Growing Neighborhood Gardens

Photo of Shiga's Garden in June 2010 taken by a Shiga's gardener. Used with permission

Gardening is in my blood – my mom is a Master Gardener, and I’ve enjoyed digging around in the dirt since I was little. However, as a Seattle renter, I haven’t had much space to garden until this year when I finally got my own plot in a P-Patch Community Garden. Run by the City’s Department of Neighborhoods, the P-Patch Program (the “P” stands for Picardo Farm, the first community garden in Seattle) has enabled Seattle residents to create beautiful and inviting public spaces in their neighborhoods and grow food for themselves and the needy for over 37 years.

Photo by Abby B. Used with permission.

Shiga’s Garden, my P-Patch (pictured above), was built by a group of stalwart volunteers, myself included, on a garbage-strewn, blackberry-choked lot in the University District that had lain dormant for over 30 years. It’s named after Andy Shiga, a local entrepreneur and founder of the University District Street Fair.

You can learn more about this P-Patch and the 82 other community gardens scattered around Seattle this Saturday, October 16th from 1 to 2:30 PM at the Capitol Hill Branch where a panel of urban gardeners from around the city will be talking about the history of Seattle P-Patches and how you can get involved in the program. If you get inspired to start your own neighborhood P-Patch, come back to Capitol Hill the following Thursday, October 21st from 5:30 to 6:30 PM for an information session on Small Sparks grants, which can help you and your neighbors transform that  weedy vacant lot in your neighborhood into a beautiful community garden. Both of these events are part of the Urban Self-Reliance workshop series at the Capitol Hill Branch.

Some of the bounty from my P-Patch plot this summer. Photo by Abby B., used with permission.

Can’t make it to these workshops but want to learn more about the urban gardening movement in Seattle and beyond? Check out these books:

And if you’re in the University District, stop by Shiga’s Garden and say hello to the gardeners and enjoy the space!

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