Best Practices for Community Gardening During COVID-19- The Basics

1. How long can the COVID-19 virus live on surfaces?
Current research suggests the COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the actual surface material (plastics 72 hrs, stainless steel 72 hrs, cardboard 24 hrs (WebM. B. Nazario, MD June 2020).
2. Should I be concerned with food safety when it comes to produce from my garden?
3. What are proper practices for keeping my hands and surfaces sanitized?
  • Soap, alcohol and bleach are agents used to kill the virus on surfaces. Soap with water is effective for hand-washing.
  • Set up a hand washing station at the entrance/exit to the garden.
  • When washing hands with soap and water, scrub for 20 seconds (“Happy Birthday” song twice). If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect items you touch that someone else might also touch using common EPA-registered household disinfectants. If the surface is visibly dirty, wash first with soap and water.
    • Make your own disinfectant solution by mixing: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water. Leave the solution on the surface for at least 1 minute. Use paper towels and dispose of after each use.
  • It is good practice to wear gloves, however gloves do not replace proper disinfection procedures. The outside of your glove can still transmit diseases to yourself and others. If you wear gloves, wash after each use.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue that fully and tightly covers your mouth. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
4. What’s a safe distance for interaction with others?
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other gardeners (as far away as a long-handled garden tool!).
  • Bring a mask to wear when others are in the garden, especially when physical distancing is not possible.
  • When in doubt, STAY HOME. Do not come to the garden if you are experiencing symptoms, someone you’ve been in contact with is sick, or are park of a higher risk population.
5. How can I share these guidelines?
  • Communicate guidelines and recommendations regularly through a variety of methods (i.e. email, text, phone, social media).
  • Post laminated guidelines at the entrance of the garden and throughout.