Backstory: Seattle’s Passion for P-Patches All Started with One Community Garden

Contrary to popular belief, the 'p' doesn’t stand for peas

By Lena Beck


September 16, 2019

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the September 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

The Landmark: Seattle’s original P-Patch

The Location: Wedgwood, 8040 25th Ave. NE
The Backstory: Spread throughout the city are approximately 90 P-Patches, community garden plots where people can rent space to exercise their green thumbs. But while shared plots are common in many dense urban areas, the term “P-Patch” was coined here. Contrary to popular belief, the “p” doesn’t stand for peas—it refers to the Picardos, a family of Italian immigrants who came to Seattle in the late 1800s and eventually had a small farm in Wedgwood. In the 1970s, when massive layoffs at Boeing left many families struggling, a neighbor of the Picardos, Darlyn Rundberg (now Del Boca), was among those who wanted to help those families. She approached the Picardos about allowing her to use some of their farmland to grow food for the community. They agreed, and Rundberg recruited people to help with her project; those volunteers were later offered small plots of land on the property to grow their own crops. The program took off, and in 1973, the Seattle City Council began the process of acquiring the property. Today, the tradition of donating produce from the gardens lives on. In 2018, P-Patch gardeners gave more than 17 tons of food to food banks and similar programs.

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Seattle Magazine Staff