Thistle P-Patch


Address: , Seattle, WA
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Started in the mid 1970s, the Thistle Street P-Patch had become a sorry spot by
the early 1980s. Forty garden plots, many unused and weedy, sat on some of the richest
bottomland around. The garden was rediscovered when numerous refugee families moved
from Southeast Asia to southeast Seattle. They brought with them wonderful gardening
skills, unusual tools, a willingness to work incredibly hard, and seeds! Conversations
were of, "What is that plant?" and "How do you eat it?"

A visit to Thistle is like a tour of the world. Italian tomatoes grow side by side
with oriental shizo. Midwestern row gardens adjoin widely broadcast raised beds
of greens. Koreans plant next to Vietnamese, Italians, Cambodians — all Americans,
now. Seniors garden next to moms with babies on their backs. Thistle is always a
beautiful mixture, but early spring is best time to visit, when the black soil,
freshly turned, contrasts with the succulent greens.

Thistle P-Patch has grown over the years. A 1990 grant from Puget Consumers’ Co-op
paid for materials to expand the water system and till more land. From the original
forty plots, the site is now over an acre, on which more than 125 families produce
food. From gardeners working hard to feed their families we hear, "Oh, just
a little space to grow one more row of peas," or, "My sister’s family
just came here and they really need a garden…." 2004 brought a redesign and
more space for gardening.