by Emily Mandaville

While Washington is known for ample rain and rich soil, gardening in the city can pose some challenges, unless you know where to look. 

All it takes is a little digging (get it?) and some creativity to get started with your urban gardening project. The Sustainable Capitol Hill Tool Library and other organizations provide helpful resources and support to get your project rolling without a big financial investment.

Seattle is home to a variety of resources for gardening successfully. You’ll find great yard and garden stores, classes and workshops, a Seed Lending Library, and a comprehensive assortment of gardening tools right here at the Tool Library (yard and garden is one of our biggest sections!). 

Depending on your goals, there are a variety of options for gardening in the city. You can rent a plot in a community garden, grow in your backyard, or even do some small-scale gardening in your apartment. 

One of Seattle’s great gardening resources is The P-Patch Community Gardening Program, described on their website as “community-managed open spaces throughout Seattle where gardeners use small plots of land to grow organic food, flowers, and herbs.” Founded in 1973, you can now find 91 locations across the city, covering almost 34 acres! Explore the map here.

P-Patch gardens are very popular, meaning there is a waitlist to get yourself a plot. If you are interested, consider signing up now to get your name on the list. Go to their website for more information on how to get started.

Another option in the city is to start small-scale gardening in your apartment. Growing indoors in small spaces has limitations, but also offers perks of gardening in a controlled environment, such as fewer pests and no threat of freezes! If you are a beginner, consider an herb garden for your windowsill or kitchen counter. This article can help you decide if an indoor gardening project is a good fit for you. 

If you are lucky enough to have your own yard to start a garden, Seattle is a great place to do so. To help you out, here are a few of our other favorite resources: 

Nature of your Neighborhood & Capitol Hill Seed Library 

Our tool library hosts a seed library – an archive of seeds shared by, and with, our community. Gardeners can “check out” seeds for free from the library to plant in your garden. Then after harvest, bring seeds back to the library for others to enjoy in future growing seasons. Stop by anytime we’re open for free seeds!

Nature of your Neighborhood is a collaborative project led by the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict and Seattle Audubon with support from members of the Seattle Bird Conservation Partnership. It aims to improve access to and between green spaces while improving habitat quality for birds, insect pollinators, and other wildlife — and offers many more resources focused on Capitol Hill.

The King County Seed Lending Library

The King County Seed Lending Library network also offers members the opportunity to borrow seeds for their gardens. To access the Seed Lending Library, visit the Phinney Ridge, West Seattle, or Shoreline Tool Libraries. This resource is a great option for helping to overcome any financial barriers surrounding the upfront costs of a garden. 

Tool Lending Services
This article wouldn’t be complete without a little plug for the comprehensive selection of gardening equipment we have available at the Sustainable Capitol Hill Tool Library (and at others across the county!). The inventory at our location offers almost 200 yard and garden items for check-out, from rakes and shovels to a berry picker! We are thrilled to be another resource in the city that makes gardening accessible for as many people as possible. 

Seattle Garden Stores

If you are ready to purchase your own supplies and equipment, Seattle has no shortage of garden stores where you can do so. Some local small businesses across the city include Swansons Nursery in Crown Hill, Sky Nursery in North Seattle, Ravenna Gardens, and West Seattle Nursery and Garden Center. Supporting local businesses helps to continue enriching and strengthening the garden community in our city.

Still not sure where to start? 

If you are looking for a little more guidance, many classes are available in the area, often at little to no cost to you. Explore The Garden Hotline and Tilth Alliance to find a class that interests you. Additionally, you can find ample resources online about native plants in Washington and what grows best across the four seasons.

We hope this guide gives you the push you need to start the gardening project you’ve been dreaming about. Thanks to the city’s rich resources and supportive community, urban gardening in Seattle is both a rewarding and accessible endeavor. From renting a plot in one of the many P-Patch gardens to starting a small-scale project in your apartment, there are numerous ways to embrace gardening regardless of your living situation. With a bit of creativity, you can cultivate a green thumb and enjoy the many benefits of urban gardening.