Urban Natural Homes March 6, 2013

Community Gardening: The P-Patch Program


Spring is coming! And with it–gardening season! Are you, however, a frustrated gardener living in an urban location with no place to dig your hands into the soil? Or perhaps you have gardening space, but you’re the social type who wants to share in the glory of growing Mother Nature’s bounty? Well then, community gardening might be just the ticket for you. I will be covering a number of topics related to community gardening over time, but will start with the City of Seattle’s brilliant P-Patch Program.

P-Patches are community neighborhood gardens that are managed by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Growing Program. There are 78 P-Patches distributed throughout the city ranging as far north as Bitter Lake and as far south as Rainier Beach. All totaled they equate approximately 44.5 acres and provide space for 4,400 gardeners. The “P” in P-Patch, by the way, honors the Picardo family who used to farm the land in the Wedgewood area that later became the first P-Patch in 1973.

To participate, all potential applicants need to get on a waitlist for existing gardens or interest list for gardens in development. Yearly fees include a $25 application fee and $12 for each 100sf gardened. The demand for space in P-Patch community gardens has grown significantly in recent years and a number of new gardens are going to be built over the next 2-3 years with community garden levy funds. If you are interested in starting a P-Patch in an unused space in your neighborhood contact the P-Patch program at 206-684-0264.

One last word in regards to accessing P-Patches. In walking by one of these lovely developments, one can’t help but wonder if it’s okay to go check out the fragrant flowers and budding produce. I know that I’m always tempted, but wonder if it’s only for “paying customers.” Well now I know. According to the website “P-Patches are an open space resource for all members of the community, not just for gardeners, and are places to share love of gardening, cultivate friendships, strengthen neighborhoods, increase self-reliance, provide wildlife habitat, foster environmental awareness, relieve hunger, improve nutrition, and enjoy recreational and therapeutic opportunities.” Very cool—I see a lot more strolling through neighborhood P-Patches in my future.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Growing Program