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New growing season dawns at Raab Park P-Patch

POULSBO — Pulling up mounds of scarlet clover from her Raab Park P-Patch plot, site coordinator Judy Morgan reflected on the community garden’s beginnings.

Where there was once dead soil, now there is rich, dark planting medium. Where there was once only plots scratched into the earth, now there is a fence and a community gazebo. And where once there was only a few gardeners, there is now a whole community.

“We’re feeling very good. We hardly had anyone the first year,” Morgan said of going into the third P-Patch season. “Every year, it’s grown. Every year, we have new gardeners and the gardeners try new things.”

The Kitsap Community Garden Foundation program began its summer planting season Saturday with a work party. And though the season has started, gardeners and would-be gardeners are still being sought to rent plots at the community gardening space.

The all-organic growing community has about 11 10-by-10-foot plots ($25/year or two for $35), as well as two 10-by-20-foot plots ($35/year) still available.

“We want to emphasize to people that you can get two 10-by-10s for the same price as a 10-by-20,” site coordinator Deb Fleming commented. “The 10-by-20s seem to be the most popular, but with two 10-by-10s you actually get more growing space.”

Morgan said that many of the P-Patch’s participants either live in homes without garden spaces, such as apartments or condos, or have inadequate sunlight to have a garden at home. Hal Faulkner was beginning his first season at the P-Patch Saturday and said he was among the latter.

“And I just became a master gardener this year and I had some free time, so I decided to try a P-Patch up here,” he commented between pulling up the cover crop that had grown in his 10-by-10-foot plot over the winter.

Besides community work parties, the P-Patch also hosts a number of gardening workshops throughout the season. The free sessions are open to the general public, although community members are reminded that P-Patches are for looking and not picking.

This summer’s programs include:

•2 p.m. May 8, gardening expert Chris Smith talking on tomatoes

•1 p.m. June 12, cost-effective watering

•1 p.m. July 10, Nick Penovich, The Lawn Jockey, speaking on fertilizers and compost teas

•1 p.m. Aug. 14, Fay Linger speaking on fall and winter crops

Besides the chance for a place to grow something of their own, P-Patch gardeners are also known for helping others. Both previous seasons, growers were encouraged to “plant a row” for Poulsbo’s Fishline Food Bank. That means that those with extra fruits and veggies were asked to share the bounty with those less fortunate.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the “plant a row” idea among community P-Patches across the nation. In honor of that, Barb Vidal is coordinating an effort to keep track of how much food is donated this year. She’s also spearheading one 10-by-20-foot plot that will be planted specifically for Fishline with the help of all of the p-patch kids.

Vidal will be making regular trips to Fishline with all of the produce from the special plot and from any other gardeners . She will also keep a running tally of the total donations.

“People have donated a lot of food the last two years but we’ve never had a coordinated effort before,” she commented.

Sidebox:

For more information on the Raab Park P-Patch, or to rent a plot, call Poulsbo Parks and Recreation at (360) 779-9898

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