While traveling in Seattle recently, I stumbled across a delightful community garden in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Exploring further, I found another one nearby and learned that Seattle, with a population of 756,000, has about 90 community gardens, with over 3,000 plots. It’s called the P-Patch Community Garden Program. There’s such a high demand to rent a plot that some gardens have up to a 4 year waiting list!
As I was wandering through that particular site at 9:30 p.m., a gardener was just arriving. Being close to the summer solstice, it was still fairly light. She told me that despite having no fencing in a garden surrounded by apartments, there didn’t appear to be any problem with vandalism, which surprised me, given the issues we’ve had with both LEAF gardens.
This garden was laid out in approximately 10’x10’ raised plots, made level on a rather steeply sloping site, with weather-resistant steel edging each plot. I imagined it might be a bit awkward for some people to step up about 18 inches into their plots, and gardeners had to water their plots with watering cans – perhaps not as much an issue where it rains a lot.
Around the perimeter of the garden, small planters were planted with what looked like natives and other plants, possibly to attract beneficial insects. It was lovely to see a garden open to the public and tended by volunteers – a little oasis in a densely populated city – and to learn that so many residents are sufficiently passionate about eating healthy that they’re willing to grow their own food.