Did you know that some of your neighbors grow food in a free community garden? If you’d like to join them, here’s what you need to know.
About Seattle P-Patch community garden program
The name P-Patch comes from the program’s first community garden, which started in 1973 at Picardo Farm in north Seattle. So, the ‘P’ in P-Patch stands for a big thank you to the Picardo family.
Today, there are P-Patch community gardens found in nearly every neighborhood throughout Seattle. P-Patches come in many shapes, sizes, and ownerships.
Currently, the program oversees nearly 90 P-Patches distributed throughout the city. Community gardeners grow food on 14.9 acres of the land. In addition, P-Patch gardeners take care of another 18.8 acres as public spaces, for a total of 32 acres. Mama Mia that a lot of acres!
For more information, visit the website for the city of Seattle P-Patch Community Gardening Program.
How to sign up for a P-Patch
With the huge and growing interest in gardening and urban agriculture, all p-patches have a waiting list. So, get on the interest list as soon as possible. Here’s are the basic steps to sign up for a P-Patch:
- Step 1: Learn About the Interest List. Since all P-Patches have a wait time, you will want to become familiar with How the P-Patch Interest List Works. Please note that P-Patches are available to Seattle residents only (limited exceptions may apply).
- Step 2: Identify Your Preferred Gardens. You are allowed to be on two garden interest lists at a time. It’s best to choose P-Patches close to where you live in order to enhance community building opportunities and allow you to visit the garden often.
- Step 3: Sign Up. Either complete the web form to sign up for your chosen gardens’ interest lists or call 206-684-0264, press 1, and provide your name, address, zip code, phone, email, and top two garden choices in order of preference.
- Step 4: Wait for an opening. Plot openings typically occur between January and June. When a plot is available, you will be contacted by a member of the P-Patch team.
For more information, to find a P-Patch waiting list or renew your interest in a current P-Patch, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/p-patch-community-gardening/how-to-sign-up.
While you wait for a spot in a P-Patch, some of the following websites may help get you gardening sooner:
Office of Sustainability & Environment-Food lists activities related to area food system: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/food.htm.
Urban Farm Hub is a website where you can sty up-to-date with urban agriculture in the Puget Sound region, pick up ideas for homesteading projects, and connect with local gardening and farming programs: http://www.urbanfarmhub.org.
Solid Ground – Lettuce Link has a garden where anyone can volunteer for two hours and receive a free bag of vegetables. No need to sign up ahead of time – just check their calendar for work party dates and times, and tell them you want your volunteer time to count toward Work Trade: https://www.solid-ground.org/get-help/food-resources/#gardenresources.
Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW) is Seattle’s largest urban farm. Community members of all ages participate in restoring the natural wetlands habitat that runs down the middle of the farm, and working in the garden spaces. More info or to volunteer: http://www.seattletilth.org/about/rainier-beach-urban-farm-wetlands.
City Fruit promotes the cultivation and sharing of urban fruit that often goes unused, by helping tree owners grow healthy fruit, providing assistance in harvesting and preserving fruit, and sharing excess fruit with the community: https://www.cityfruit.org/.
UW Farm is a 1.5 acre, student-powered, urban vegetable market garden located on three sites at the University of Washington’s Seattle Campus that contribute the produce to area food banks and pantries. All are welcome to stop by and visit the Farm or volunteer during Volunteer Hours: https://botanicgardens.uw.edu/center-for-urban-horticulture/gardens/uw-farm/volunteer/.