Planting the Seeds for Sharing

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Seattle has many talented and would-be gardeners.  The local food movement has grown rapidly. It is not unusual to find flourishing gardens in planting strips, on the roofs of restaurants, apartments and even on garages.

Nearly 7,000 people are tending a plot at one of Seattle’s 89 P-Patch gardens.  Over 1,000 more people are on the P-Patch waiting list.  The wait-time can be very long in some neighborhoods.

My neighbor Bonnie and I have a solution for people who want to garden but don’t have a yard.  And a solution for people who have a yard but don’t have time to care for the yard or garden.

Personally, I love to garden and have a yard that is great for gardening but, I do not have the time to care for it.  Bonnie lives in an apartment next door, but didn’t have much yard for a garden.

One day, Bonnie was working in the planting strip and I was in my yard looking in dismay at all of the weeds.  Then, it occurred to me that she might like to plant a garden in my yard.  I asked her and she said she would!

Bonnie 1The next year saw a transforming of a patch of weeds into a nice garden.  Two years later, the garden has expanded with corn, sunflowers, string beans and tomatoes everywhere.  Bonnie and her husband Greg are very busy.

Here is what Bonnie has written about this experience:   “Condo or apartment living is fine, but if you’re a gardener, you miss the dirt. Two years ago you offered me a plot of weedy ground to create a garden, and I couldn’t be happier. I have been enjoying the fruits of my labor, and so have my friends and neighbors.”

Her advice for others?  “If you have an unused part of your yard, ask a neighbor or friend if they would like to cultivate it and see what grows,” she said.

Today, more of my yard is wonderfully cultivated and productive, and best of all we have a stronger bond among neighbors.

Others in Seattle are working together to make a productive use of their yards.  If you want to learn more about how to start yard sharing, Urban Garden Share might be a good place to start.  Or, don’t be shy or too proud, just pop over next door and ring the bell!