Garden of Hope How-To Guide

The Garden of Hope is a collection of local faith communities and individuals who are passionate about providing healthy organic produce to the FPCY pantry and other pantries in our local community. This is especially important in these challenging times, when so many more families in our community are facing food insecurity.

We need all types of help from regular weeding, watering, etc. to one-time help — whatever your schedule allows. Kids are quite welcome with adult supervision.

HOW TO SIGN UP: Please visit the Genius Signup page and volunteer by choosing dates and tasks. It’s very easy. Contact Jeff Kephart at if you have questions.

WHERE: The Garden of Hope is located at 1243 White Hill Rd. If you are coming from Rte. 202 near Lowe’s and heading south on Mohansic Ave, then when you get to end of the road turn right on Whitehill Rd. After less than 0.1 miles, you will see the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the left, with a sign in Korean. Make a left into the driveway just before the sign written in Korean. If you reach the Wilkens Farm, you have overshot by about 0.1 miles.

After turning into the driveway, drive towards the stone wall. On the left, you will see an opening. The garden is there. You can park along the wall. If you are there on Saturdays during the day, just be mindful that there may be services and activities going on. The same may be true for Sunday mornings and early afternoons. The church members get first priority in parking spaces.

The garden entrance.

HOW TO GET IN: There is a gate with a chain wrapped around a post and latched by a carabiner. Just unlatch it and open the gate. We are responsible for three rows: #5, #7 and #9, which are adjacent to one another on the left side of the garden as you walk in. They are marked by small green signs labeled “Yktn Pres.” Come any time of day. For those who work during the days, mornings or evenings are great times to garden. We just ask that you remember to CLOSE the gate and re-lock it when you leave: re-loop the chain and latch the carabiner because the slide latch is warped and doesn’t keep the gate closed.

If you’d like a personal orientation tour or more detailed instructions, contact Heidi Haring at She is available many Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, some day times, and occasionally on Saturdays.

Row cover tunnels made from Rebar stakes, bent pvc pipes and netting to protect cruciferous veggies from flying pests.

WHAT’S IN OUR ROWS: This year we have grown some plants from seed: onions, lettuce and bush beans. Other plants had to be purchased. We are growing an early crop of salad greens and spinach. Also in the rows are onions, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, peppers, tomatoes and some sweet peas. There are also herbs interspersed between the vegetables to  help control insects: basil, chives, cilantro, oregano and Mexican tarragon. Marigolds serve as companion plants to tomatoes and peppers.

We are experimenting with row cover tunnels to protect cruciferous plants from the flying pests that plagued us last year.


Water pump location.

There is a red pump in the far left corner of the garden, near White Hill Rd.

Pull up the red lever all the way. You should hear the sound of water flowing. The hose is coiled on the ground in the center of the garden. It will reach all the way to the end of our rows. Just press the lever on the red spray head, and voila!

Please ensure that the hose does not crush the plants on other rows.




When watering, try to water the base of the plant, avoiding the leaves as much as possible. If you’re watering at night, this reduces the risk of mold and mildew, which can develop if the leaves stay wet overnight. If you’re watering in mid-day, water on the leaves risks damage from the hot sun. You can get away with watering the leaves only in early morning or late afternoon — but it’s not a good habit to develop.

This year, we have been asked to leave the hose nicely coiled on the ground near the Y split, as opposed to hanging it on the hooks, as reaching up so high proved difficult for some gardeners.

HOW TO WEED: Most of the weeding needs to be done between the plants and on the edges of each row. Mostly the weeds are small between the plants. There are some hoes leaning again the compost area, by the entrance gate, with other tools. You can just lightly aim for the roots of the small weeds, roughly parallel angle to the soil, and gently dig them up. You can also hand pick or use the weeding lever in the garden shed, in a bucket inside.

The netting of the row cover tunnels is weighed down by rocks on one side. To weed, you can simply remove the rocks and temporarily (and carefully) pull the netting back — please remember to replace the netting and rocks when you’re done.

Any weeds that you pull up can be piled and then put in the far right recycling cubicle. There are wheel barrows if you care to use them.

MOWING THE GRASS. This year we are trying to reduce hideouts for garden pests by mowing the grass around our rows. If you are mowing the grass, there is a lawn mower in the shed on the right side of the garden as you walk in. You will also find a can of gasoline in the shed if you need it. Please mow the 3 strips of grass that separate our rows from one another and from those of other gardeners, and cut two lawn-mower widths on either end as well. If you find that the gas can is empty, or nearly so, please fill it yourself and send the receipt to Stephanie Hare. Alternatively, you can alert Heidi or Nance and they’ll take care of it.

ADDITIONAL GARDENING TIPS: Once every two weeks or so we will be fertilizing, especially the tomatoes, with some sort of organic fertilizer. There is a special sprayer for the fertilizer that attaches to the hose, instead of the long spray head. If you are interested, ask Heidi; to show you once.

Try to walk only on the grass paths between the rows.

From time to time, when crops are ripe, we will send a message to all interested in helping to pick the veggies. Mostly this will be in August, September, and early October.

There are ticks in the garden, as everywhere this rainy season, so take precautions. Wear light colored long -sleeved clothing when possible and tuck your pants legs into your socks. DEET sprays around feet, ankles and arms are a good idea. So are hats or other head covers. Of course a shower afterwards, is essential, and a safe place outside or a plastic bag to put your clothing in to avoid bringing stray ticks into the house.

We stress again that it is important to practice physical distancing in the garden, so please bring a mask and gloves to protect yourself and others when you handle the hose, lawn mower, or another communal tools or equipment.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING: We recommend bringing some drinking water in case it is hot, and anything else you may need to observe the usual Covid-19 precautions: a mask (in case you should find others working in the garden), gloves (to handle the hose and other equipment) and any garden tools that you may need to do your task. If you bring weeding tools, make sure to label them with your name in case you accidentally leave them behind. A pair of gardening gloves is also a good idea.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: We are trying to document all of the work, the number volunteers and the pounds of food grown. There is a growing Garden coalition with area groups led by Garden of Hope manager Paul Silverman, who will be keeping track and helping to provide lists of pantries and their days of operation so that as many people as possible can get the healthy veggies. There will also be more publicity efforts in social media, print media and more. Feel free to share info about this.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If you have questions, contact our FPCY Garden of Hope leads Heidi Haring ( or Nance Thompson (