Not sure what they’re called elsewhere, but here in Seattle the little community gardens scattered throughout the city are called “P-patches”. I’d always thought they were called “Pea-patches” which seemed to me to have some connection to, you know, produce. But no, it’s only the letter ‘P’. Never really cared why they were called that.
Until now! I was searching for information on the 1918 flu pandemic locally and through one of those wonderful Interweb serendipities (I know that’s not a word) where you spy an interesting link while looking for something else, I found a blog post detailing the origin of the term:
The “P” comes from “Picardo,” the name of the family that loaned its northeast Seattle farm for a community garden on property first leased and later bought by the city.
That article contains a couple of links to other articles describing what “P-Patches” are in more detail and also this one that goes into more detail on the Picardos. Why did this pique my interest in the first place?
Yes, that is a headstone at Calvary that I recently recorded. Had some problems with this one as well, since ‘Malfisa’ isn’t the name in the register (I think it’s
Margaret Mabel). So I keyed in on the name immediately.
But that’s not all! The name ‘Picardo’ was one I had been looking for because my neighbor had asked about it, it being her maiden name and all. Found two of them actually:
So, yes, it turns out that my neighbor is one of those Picardos. Here’s what she had to say:
The farm went 25th NE to 32nd NE and from 80th to “not quite” 82nd. There was one row of houses on the north side. They had two flat bed trucks to deliver to one chain (Big Bear Stores) and various little stores. What was left was brought to the Public Market when it was really a public market. For about 50 cents, a farmer got 6 feet on the line. I was lucky enough (OR UNLUCKY ENOUGH) to be selling there Saturdays and summers when I was 12. We had, for example, lettuce, radishes and green onions. Our cash register was a cigar box. And to really confuse a kid, sales tax went from one tax token on a dime purchase to 3 cents on the dollar. Tax tokens were 3 for a penney. There were about 90 farmers — they had to have property and grow what they sold. Most were Chinese, Filipino and Italians. No paper flowers, tee shirts, souviners, or any other tourist stuff. My father was late getting to the market—maybe 8:00 a.m. after delivering to the stores so he usually had space No. l —First and Pike. The best perk was the Bartells directlly across from No l where I could get a malted milk cheap;. If you find anyone who can tell you about tax tokens (and is still alive) I would like to meet that person.
You can see a photo and a description of the original P-Patch here.
And that’s. . . .the rest of the story.