If you don’t have room at home for a garden and you’d like to join a gardening community, one of the 70 neighborhood P-Patches may be right for you. Many of the gardens in the most highly populated areas of Seattle have waiting lists for plots, sometimes for up to 3 years. The further you get from the center of the city, the more likely you are to getting a plot.The Picardo Farm, the oldest and largest garden usually has space for new members. You can start out there, put your name on a waiting list and move to your neighborhood garden when space becomes available. Who knows, you may like Picardo so much, you might want to stay.
I decided to go to the Wedgewood neighborhood and check it out. The first thing that struck me was the soil—rich and black beyond belief. It appeared to be blanketed in dark compost–everywhere. I met a friendly gardener who assured me it is a naturally rich area and crops grow at amazing rates as compared to some other areas of the city. There wasn’t much activity this time of year but it isn’t hard to imagine what a beehive of activity it must be on a sunny weekend.
The “P” in P-Patch stands for Picardo, the name of the family who originally owned the farm. They lent the space for a community garden in 1970. At that time, Seattle economy was hurting because of the “Boeing Bust” and it was the time of the back-to-the-land movement. Today the Picardo Garden is still going strong and has some of it’s original members. The idea of community gardens has taken hold and has grown to serve more than 6000 gardeners.P-Patch community gardens cost $23 application fee and $11 for each 100sq of space gardened. You must contribute 8 hours of time to the common areas of the garden, 4 of those at your P-Patch site. We will be visiting different gardens throughout the year and will let you know what we find. In the meantime, if you think you might like to try it or if you just want some inspiration, stop by your neighborhood P-Patch.