2017 Green Belmont Garden Tour: Map

Front Yard Garden

You can do a lot with a front yard. Gone are the days of manicured lawns, English privet and the like. Design for drought and plants that give back!

Map Options

Enter for a chance at a rain barrel or compost bin at the gardens or visit or the Beech St. Center.

Thank you to Organizers: Jeri Weiss, Nancy Forbes, Martha Cohen, Lucia Gates, and Jan Kruse for their ongoing dedication in organizing the tour. Thank you to all the generous gardeners who opened their yards to our community. We always welcome new volunteers and gardeners – please contact Sustainable Belmont to volunteer.

We hope you enjoy the 7th annual Green Belmont Garden Tour – a tour of varied organic and sustainable gardens that will inspire you to create an environmentally friendly, attractive and productive outdoor space of your own. These gardens, whether big or small, all make excellent use of the available space and sustainable practices.

Shade gardens provide a great retreat. Design with leaf variety in mind to create visual interest. Photo Credit: edgeplot

Shade gardens provide a great retreat. Design with leaf variety in mind to create visual interest. Photo Credit: edgeplot

What do we mean by “organic?” Organic landscapes do not use toxic pesticides and herbicides and instead focus on building resilient, nutritious soils that support strong, healthy plants and conserve water and other resources. The goal is to create a healthy environment for homeowners, children, pets and wildlife – especially birds, butterflies and our most important pollinators, bees.

You will see many types of gardens, some focus primarily on vegetables, others on ornamentals, and many on both. There are gardens with fruit trees and berry bushes, with sun and shade environments, rain barrels, compost bins, chicken coops and beehives. Please ask your garden host questions about anything you are curious about. We hope you take home some ideas you can use!

Save Money and Reduce Trash Campaign

“It pays to be green”: Sustainable Belmont supports Pay as You Throw to reduce trash, pollution, and carbon emissions

This year, Sustainable Belmont is campaigning to reduce trash and increase recycling, lowering Belmont’s carbon emissions and saving money for the Town. This campaign supports implementing a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) bag option when the Town selects its new trash contract in 2018. This option could reduce Belmont’s trash by 25%, which lowers the town’s carbon footprint as if all homes saved 4.5% of their energy use.

Why PAYT? Our trash carries significant risks. It contributes to global warming, has harmed communities in Massachusetts (MA) and disposal options are getting fewer and more expensive. (Only 11% of MA communities have unlimited trash paid entirely with property taxes, like Belmont.) Fortunately, like 147 other MA communities, Belmont can try Pay As You Throw (PAYT) bags to help mitigate these risks. This is where households buy and use special bags sold at local retailers that cost more than ordinary garbage bags. Communities have found this provides a kind of “trash meter” that helps reduce waste significantly.

PAYT bag programs have been shown to:

  • Cut waste
  • Increase recycling
  • Reduce trash disposal costs
  • Protect the environment
  • Provide residents greater control over disposal costs

We recommend returning all bag fees to households, so it will cost the average taxpayer nothing.

How can I help with the campaign?
Attend a public meeting at Town Hall on Sept. 25, 6:00pm, and express your support for PAYT to reduce carbon emissions and save money. If you can’t attend, please consider calling (617. 993.2610) or writing to the Board of Selectmen to let them know that you support environmentally beneficial trash programs such as PAYT bags and that they should consider the environmental benefits of a PAYT bag program in the upcoming trash contract.

Email us to let us know if you can contribute to the campaign. We need volunteers to talk to friends and neighbors, create flyers, and attend Town events.

More information on PAYT:

Of all PAYT programs, bag-based programs are usually the most effective because they can work with all types of trash collection programs (including opt-out for seniors and low income residents or those with disabilities), require minimal initial investment, and encourage recycling and waste reduction. In addition, most PAYT programs report high approval rates.


In Massachusetts, there are numerous examples of successful programs using PAYT bags, including the example of Ashland, MA (a town with demographics not unlike that of Belmont). Brookline, Chicopee and Norwell have become PAYT communities in the past year.

Benefits of bag-based PAYT:

  • Little change is needed with PAYT bags, since most residents already bag their trash and patronize local retailers where they could buy bags. Administration of bag sales could be managed by a third party vendor without adding staff.
  • No expensive up-front costs to pay for heavy duty barrels and special collection equipment.
  • Over $200,000 available in state grants to Belmont for adopting PAYT bags.
  • No hassle to store or manage large barrels–residents use their own.
  • Bags come in different sizes–no need to save up to use a large bag if not needed.
  • Illegal dumping is rare with PAYT towns–early education and enforcement helps.
  • Polling data from MA towns with PAYT shows that only about 20% of resident’s dislike PAYT. Most appreciate the environmental and financial benefits and are likely to vote for a candidate that supported PAYT.
  • Don’t need long 10-year contracts to pay off barrels and automated equipment.

Environmental considerations:

  • MA passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) in 2008, which called for a 30% reduction in trash by 2020. Belmont’s just half way there.
  • PAYT bags has the biggest reduction of trash of all the options (25% confirmed by two independent sources, MA DEP and a consulting firm specializing in municipal waste).
  • 25% less trash means 4000 metric tons reduction of CO2 equivalent (equal to 4.5% of Belmont’s home energy use). This represents a significant step in achieving Belmont’s Climate Action Plan.
  • Globally, we’ve lost 50% of the Arctic’s sea ice in the past 30 years. This affects our weather and brings us closer to a dangerous tipping point, since polar ice reflects heat back into space rather than absorbing it in dark water.

Automation considerations:

  • Automation of trash collection that doesn’t result in significant reductions in waste is environmentally harmful. This is the case with 64 gal. barrels. (A Belmont household throws out an average 26 gal. weekly.) It takes longer for trash to get collected and increases truck emissions (can only do one side of the street at a time), and the manufacture of 10,000 heavy duty plastic trash barrels for each Belmont household adds more emissions and waste.
  • Automated collection with 35 gal. barrels is estimated to have 10% trash reduction, but it is still short of the target set with the GWSA.

Additional considerations:

  • Recycling hasn’t increased since the last contract was signed in 2011 (22%), in spite of more education and expanded collection efforts at DPW. This suggests that education efforts alone may not boost recycling significantly. (Arlington is 30%, Cambridge 39%)
  • Trash disposal options are getting fewer and farther away–just 7 landfills in MA and the newest incinerator is 29 years old. This puts upward pressure on disposal fees, making trash reduction an important financial strategy for Belmont’s future.
  • With the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, and the EPA eviscerated, it falls to states and towns to take action to protect the environment. In May, Belmont’s Town Meeting voted 62% in favor of moving past the 1990 override for trash, to clear the way for local action on PAYT.

7th Annual Green Belmont Garden Tour

Volunteers jump for joy for our 2016 winners of the rain barrel and compost bin raffles.

Volunteers jump for joy for our 2016 winners of the rain barrel and compost bin raffles.

Sunday, September 10
11 AM to 3 PM – rain or shine!

Gardens throughout Belmont
Pick up Map at 266 Beech St*

Sustainable Belmont is hosting its 7th Annual Green Belmont Garden tour. This free, self-guided garden tour highlights a variety of safe and healthy organic garden practices.

See how gardeners in Belmont have changed practices after last year’s drought. Learn about hearty perennial fruits, annual vegetables, and landscaping plants. See different composting methods firsthand. Talk with the gardeners about all their growing habits!

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures. Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures.
Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

This year enter a chance to win a rain barrel or composter at each garden you visit.

The more gardens you visit the better chances of winning! This raffle is an effort to help reach out to the Belmont community on issues of sustainability and to encourage healthy yards care in Belmont. If you are already on our mailing list, you may still enter the raffle and residency is not a requirement.

*Printed maps can be picked up from the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech Street on September 10, 2017 from 11 to 3 pm. Download and print or follow using Google Maps via this link on the morning of the tour (page will not be available until then as a courtesy to our participating gardeners).

Volunteer! We are *always* looking for volunteers to help with the tour. Please email Jeri Weiss at sustainablebelmont@gmail.com. Thank you!


Save

Save

Rooftop Solar in Belmont

In November 2015 the Belmont Light  Board implemented a new solar-friendly policy after years of discussion which provides a feed-in tariff for solar power that is fed back into the grid at 11 cents per kWh. This has spurred an explosion of solar installations in Belmont, mostly through the Belmont Goes Solar community campaign, which runs from January 2016 to March 2018, and has brought more than 290 new roof top solar systems into town so far.  The federal and state incentives are still very lucrative and together with the Belmont feed-in tariff makes solar systems affordable. State-level financial incentives which represent a third of the installation cost will be expiring very soon.  If you are interested in getting solar you can check out more information at BelmontGoesSolar.org, or contact Martin Plass (one of the Belmont Solar Coaches) at mplass@zeroplus.us.

Read more about Solar in Belmont:

2016 Green Garden Tour Map

Front Yard Garden

You can do a lot with a front yard. Gone are the days of manicured lawns, English privet and the like. Design for drought and produce!

Down load and print the Green Garden Tour Brochure with Map or pick up a printed copy at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. Belmont, MA.

Enter for a chance at a rain barrel or compost bin at the gardens or visit or the Beech St. Center.

You can follow along using Google Maps, too!

Thank you to Jeri Weiss, Nancy Forbes, Priscilla Cobb, Martha Cohen and Lucia Gates for their ongoing dedication in organizing the tour. Thank you to all the generous gardeners who opened their yards to our community. We welcome new volunteers and gardeners – please contact us to volunteer.

We hope you enjoy the 6th annual Green Belmont Garden Tour – a tour of varied organic and sustainable gardens that will inspire you to create an environmentally friendly, attractive and productive outdoor space of your own. These gardens, whether big or small, all make excellent use of the available space and sustainable practices.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

What do we mean by “organic?” Organic landscapes do not use toxic pesticides and herbicides and instead focus on building resilient, nutritious soils that support strong, healthy plants and conserve water and other resources. The goal is to create a healthy environment for homeowners, children, pets and wildlife – especially birds, butterflies and our most important pollinators, bees.

You will see many types of gardens, some focus primarily on vegetables, others on ornamentals, and many on both. There are gardens with fruit trees and berry bushes, with sun and shade environments, rain barrels, compost bins, chicken coops and beehives. Please ask your garden host questions about anything you are curious about. We hope you take home some ideas you can use!

Green Garden Tour is Sunday!

 

Winners of the Rain Barrel Raffle at the 3rd Green Garden Tour.

Winners of the Rain Barrel Raffle at the 3rd Green Garden Tour.

Sunday, September 11
11 AM to 3 PM – rain or shine!
Residences throughout Belmont
266 Beech St for Map*

Sustainable Belmont is hosting its 6th Green Garden tour. This free self-guided garden tour highlights a variety of safe and healthy organic garden practices. See how gardens and gardeners in Belmont have weathered the drought. You can visit gardens and meet the residents growing everything from flowers to vegetables, raising chickens and guinea pigs, composting and keeping bees!

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures. Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures.
Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

This year enter a chance to win a rain barrel or composter at each garden you visit. The more gardens you visit the better chances of winning!

*Garden tour maps can be picked up from the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech Street on September 11, 2016 from 11 to 3 pm or download your map here on the morning of the tour!

Volunteer! We are looking for two volunteers to help at the Beech St. Center. Please email Jeri Weiss at sustainablebelmont@gmail.com

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.


Save

Save

2016 Rain Barrel Time!

Belmont Residents Can Purchase Discount Rain Barrels

It’s rain barrel time in Belmont residents. Six years ago Sustainable Belmont partnered with Great American Rain Barrel to help residents conserve water and reduce flooding. To date, Sustainable Belmont has sold over 233 barrels. (Considering that each barrel holds 60 gallons of water that’s at least 13,980 gallons of water residents are diverting from Belmont’s over-burdened sewer-system each year). And, your plants will be happier to have non-chlorinated water feeding their leaves and roots!

Pictured are the green, gray and black rain barrels available for purchase through the discount program.

Great American Rain Barrel Discount Purchasing Program

Because of space requirements to store them at DPW, this discount program is offered just once yearly in the spring.

Each UV protected polyethylene rain barrel is manufactured in the USA from a recycled shipping drum and stands 39″ tall by 24″ wide and weighs 20 lbs. empty. The barrel comes complete with overflow fittings, drain plug, mesh screen for keeping out bugs and leaves, and a threaded spigot with a choice of two ports to use with either a watering can or a garden hose. The rain barrel arrives with simple instructions for fast and easy installation.

The Great American Rain Barrel comes in three colors; Forest Green, Earth Brown or Nantucket Gray and cost $75 to Belmont residents versus the retail price of $119; or $70 for an unpainted barrel.

To take advantage of this Belmont program please go to: https://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com/p-124-great-american-rain-barrel-belmont.aspx

or call (800)251-2352.

The deadline for *ordering* is Sunday, June 18th at 5:00pm.
Barrels will be available for *pick up* Saturday, June 25th from 9:00-11:00am, at the Belmont DPW on C Street.