How to Sign Up For a P-Patch

The P-Patch Community Gardening Program, in conjunction with P-Patch Trust, a nonprofit organization, oversees 75 P-Patches distributed throughout the city, equaling approximately 23 acres, serving 4,400 gardeners. Gardeners throughout the city contributed 17,000 hours maintaining the common areas of the garden in 2010.

What is a community garden? A community garden is a space where neighbors come together to grow community and steward – plan, plant, and maintain –a piece of open space.  Community gardens are gathering places that strengthen networks through cooperative ventures; a source of pride among residents; a visible product of land stewardship and a healthier urban environment.  Traditionally, they involve individual gardening plots which community members pay an annual fee for while all shared spaces throughout the garden are cared for together.

What is a P-Patch? P-Patch is the name given to community gardens that are managed by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Community Gardening Program. The name, P-Patch, originated from its first community garden, Picardo Farm. Gardens come in many shapes, sizes, and ownerships (For more Facts about P-Patch Community Gardens: Detailed Fact Sheet)

What’s the “P” in P-Patch? Definitely a favorite P-Patch question. The history of the P-Patch Programgoes back to 1973. The ‘P’ commemorates the family who used to farm the area that became the first community garden in Seattle, the Picardo Farm P-Patch. This P-Patch was acquired from the Picardo family who ran a truck farm in the earlier part of the 1900s up in the Wedgwood neighborhood. Their farm originally included the current P-Patch area, University Prep and Dahl Playfield. When the city started up the P-Patch program in 1973, the ‘P’ was taken to commemorate the family.

For the past 37 years, P-Patch community gardeners have been

  • Growing community
  • Nurturing civic engagement
  • Practicing organic gardening techniques
  • Fostering an environmental ethic and connecting nature to peoples’ lives
  • Improving access to local, organic, and culturally appropriate food
  • Transforming the appearance and revitalizing the spirit of their neighborhoods
  • Developing self-reliance and improving nutrition through education and hands-on experience
  • Feeding the hungry
  • Preserving heirloom flowers, herbs, and vegetables
  • Budding understanding between generations and cultures through gardening and cooking

Each Garden is Unique P-Patch Community Gardens spring from the desire of neighborhoods to make connections and improve their surroundings through stewardship. All P-Patch Community Gardens are open to the public to enjoy and are used as restorative spaces, learning/idea incubators, and places to gather and visit.  The gardens also provide a way to give back to the community: gardeners contributed over 18,500 hours in 2009 (equivalent to 9 full time workers) and show their concern for the value of organic vegetables and community by supplying fresh produce to Seattle food banks and feeding programs. In 2010 alone, P-Patch gardeners donated 20,889 pounds=41,778 servings of fresh produce.

In recent years the demand for space in P-Patch community gardens has grown.  The P-Patch Community Gardening Program has taken steps to shrink the waitlists. In 2010, all gardens will be assigned a maximum square foot limit as a tool to open up more gardening space. New Gardens are being built over the next 2-3 years with community garden levy funds. In 2008, citizens passed the Parks and Green Space Levy of which $2 million has been dedicated to the development of new P-Patch community gardens.

Also, to address the broadening interest in urban agriculture (of which community gardening is a part) and increase the palette of choices available to neighborhoods when they are creating community gardens, the P-Patch Program is experimenting with different models of community gardening.  These include large tracts for food growth, collective gardens that do not have individual garden plots, and giving gardens.

To sign up for your own P-Patch Community Garden plot please visit http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ppatch/signupPpatch.htm

Happy Gardening.