- Accessible Raised Beds
- Public Art
- Giving Garden(s)
About The P-Patch
Garden Expansion Project: The Eastlake P-Patch expanded in 2009-10!
The Eastlake P-Patch is expanding! Work is currently underway to create 22 additional garden plots. We have a Department of Neighborhoods Matching Grant which we are matching with sweat equity. We hope to have new plots ready for gardening May, 2010 but need lots of help to make this happen. So far we have cleared space, added two terraced levels, created a walkway to access upper levels, installed water, built accessible raised beds, and hauled Sisyphean amounts of materials uphill.
History II: Garden With a View
The Eastlake P-Patch has a long and active history and can follow its roots all the way to the Bronx. In 1980 a young woman, Bunny Hirschmann, who had been active in a New York community garden moved to Seattle and wanted to start a community garden here. Bunny approached the City's P-Patch Program to see how she could help residents in Eastlake get into community gardening. Since there was a suitable site, the Shelby Street right-of-way, and no money to develop it, Bunny started with an ad in the Eastlake News. About ten families responded and joined in the work.
The available site was the lower, flatter Fairview side of Shelby, a street too steep to be developed as a road. On Valentine's Day 1981 those ten families started work on a most formidable looking task, clearing the site. It was covered in blackberries taller than any of the workers. As they hacked away the berry canes they found other treasures: old stoves, dead car parts, moldering carpets , etc but after a few weekends they had hauled away the junk and the site was clear and ready for the City to rototill and install a water meter. Because the site was very wet from hillside springs, all the gardeners built raised beds and Eastlake finally had its own P-Patch. There was space for eighteen families to garden and the zucchini and tomatoes flourished along with basil and oregano, a happy pairing for all.
Because the P-Patch was on a street right-of-way, permits from the Engineering Department were granted with a 30 day revocable clause as was the standard policy. In 1984 a building adjacent to the garden was to be demolished and the owner requested access to his property through the garden site. The gardeners feared they would lose their precious piece of open space. Through negotiations with the City the owner used the northern 25 feet of Shelby and the remaining 50 feet of the right-of-way was saved for gardening. Eastlake P-Patchers realized that they had a compromise to save most of the garden but it gave warning of things to come.In 1989 the MUP board for the 2901 Eastlake project caused a few hearts to skip a beat. The proposal showed a road where their garden was! The Engineering Department wanted to route all traffic from the proposed building onto 16 foot wide Fairview via all 75 feet of the Shelby right-of-way. The Eastlake Community Council and Olmsted Fairview Park Commission sprang into action to save this precious part of our community and the concept of saving the garden and creating a new neighborhood park emerged. Because of consistent diligent community involvement, and against all odds, the land for the park was finally purchased in late 1995 and we celebrated a community-wide Blackberry festival.
The landscape architecture firm Nakano/Dennis designed the park with lots of community involvement. Construction took place in winter of 1997-98 and gardeners moved into Eastlake P-Patch II that spring. Our first task, a huge one, was to make soil out of compacted clay, horsetails, rocks and construction leavings. We started the constant search for organic materials and added and added, made compost, gathered leaves, and grew cover crops.
We applied for and received a neighborhood matching grant to construct our beautiful accessible garden shed and compost bins; a trellis and benches were added. Tulips were planted for spring color, calendulas for summer, and roses in the street side display gardens. It was a popular spot with lots of visitors enjoying the seasons and learning about vegetable gardening. The waiting list grew long....
In 2009 we competed for a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant. Many people pledged their sweat to help build more garden space; neighborhood businesses contributed too. We were awarded $15,000 to match our efforts. The project morphed as we went along and we planned to add more plots than we imagined. Some additional funds became available through the Pro Parks levy. A glitch arose; permits were required and we lost four months of prime building time so we held work parties during the winter. A "snowman" made of mud balls became our mascot as we toiled to move tons of materials up hill, always up hill, never endingly uphill! The path was named Sisyphus' Way and the project was dubbed "Building Machu Piccu". The valiant troops toiled on; the gardens beds will be ready in 2010.....
The tale will be continued.....We welcome you all as the story tellers of our future.