Steps for Garden Coordinators and Gardeners

Best Practices

  • Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or who has come in contact with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to the gardens. Ask anyone displaying symptoms to leave.
  • Postpone any events to avoid people gatherings in close contact. Maintain a 6-foot social distance between people.
  • Masks do not protect the wearer from getting the virus; however, they are helpful when worn by sick people to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Consider bringing your own tools from home and not sharing tools.


Cleaning and Disinfection

Gardens should encourage all people to bring hand sanitizer and request that everyone clean their hands before entering the garden and upon exiting.

  • Surfaces.
    • Disinfect surfaces on a regular basis, including: reusable bins and buckets, shared tools, railings, doorknobs, tables, locks, gate latches, water spigots, hoses  etc.
    • Use non-porous plastic tables that can be easily disinfected whenever possible.
  • Tools:
    • Clean and disinfect when possible. Wash and rinse tools prior to sanitizing to remove organic matter on the surface that would reduce the benefit of sanitizers. Provide a tub of soapy water (a biodegradable soap should be just fine here) and a separate to tub to rinse tools before tools are sanitized.
  • Disinfectants:
    • Use onlyapproved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms the disinfectant product is approved and safe for use in Canada.

Although they do not claim to kill viruses such as COVID-19, cleaners can play a role in helping limit the transfer of microorganisms. For high-touch surfaces such as door handles, toys and phones, Health Canada recommends cleaning these often with either:

  • regular household cleaners or
  • diluted bleach prepared in accordance with the instructions on the label, or in a ratio of 1 teaspoon (5 mL) per cup (250 mL) OR 4 teaspoons (20 mL) per litre (1000mL). This assumes bleach is 5 % sodium hypochlorite, to give a 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite solution.


The Good News

  • COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness. It is extremely unlikely that someone will catch it through eating. The virus is most likely to cause illness through respiratory transmission, not eating. The routes of exposure to be concerned about include:
  • Being in very close proximity to other people, or
  • Coming in contact with high touch surfaces (​gate latches, padlocks, spigots, tool handles, doorknobs, banisters, etc.).
  • Touching your eyes, nose or mouth.


Plan Ahead

Be prepared for the possibility that there may be limited access to the garden or gardeners may be sick at critical times in the future.

  • Mulch now to prevent weeds and reduce soil moisture loss
  • Use row covers for insect control when feasible.
  • Stay ahead of seasonal tasks


Stay Engaged

The garden is the social center for many gardeners. Social Distance need not lead to social isolation. Stay in touch even when you can’t gather in person. Use a website, web conferencing (, Discord, Google Hangouts), list serves, social media, and newsletters to foster a connection by sharing:

  • Stories and Profiles of gardeners
  • Tips and Strategies shared by gardeners
  • Recipes
  • Photos of home gardens and gardens from previous years
  • If you would like to share your talents and skills through online webinars on gardening topics, contact Richard at 204-729-2257 to discuss details and how the City may assist.