BREMERTON — Spring has arrived, and with it comes the blooming beauty of the Blueberry Park P-Patch Garden.
The community garden, located at 737 Sylvan Way in Bremerton, consists of 68 plots which are rented out to community members for their own use.
“It’s really cool for people who don’t have yards,” said Cynthia Engelgau of the Bremerton Parks and Recreation Department. “There’s easy access to water and sunshine right there. It might be for people in apartments or condos who’d like to garden but don’t have the space. For me, I like to be able to learn more about gardening. (Or) if you’ve run out of room at your own place. It’s a great way to get exercise too.”
Garden plots are rented out for a year, with prices ranging from $13 to $87.50, depending on the size of the plot. Bremerton residents get a discount, but anyone can rent one.
“It’s a good thing for kids to do,” Engelgau said. “If a group of youngsters wanted to do that, they just need an adult to sign them up.”
Engelgau said that there are very few restrictions on what can be grown — mostly, she said you “can’t plant fruit trees or anything that becomes permanent.” She also said plants that grow super tall and block the sun aren’t permitted — which doesn’t apply to corn or sunflowers, she said. Other than that, Engelgau said they don’t have any rules about what can and can’t be planted.
“That’s the purpose of the garden, to be able to grow different things in there,” she said.
The price of renting a plot includes free access to water for your garden and access to a toolshed for gardeners who forget or don’t have their own tools.
Another benefit to the community garden is that it really is a community, Engelgau said. Master Gardeners work with gardeners, offering classes and tips for those who need or want them. “I don’t have a green thumb,” Engelgau said. “That’s kind of why I enjoy the garden, because I don’t, but I can still see people doing it and learn a lot about it.” There are two potlucks a year, and if anyone needs help tending their patch, they’ve got that covered.
“If somebody is going on a long trip or something, we send an email around to the community, and we can all take turns watering and weeding,” Engelgau said. “They just have to let us know.”
If a plot is abandoned for whatever reason, or the gardener moves or for some reason needs to let their plot go, the community works to tend it, or the city takes over care of the garden to ensure weeds don’t spread to other plots.
“We just have the most wonderful people that are part of the P-Patch program,” Engelgau said. “It’s kind of like a community where you have neighbors, but they’re all right there.”
At the start of the new year, Engelgau said the Parks and Recreation Department contacts all the gardeners who rented plots the previous year and gives them a chance to rent their plot again.
“We’re not going to give their plot away to somebody else,” Engelgau said.
Only after the parks department is sure a plot is vacant, then the plot will be offered to somebody new. As of March 27, there were about five vacant plots. If interested, contact the Bremerton Parks and Recreation Department at 360-473-5305. Learn more about the Blueberry Park P-Patch Garden at www.ci.bremerton.wa.us/1007/Blueberry-Park-P-Patch-Garden.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.