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Seattle’s P-Patch Program

Articles: Seattle’s P-Patch Program

It’s great fun to grow one’s own vegetables, but it’s more than fun. It’s the very soul of gardening, where it all began.
Pat Welsh, All My Edens: A Gardener’s Memoir

The desire to grow our own food—even for those of us who live in the city—is strong, as evidenced by the potted tomato plant. Like a heat-seeking sunbather, it can be seen each summer on third-floor apartment balconies, in narrow planting strips next to the street, and grouped around utility poles—any sunny spot on small urban properties where the temperature may be a few degrees higher than the norm.

But for some urban gardeners, the urge is stronger. It isn’t one tomato plant, it’s a row of them. And a stand of lettuce. And hills of squash. And pole beans reaching for the sky. Or it may be bok choy, beets, collards and turnips. We know what tastes good, and we want to grow it.

In Seattle, the drive to grow has combined with the need to keep a few empty lots in the city, not only for city-sized farming, but also to preserve green and open space within the urban island, and to build a camaraderie among citizens who might otherwise feel isolated. The Seattle P-Patch Program does all this and more. What starte...

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