West Sound abounds in opportunities to enjoy gardens and gardening. It’s been said that the Pacific Northwest is heaven for gardeners. But what if a person has no space to garden? Not even in containers? The answer is community gardens, also known as P-patches. And, if you’d rather just enjoy visiting gardens or perhaps learning more about gardening before taking the plunge, here are some places to visit and enjoy this summer.
This year, Seattle celebrates 50 years of P-patch gardening. Many think the p in P-patch means “pea” but it’s really named after the Picardo family, who opened their land up for other gardeners to grow their own food.
The first P-patches in West Sound were on Bainbridge Island, followed by Raab Park in Poulsbo and Blueberry Park in Bremerton. Now there are many others. These “community” gardens are usually booked (leased) in February and March, but it’s great to visit them to see how things are growing and to meet the gardeners there. You might get lucky and find a spot still available to rent.
The following is a list starting on Bainbridge Island and traveling through the peninsula into Gig Harbor, with links and contact details. Patches are often leased in January and February, but ask about getting on a waiting list for next year or just in case a gardener gives up a spot this year. Note that most of these gardens want others to join them as volunteers too.
Nestled on Twin Ponds Road just off Fletcher Bay Road • firstname.lastname@example.org
Located on a century-old, historic farmland, Johnson Farm has been managed by Friends of the Farms (FOF) since 2012. Several local farmers grow produce at the site and 14 P-patch plots are available. The Bainbridge Island Fruit Club is involved in growing and maintaining orchards and small fruit growing sections. FOF is adding edible native plants to the site.
Wacky Nut Farm
10821 Wacky Nut Way • email@example.com • 206-387-0904
Wacky Nut Farm was started when the owners of a horse farm decided to create community through gardening. This community garden began in 2007 and has continued to expand and thrive each year. The horse farm had been for sale recently, but the owners have decided to add “green living” homes at the site instead.
P-patches are available for lease, as well as tours. Gardeners at the site also donate produce to Helpline. A group of volunteers called FROGS (Friends of the Gardens) volunteer there during the summer growing season. Ten trees and several types of berries yield edible fruits. Also featured are herb gardens, over 800 dahlias and a greenhouse for starting seeds and growing heat-loving plants. Stella Ley and Len Beil have been at the site since its beginnings and are the coordinators.
Rock Farm Community Garden
6207 NE Tolo Road
Anita and Phil Rockefeller opened up their property in 2008 for community gardening. Gardeners at the site donate produce to Helpline and Fishline. The garden is fenced to keep out hungry deer. An herb garden and decorative bird houses lend a homey atmosphere and charm to the site. Contact Anita Rockefeller, firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-817-0456.
P-Patch at Battle Point
11299 Arrow Point Drive NE
This is perhaps the oldest P-patch site on Bainbridge Island. It’s administered by the Bainbridge Metro Park & Recreation District. It’s completely fenced and visitors can see an abundance of methods for growing food. Contact Bainbridge Island Parks, 206-842-2306 or email@example.com.
Eagle Harbor Congregational Church
105 Winslow Way W • 206-842-4657
This smaller P-patch has been nestled on the church property for at least 20 years. Produce is also grown here for Helpline and Fishline. Classes are offered to teach gardeners how to grow their own food.
Raab Park Youth Garden and P-Patch
18349 Caldart Avenue NE • Poulsbo Parks and Rec • 360-779-9898
The Raab Park Youth Garden was started in 1997 by Washington State University Kitsap Extension Master Gardeners with abundant assistance from the Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary and community volunteers. In 2002, the P-patches were added to the site, with 10-by-10-foot, 10-by-20-foot and 4-feet-high plots available.
The Youth Garden offers summer activities for youth accompanied by an adult on Mondays from 10 a.m. until noon starting in July. It’s a great opportunity to learn about growing food and have fun at the same time. Each week offers an opportunity to make an item and learn a new skill.
Village Green P-Patch
26159 Dulay Road NE • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • 360-297-1263
The Village Green P-Patch, located on the Village Green Community Center property, is operated by volunteers and the Village Green Metropolitan Park District. The site has been renovated and P-patches became available again in March this year. Call or email for more details.
Blueberry Neighborhood and Community Garden
721 Sylvan Way, Bremerton • Bremerton Parks, 360-473-5305
The city of Bremerton purchased this site in 1979 to build a park in the future. The land was once home to 2,400 blueberry plants called White’s Blueberry Farm. It returned to its “roots,” so to speak, in 2009, when ground was broken for a 65-plot P-patch, an area for picnics and raised beds for physically challenged gardeners. WSU Extension Kitsap Master Gardeners are often on site to answer questions, and youth and family activities are Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon from July 12 through Aug. 9. An adult must be present with the youth.
Wilkinson Farm Park Community Garden
4118 Rosedale Street NW, Gig Harbor • Barbara Carr • 253-228-0538 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Carr has been at the Wilkinson Farm Park Community Garden since its beginnings in 2007. She enjoys helping others learn how to grow their own healthy food. There is a barn on site, which was added to the Washington State list of historic barns in 2008. A new greenhouse was completed in 2012. One whole section of the farm is a food production garden for the local food bank.
Hands-on classes are taught from 9 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of each month. Even though there’s often a waiting list, Carr says, “Any time is a good time to send an email — you never know, a site may be available.”
Food Production and Gleaning Gardens
Numerous groups have grown throughout the peninsula in the past decade. Some of the gardens are called gleaning gardens. The staff and volunteers at these growing sites always welcome visitors and, of course, able volunteers. It’s an excellent way to gain hands-on experience.
The following are just a few of the organizations and locations of food production gardens where most of the produce is donated to local food banks.
Kitsap Conservation District GRACE Garden
kitsapcd.org • 10332 Central Valley Road, Poulsbo • Diane Fish • email@example.com • 360-620-8101 or 360-204-5529×110
GRACE stands for Gardening for Restoration and Conservation Education. This site includes produce gardens and a greenhouse. Diane Fish is also a farmer when she’s not out in the field helping others grow healthy produce or helping others learn about agriculture.
She provided the following information on food growing gardens throughout the county:
- Peaceful Morning Farm on Bainbridge Island — John Chang works with Bainbridge School District and has summer interns – 206-755-9400
- Kingston Fire House Garden — Bob Ratcliff, 206.459.2173
- Kingston Giving Garden — Kathy Curry, firstname.lastname@example.org — growing food for Sharenet
- Paula Strid is the contact for the garden on Clear Creek across from Pheasant Fields Farm where produce is grown by volunteers for Fishline, email@example.com
- Poulsbo Fire House Garden — various community volunteers have coordinated this garden through the years — inquire during daytime hours at the fire house
- Howe Farm — 1901 Long Lake Road SE, Port Orchard — Kitsap Harvest has a food production area at this site
Kitsap Harvest WSU Extension Kitsap County
Norm Dicks Government Center • 345 6th Street Suite 550, Bremerton • Paisley Gallagher • firstname.lastname@example.org • 360-228-7302 • extension.wsu.edu/kitsap/kitsapharvest
This program includes gleaning, “Grow-a-Row” and donation stations where gardeners with extra produce and farmers can donate excess produce. Donations are collected at Bremerton Farmers Market on Thursdays and Port Orchard Farmers Market on Saturdays during the markets’ open season. Visit the website for more details and to find out how to get involved.
Organic Gardening Classes
Last but not least, the WSU Kitsap Master Gardeners provide classes on growing food on topics such as soil, growing various veggies and fruit, beneficial pollinators, harvesting the food and a host of other useful food-growing techniques. Classes are quite affordable, worth every penny and include course materials for future reference. In 2023, classes were offered in the evening via Zoom, with each class available for a period of time afterward. Participants can sign up for one class or all of them. Contact email@example.com.
Two Gardens to Visit
The WSU Kitsap Extension Master Gardeners plant, maintain and coordinate the Anna Smith Garden and the Heritage Garden in Central Kitsap. They’re great places to visit. Find Master Gardeners at Anna Smith on Wednesday mornings and at the Heritage Garden on Tuesday mornings. Especially make sure to check these gardens out during August, when they’re abundantly growing. During the Kitsap County Fair, Master Gardeners are on site each day to answer questions at the Heritage Garden.
Find links to these two gardens at extension.wsu.edu/kitsap/gardening/learning-gardens.