
- The Orchard Project have some homeschooling resources available: Primary School Lesson Plans and Activities.
This is updated as frequently as we can. If you know of anywhere else that has seeds or soil available please let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tamar Organics – shop open every weekday (excluding bank holidays) between 9-10am.
- Vital Seeds – open from 9am everyday until their quota for the day is reached.
- Seed Cooperative – open sporadically but updating people on Twitter and on the website often.
- Real Seeds – only taking as many orders per week as they can but still open and delivering.
- Organic Gardening Catalogue - open but seeds being dispatched in 7-10 days, and other gardening equipment between 14-21 days.
- Rocket Gardens (plug plants) - orders placed in April likely to be delivering in mid/late May
Seed saving resources
If you can’t access any but would like to start to save your own seed look here...
- Vital seeds - excellent seed saving resources
- Real seeds - seed saving information
- Garden Organic - seed saving guidelines and Heritage Seed Library for members
- London Freedom Seed Bank
- Dalefoot Composts - Organic, peat-free sheep’s wool compost, still delivering with reduced available products.
- Fertile Fibre - Peat-free, organic, coir compost, still delivering large and small quantities.
- The Compost Shop - Organic, peat-free compost for delivery in large amounts.
- Earth Cycle - Organic composts and soil conditioners in bulk.
- Organic Gardening Catalogue have some bags available but with a 14 day delivery period.
- Compost Direct- Is delivering large quantities in bulk, perhaps to be shared among gardens if necessary.
- Organic plant boxes are available from Organiclea for specific postcodes in East London
- Blackmoor - for fantastic fruit trees and bushes
- Organic Gardening Catalogue - gardening equipment
- Rocket Gardens - plug plants
- Online plant retailers list from Gardener's World (Gardener's World, 2 April)
Join our virtual training programme
Capital Growth are bringing you new online short sessions and longer training sessions.
We have started to collect stories and information on food growing that are relevant to Coronavirus. Please check them out here and do share any you have with email@example.com
Local community garden campaigns and responses
- Incredible Edible Lambeth are about to launch a campaign to encourage neighbours to share seedlings to promote home food growing. Incredible edible will be providing resources (seeds, pots, compost etc.) to 25 households (for the pilot, which will then increase to 100). Seedlings will then be distributed among the community by Father Nature using bikes and milk floats.
From the media
- Online plant retailers list from Gardener's World (Gardener's World, 2 April)
- Some online garden centres still open during lockdown (The Independent, 13 April)
- London’s local garden centres delivering plants to your door (Time Out, 7 April)
- Gardening through lockdown, go online and support our small growers (The Guardian, 5 April)
- Fresh veg hard to come by? Grow your own microgreens (The Guardian, 4 April)
- Urban land could grow fruit and veg for 15% of the local population (University of Sheffield, 17 March)
- Michael Gove comments that allotment gardening allowed during lockdown (The Guardian, 24 March)
- Gardener’s turning to grow your own during Coronavirus crisis (ITV, 23 March)
Guidance outside the UK
- Green Thumb NYC response to outbreak (1 April, from the US)
- Handling COVID-19 at Community Gardens (From the US)
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Community Garden Management of Covid-19 (From the US)
- Interesting blog about necessity of community gardens (from Canada)
Capital Growth/Sustain take no responsibility for the content of any external websites or articles and only want to signpost growers to the places where you might find the resources you need.
We do recommend that you try to buy from your local or independent garden centres/businesses where possible, and to buy seed with minimal intervention, and peat-free soil and compost.
Official information and guidance
We advise that you check the NHS and .Gov websites regularly for accurate and up-to-date information:
- UK government response
- Guidance for employers
- Support for people affected by COVID-19
- NHS pages
- NHS Volunteer Responders
Read more about Sustain’s Coronavirus Food Alert here: https://www.sustainweb.org/coronavirus/
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