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Bellingham Community Garden Has 40 Plots for Rent

Apr 30, 2021 02:37PM ● By Pamela Johnson

Pick your plot! Manager Tony DeCoste stands in front of the freshly-plowed Bellingham Community Garden.

written by Dave Dunbar, Contributing Writer

There are many kinds of plots. Perhaps the main story line in a book comes to mind, or a secret plan for doing evil, or a graphic representation like a chart, or a small area of ground for planting.

It’s this last one that we want to focus on. The Bellingham Community Garden at 200 Center Street has 40 of them. For a donation of $75, you can have one for the growing season: a 10-by-20-foot plot that is ready for you to plant.

The main story line for the Community Garden over the past two years has been something of a thriller. Started in early 2019, it was a joint effort of the Hockomock YMCA and the town of Bellingham. By the end of the year, the YMCA had pulled out. And then came the pandemic in 2020, so no gardening at all last year. 

Enter Tony DeCoste. He lives in a Bellingham condominium with his wife, Jeanne. He loves growing vegetables, but there was no place for a garden at the condo. He reserved a plot at the Community Garden in 2019, “so I could have a garden,” he said. DeCoste continued, “But the YMCA was withdrawing, and I began thinking that this was my opportunity to help.”

He is now the volunteer manager of the entire garden and can help you acquire a plot of your own. “People who have signed up are very excited; they are prepping their plots and getting ready to plant.”

There are about 20 plots still available. The growing season continues to November 1. Gardening hours are from dawn to dusk, subject to change. 

There are tools in the shed for everyone to use. You can also bring your own, but if you store them in the shed, anyone may use them. All tools need to be returned to the shed after use.

Garden hoses are available to all. Watering is done by hand, and hoses are to be coiled back up after use. DeCoste is not sure how a future town water ban might change things. 

Community garden members are expected to care for their plot throughout the growing season. This includes weeding, harvesting, and pest/disease control. Tending plots must occur at least once per week. If a plot has not been tended, or appears abandoned, for a period of two weeks, it will be reassigned.

There is additional guidance in three pages of information and policies that you will receive once you decide to sign up.

And there’s a section entitled “Garden Etiquette.” “Be respectful of your neighbor’s gardening experience,” reads one line. “No shouting or playing loud music.” Children are welcome; pets are not. “If you have a concern or issue with a gardening neighbor, please address it with him/her in a neighborly manner.”

Two local companies have already stepped up to help. Scally’s Tree Service has donated mulch, and Harris & Company Landscape Design and Construction has donated compost.

DeCoste created a Facebook group that you might like to visit:

For more information, you can email [email protected]

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