Tag Archives: Organic

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.



Safer Personal Care Products

Sustainable Belmont will again talk about Safe Personal Care Products at the Belmont High School this coming April. As part of the BHS Hallway Health program, a group of volunteers will present information on the most common chemicals of concern in these products and provide information on safer alternatives. Silent Spring Institute, among other groups, has helpful guidance for consumers. Major Endocrine Glands

Thanks go out to Nancy Forbes for spearheading this important contribution and to Marzina Bockler, Lucia Gates, Marha Cohen, Jeri Weiss and Judy Otto for their work on this event!

The concerns regarding chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates, in personal cares products range from harm to the water supply and ecological chain to hormonal disruption and subsequent non-communicable diseases related to those hormonal impacts. A Washington Post article, Are parabens and phthalates harmful in makeup and lotions?, explains the concerns.

Infographic from One Green Planet

Healthy Yards & Gardens Fair 2015

Join us for an organic yard care and gardening fair. You will have the opportunity to visit several tables full of information and staffed by local, experienced and seasoned gardeners from area organizations and our annual garden tour – all using safe, organic gardening practices. And, meet other gardeners, both new and seasoned – a great way to swap ideas and learn something new!

Saturday, March 7, 2015
2 – 4 PM
Belmont Public Library, Assembly Room

Presentations include:

  • Starting Seeds Indoors, Kathy Martin (Belmont Victory Gardens Coordinator)

    Starting seeds indoors is a way to bring a bit of spring to the last dreary weeks of winter. Kathy has grown vegetables for many years raising virtually all her plants from seed. She will describe her seed starting process covering saving and organizing seeds, making a calendar of planting and transplanting dates, pot sizes, shelves and plant lights.

  • Small Fruit Horticulture, Stephen Pinkerton (Belmont Food Collaborative’s Pomona Project)

    Growing perennial “edible ornamentals,” such as blueberries, blackberries and figs, can be challenging, especially in northern climates, but the annual reward is a fruit-laden delight. Stephen will share planting and pruning tips to give small fruit seedlings a healthy start and coax greater yields from mature plants.

  • Front Yard Gardening, Martha Cohen (Green Belmont Garden

    Want to strike a balance in your small urban yard? See how Martha integrates edibles with traditional landscaping perennials, including container planting and annuals.

  • Companion Planting, Emma Thurston (Damnation Alley Distillery)

    Gardening is second nature for Emma and her family. They grow all year round, raise chickens and use produce for their distillery. 

  • Dirt for Kids!, Kate Bowen (Sustainable Belmont)

    It all starts on the ground and at a young age – kids love dirt! Stop by to feel and learn about dirt’s parts and how you can make your own by composting at home. Information on soil testing will be available, too.

  • Late Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties, Amelia Fannin (Belmont Victory Gardens)

    Using hybrid Tomato varieties and organic growing techniques to beat Late Blight and other common tomato diseases, Amelia helps coordinate the Late Blight Resistance Project at the Rock Meadow Victory Garden. The three year old project has successfully limited the effects of late blight in the gardens by growing and distributing genetically resistant tomato seedlings, educating gardeners about organic fungicide options, and encouraging good cultivation practices.

  • Straw Bale Gardens, Sarah Keniston (Belmont Victory Gardens)

    Straw bale gardening is a great way to grow vegetables if you are short on space or have poor soil.  It even works on patios or paved drive ways.

  • Aquaponics, Jason Iler Keniston (Middle School Student!!)

    Aquaponics may well be the most eco friendly way to grow food. It uses less than 3%  of the water it takes to grow vegetable in dirt. Jason Iler Keniston will demonstrate how to grow vegetable year round with nothing more than a a few fish, some tubing and a pump.

  • Compost, Lucia Gates (Green Belmont Garden Tour)

    Lucia has been composting in her yard for decades without issues and with great success. Always well-attended on the tour, come trouble-shoot and learn how you can compost at home and avoid sending TONS of food waste to waste.

  • Topic TBA, Sandra Curro (Underwood Greenhouses)

    Just around the corner from the Underwood Pool and down the road from Wellington, the Underwood Greenhouses specialize in locally grown annuals, perennials, herbs, heirloom tomatoes and more.

  • Meadowscaping, Barbara Passero and Jean Devine (Meadowscaping for Biodiversity)

    “Garden as if life depended on it.” (Doug Tallamy, Gardening for Life) Passero will shared the work of their three-season outdoor environmental education program for youth. Using a custom-created curriculum that emphasizes experiential, inquiry-based learning, students are charged with repurposing an area of nonproductive turf grass into a meadow filled with native flowers, grasses, and shrubs. One program goal is for the students to create a productive habitat for pollinators, other insects, and wildlife such as birds; a second goal is to help the soil reclaim its natural ability to absorb carbon. Students learn why biodiversity is vital to life on earth.

Sponsored by The Belmont Food Collaborative – the parent organization of The Belmont Farmer’s Market (belmontfood.org), Sustainable Belmont (sustainablebelmont.net), and the Belmont Victory Gardens.

4th Green Belmont Garden Tour – A Success!

Thank you to all the Gardeners on the Green Belmont Garden Tour (4th Annual!!)

Another successful tour full was had on Sunday with great thanks to lead organizers Jeri Weiss, Martha Cohen and Nancy Forbes, and many volunteers including Sarah Wang, Judy Otto, Kathy Martin, Emma Thurston, Joan Teebagy, Mike Chase, Peggy Kornegger, Lucia Gates, Nikolay Koumpikav, Jessica Gotsch, Olivia Cronin and many others who helped make it a success.

Belmont Green Gardens stand out because of their unique and diverse approaches including hoop-houses, compost fanaticism, beautiful perennials, delicious annuals, a bunny tractor, chickens and more. These gardeners epitomize so many of the qualities we value in Belmont. If you missed it, you can still download the brochure: Sustainable Belmont Green Garden Tour 2014 or  follow this link to our Google Map of the Green Garden Tour 2014 (descriptions are the same). We hope to do it again next year and will surely have new perspectives and enduring favorites. THANK YOU for attending!

A final big THANK YOU to Mary Beth Calnan, Town Recycling Coordinator and all the folks at the Department of Public Works for making one Brave New Composter” available for our free raffle. image002DPW sells these for $25 (a bargain).

Congratulations Mary Baker, winner of our compost bin. We know she will enjoy it thoroughly in her new home where she is quickly making roots!

4th Green Belmont Garden Tour

Green Belmont Garden Tour (4th Annual!!), September 7th from 12-3 PM

Come visit some of the most sustainable gardens in Belmont and talk with their miracle-workers! You will find everything from hoop-houses to compost know-how; beautiful perennials to delicious annuals…and yes, a bunny tractor! Pick up some new knowledge, commiserate on the dry season and enjoy the day with us. Printed maps are available at the Beech Street Center that day (12-3) or download the brochure: Sustainable Belmont Green Garden Tour 2014. You can also follow this link to our Google Map of the Green Garden Tour 2014 (descriptions are the same).

This year we send a big THANK YOU to Mary Beth Calnan, Town Recycling Coordinator and all the folks at the Department of Public Works for making one Brave New Composter” available for our free raffle. image002DPW sells these for $25 (a bargain). Enter in-person only at Meet Belmont or at the Beech Street Center between noon and 2 p.m. Raffle will be at 3 p.m.

We are also thrilled to have our tour this year the same weekend as the Watertown Chemical-Free Garden Tour and the Cushing Square Arts Festival.

Organic Gardening Coffee Hour

or…“Beyond the Privet: How to Safely Grow & Thrive in Your Belmont Yard!”

Join us for an informal organic gardening exchange. We will hear short presentations (5-minute gold!) from experienced Belmont gardeners, then share questions & best practices on the topics of the morning:

· Pruning & care for plants – Nancy Forbes
· Healthy Soils – Judy Otto
· Basics of home composting – Mark Davis
· Pest management – Kathy Martin

Saturday, June 7
9–10:30 AM
Belmont Public Library, Assembly Room

The Belmont Food Collaborative – the parent organization of The Belmont Farmer’s Market
Sustainable Belmont
The Belmont Victory Gardens at Rock Meadow

Free and open to the public – all experience levels are welcome!

About our presenters…

Nancy Forbes is a certified landscape designer and accredited organic landscape professional. In addition to her design/build/ business, she volunteers at the Chenery Middle School organic courtyard working with the kids in growing herbs, vegetables and ornamentals.

Judy Otto has been gardening at the Belmont Victory Gardens for many years and is actively involved with improvements there, as well as an active member of Sustainable Belmont.

Mark Davis has been a Belmont Victory Gardener for over 25 years, and loves composting – because “a rind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Kathy Martin is an experienced organic gardener, author of the blog, Skippy’s Vegetable Garden, and Coordinator at the Belmont Victory Gardens.