We have developed a set of common sense guidelines to apply to the gardens established or managed by Mosman Community Gardeners.
Code of Conduct
- Everyone will abide by democratic decisions
- Each member will take responsibility to manage his or her own behavior so that everyone enjoys the garden.
- Children are welcome at the garden, however they must be supervised by their parents or teachers at all times.
- Personal criticism of other members does not belong in the garden.
- At meetings members will respect the right of everyone to express their own views in a congenial and constructive manner.
- Opinions on practice and procedure will be supported with well researched facts and should be presented in a non-judgmental manner.
- Representations on behalf of the Association must only be made by a nominated member of the Committee.
- Conflict between members will be promptly referred to the Committee for resolution.
- Gardeners will participate in the garden in ways that create harmony with neighbours and others enjoying adjacent public spaces.
Common Sense Safety
Our community gardens must be maintained in a condition conducive to their safe use by gardeners and to visits by non-gardeners. Garden safety is very much about common sense and thinking about what we do. Garden safety is simple.
- Tools are best stored out of the way of passers-by.
- If you are taking more than one or two tools into the garden, carry them from storage into the garden in a wheelbarrow, bucket or a basket so there is a predetermined place to put them when they are not in use and at the end of the gardening session.
- Before using a spade, garden fork, rake or other long handled tool, look to make sure there is nobody behind or beside you so that you don’t hit them with the tool.
- When you have finished using a garden tool or you put a tool aside for a moment, place it out of the way of people.
- Never lay a tool across a path or place it in long grass where it is hidden and where people could trip over it.
- Lean a garden rake or long handled tool against something when you put it aside. If you have to lay it down, place it away from where people might walk. Place it with the pointed tangs or blade on the ground, not pointing up.
- When putting a garden spade, shovel or fork aside, push it into the soil so that it remains upright and visible.
- Carry tools such as spades, garden forks and rakes in your hand rather than over the shoulder. Carried on the shoulder, it is easy to hit someone accidentally if you turn around and they are close by.
AVOID SUNBURN AND DEHYDRATION
- Wear a hat to avoid sunburn.
- If you sunburn easily, consider wearing a lightweight shirt with long sleeves as well as long trousers.
- Use a sunscreen cream to avoid sunburn.
- If in the garden for some time, remember to drink water to avoid dehydration.
CARE WITH CREATURES
- Do not try to pick up bugs, spiders and other creatures you come across. They might defend themselves by biting, stinging or scratching.
- Look before lifting buckets, watering cans, boxes and other things. Redback spiders sometimes nest in them and a bite from these venomous creatures can be dangerous.
- If gardening near bushland, do not interfere with any snakes or goannas you see in the garden.
- When lifting something heavy, bend your knees and crouch down, then lift it by straightening your legs. To avoid back injury, do not bend over to pick up something that is heavy.
- Seek help to lift and move heavy or bulky materials or objects.
- Designate an area of the garden for storing materials.
- Store materials so that they are unlikely to fall over or spill.
- Place heavier materials close to the ground and lighter materials on top of these.
- Stack and store materials neatly so that they are easily accessible and out of the way of paths and places where people walk.
- Avoid storing materials that the gardeners have no plans to use. This avoids community gardens becoming eyesores.
CARING FOR CHILDREN
- Children are welcome in the the garden, avoid planting toxic plants. Consider what might be a danger to children even if it is not dangerous to adults. Label hot-tasting plants such as chili with visual and word warnings.
- Keep a watch on young children in case they wander off-site. Parents are responsible for the care of their children in the garden.
- When planning to build structures, obtain advice on design and construction if that is unavailable among gardeners, so as the structure is sturdy and safe.
- Keep paths clear and level.
- Make garden bed edges strong so that they will not collapse.
- Avoid edging garden beds with sharp or pointed materials.
- If digging a hole, make your work visible to gardeners passing by so they do not trip in it. Mark the excavation with coloured tape or a barrier if you are leaving it for a while.
- Rodents — rats and mice —are a part of our urban environment and are seldom a direct danger to gardeners. They are a seldom seen presence in home gardens and parks.
- To stop rodents we adopt a strategy of habitat denial.
- Turn the compost weekly. As well as aerating the material and checking whether it is too dry and needing the addition of water or too wet and needing aeration, regular turning dislodges rodents that might have set up home in the bays. Frequent turning accelerates the composting process, producing usable material in a shorter time.
- Use multiple plastic compost bins provided by Mosman Council. These are more rodent-proof than open compost bays. They can be made additionally proof against rodent infiltration by placing them on a piece of finer-grade wire mesh large enough to cover the base of the compost bin, with an edge that protrudes beyond the base.
CARE WITH ORGANIC CHEMICALS
The gardens will use organic principle and gardeners will rarely need to handle chemicals. For the sake of a comprehensive policy these guidelines are included.
- The manufacture of organic controls for garden pest and plant disease management (sometimes called ‘botanic’ controls because they are derived from plants) should be done under the guidance of a gardener or adviser who has experience and is knowledgeable of the precautions to be taken in production, handling and application.
- Some organic pesticides can cause injury. When making, handing and applying chili- based insecticides such as chili spray, wear gloves and keep hands away from your face (chili in the eyes is painful).
- Avoid getting botanic sprays and other controls in your eyes or in cuts on your hands or legs. It is best to wear gloves when applying any botanic or synthetic control.
- Wash your hands after making, handling or applying organic pesticides, herbicides or other organic controls.
OTHER PROTECTIVE PRECAUTIONS
- If you suffer breathing difficulties or asthma, consider wearing a dust mask when making or turning compost or spreading mulch.
- Consider wearing gardening gloves to protect your hands and to avoid blisters from handling garden tools, and when doing garden construction, spreading compost and mulch and when removing pest insects from plants manually.
- Wear enclosed shoes to protect your feet. Do not garden in sandals.
- Ensure there is no standing water to reduce the incidence of mosquito breeding.
Our thanks to Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network for their assistance with these guidelines.