The first large-scale rooftop community garden in the country, the UpGarden P-Patch officially opened over the weekend in Lower Queen Anne/Uptown. Located at the eastern half of the upper level of the Mercer parking garage, UpGarden is a huge project — nearly the size of six basketball courts. The city funded the project through the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy.
“At the P-Patch Program we’re always looking for creative ways to work with community members to make community gardening available in their neighborhoods,” says Laura Raymond of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “With the realization that the most open space to be found was on rooftops, we decided to pursue the idea. Seattle Center was approached and welcomed the new addition.”
Volunteers have been working on the P-Patch since late last year, bringing in tons of dirt, chips and wood to create 110 new vegetable garden plots. “Giving gardens” will be set aside to grow vegetables for local food banks and feeding programs. Future plans include a mural, beehives, bird houses, tables, benches and a community kiosk.
“I, like many, began this journey just wanting a plot for growing some vegetables. I did not realize the extent of what was required to bring a P-Patch to life in such a short time,” said Craig Moore, coordinator of the core group of volunteers. “The process has brought me closer to a group of neighbors that I now share a sense of pride and ownership in our creation.”
The garden even includes an Airstream trailer — used as a toolshed — and a 1963 Ford Galaxie that’s been converted into a planting bed. Interestingly, volunteers had to be careful to adhere to weight limits: garden plots are limited to 12” to 18” high with potting soil, lighter than top soil.
If you’re interested in getting a plot, UpGarden is beginning the first stages of allocation. Neighbors, families and teams that have invested volunteer hours will get priority. More details here.