P-Patch, off-season.

It may surprise you to learn that when I'm not cranking out over Metro funding or women's rights or the battle for a $15 minimum wage, you can often find me hanging out in a 100-square-foot patch of greenery and dirt—my Southeast Seattle P-Patch.

For me, the P-Patch—named not for the peas that emerge from its soil in the spring but for the Picardo family, which started the program back in the 1970s—is a haven, a place to let my mind wander, dig in the dirt, and meet my neighbors (for better and, sometimes, for worse). 

I'm a P-Patch evangelist. Especially if you live in an apartment (or an aPodment!) or have limited gardening space, P-Patches are an unbeatable way to grow your own food (and connect with your community) without making a huge financial or time commitment. In this month's Seattle Met magazine, I tell some of what I've learned in three-plus years in the garden, and offer some tips (and cautionary tales) for those interested in starting a P-Patch garden of their own. 

Here's one: 

First remember: Compromise is everything. If you’re applying for a plot in an established garden (the most likely option, although new P-Patches are coming on line all the time, including 14 in just the past three years—check Grow’s website for updates), your first step will be to choose two gardens, in order of preference. Be prepared to accept your second choice, and know that you’ll probably learn to love the “backup” alternative just as much. After waiting about a year, I ended up moving in to my third choice: a rather shaded, weed-choked plot in a garden established 15 years ago on a disused SDOT right-of-way near the Mount Baker neighborhood. 

Read the whole article here

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