Riding on the wings of a food/farm movement that is sweeping the country, organic gardens are popping up in backyards everywhere this spring, including the White House. Interest in sharing the experience through community gardening is also growing, as we saw in the large turnout at a Sustainable Bainbridge meeting on the topic in early March. With p-patches filled at Battle Point Park and Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, people have been talking about how and where to expand local community gardens, and in just two months, there has been considerable progress.
City-owned Johnson Farm, managed by the Trust for Working Landscapes, has opened up 14 new community garden plots and all were spoken for gardeners who attended the March meeting. The new garden space has been plowed and new beds are being constructed. Deer fence has been erected and last week, children planted Marshall strawberries, a variety which was once widely grown and well-loved on Bainbridge. Thanks to the energy and efforts of TWL members and other volunteers, the community garden at Johnson Farm looks like a prime location for participation, enhanced by the Harvest Fair celebration in the fall. Johnson Farm is just west of Fletcher Bay Road near the Island Center Road turnoff. If you're interested in future p-patches at Johnson Farm, contact Christy Carr at
An energetic group of volunteers and residents at Island Terrace Apartments have plans in the works for adding community garden beds at the north end of the property, located at Ferncliff and High School Road. More than a dozen people living in low-income housing units at Island Terrace have expressed interest in growing some of their own food, and some already have started veggies in their apartments in anticipation of gardening this spring and summer. Designs have been drawn up for four wheelchair-accessible beds, mounded beds, and a children's garden adjacent to the play area. A work party is scheduled for Saturday, May 9 -- if you'd like to contribute to this project, cash, supply and labor are all welcome. Kudos to Debbi Lester, Althea Paulson, and Renee Levesque, manager of Island Terrace, and especially the residents, for energizing this project. Contact
for more information.
Christy Carr and Debbi Lester have been in preliminary talks with the Bainbridge Park Department discussing additional possible park sites for community gardens, including Gideon Park in Winslow. More info on these sites as it becomes available. If you're interested in being involved in developing a park site, contact Debbi or Christy at the emails above.
In addition to public sites, many private property owners are willing to offer space to gardeners looking for p-patches. Connecting people with common interests in local neighborhoods is one of the challenges in any community garden program, and to that end, Seattle's Amy Pennington has put together an ingenious website at www.urbangardenshare.org. The site is organized by neighborhood and invites anyone with a garden site, or an interest in sharing resources, to post information and contact info. We've contact Amy to see if she might consider adding Bainbridge to her listings, and we'll let you know if that option develops. In the meantime, check out the website for inspiration.
If you're looking for garden space on private property, or someone to join forces with in your neighborhood, here are some contacts we've assembled. Please call or email the person listed to get particulars. As spring unfolds, conditions can change.
- Liz Gadbois of Bottom's Up Farm is inviting community gardeners to farm on her historic Manzanita property. P-patches will be kid-friendly and reserved on a first-come, first-reserve basis. Bottom's Up Farm is located at 13398 Manzanita Road NE, contact Liz at (206) 819-3618 to reserve a space. Fields opened for planting April 15.
- Frog Rock Lavender Farm has space available at 14414 Madison Ave.N. Contact Sheila and Greg Kent, 842-8761.
- Kathy Morse has space available at 6208 Old Mill Road, contact her at 842-2545.
- The Lytle Road-End community garden project contact is Chuck Estin, 842-4280.
- Amy Aspell has gardening space near Rolling Bay, contact her at 780-5825.
- Hilary Franz is interested in community gardening, contact her at
- Elizabeth Dequine has "shovel-ready" garden sites at her property just south of Johnson Farm and would love to establish a community garden, call her at 842-5181.
- Karen Burke is interested in researching gardening at Eagledale Park, contact her at r
- Whacky Nut Farm is establishing a community garden in the Hall's Hill area, contact Len Beil at
- Hyla Middle School on Bucklin Hill Road has a community garden area, for info contact the school at 842-5988.
If you know of additional community garden space available, or would like to team up to establish a garden in a particular area, post information, including your phone or email, using the Comment feature below, and/or start a conversation in our Community Forum.
Photos: (top and middle) New Johnson Farm pea patch beds; (bottom) Island Terrace Apartmennt residents and volunteers help plan new community garden on the grounds. Photos by Debbi Lester.