Bradner History

Park History

Bradner Gardens Park exists today as the result of the vision of a group of determined citizens.

In 1971, the City of Seattle purchased land for the 1.6 acre park with $71,000 of Forward Thrust funds. It was one of 19  parcels purchased around the city for neighborhood parks. Bradner was not immediately developed into a park. Instead the land was leased to the Seattle School District for the John Muir Middle School Annex until 1975. From 1975 to 1993, buildings on the site served the Central Youth and Family Service.

The Seattle P-Patch Program established a community garden on the site in 1987 to provide gardening space for Mien immigrants from Laos. Neighborhood residents from the diverse Mt. Baker community joined them in gardening. Basketball hoops, built when the school occupied the site, and the p-patch provided an ad hoc community gathering place.

With the completion of I-90 through the neighborhood, long-vacant land suddenly became desirable for development, especially housing. In 1994, community residents of the South Atlantic Community Association (SASCA) became aware of a City plan to build housing on the Bradner site instead of the park for which it was purchased in 1971.

Groundbreaking 1998

Community residents applied for and received a Small and Simple Grant of $4500 to hire a landscape architect to develop a concept plan. Barker Landscape Architects and SASCA hosted two design charettes for neighbors and users of the site to brainstorm ideas for what the park should look like. They developed the concept plan in 1995 that included demonstration gardens, a basketball court, pavilion, entry arbors, play area and accessible gravel paths.

This plan was met with skepticism and a two-year battle with city hall ensued. Unable to convince the mayor to preserve this open space for a park, several citizens drafted an initiative that became Initiative #42 ­ Protect Our Parks. It stated that land that was owned by the City for park use could not be sold, traded or used for non-park use unless it was replaced with like kind in the same neighborhood. Initiative #42 became a City of Seattle ordinance #118477 in 1997. It saved Bradner from non-park development and has helped other neighborhoods around the city fight unnecessary encroachments to parkland.

Friends of Bradner Gardens Park applied to public agencies for grants to build the park. Construction began in 1998. The last stage of construction, renovation of the utility building, was completed in 2003. It was a Pro-Park Levy project with assistance from the Friends of Bradner Gardens Park. The building provides an ADA restroom, garden tool storage and a small meeting space, and serves as a model for sustainable design and building practices.

The horticultural design and stewardship of the park was originally provided by a coalition of the P-patch Program, Seattle Tilth, the WSU King County Master Gardener Program, the Washington Native Plant Society, and many individuals and families in the Mount Baker neighborhood.  While the makeup of the coalition has changed over the years, the Friends of Bradner Gardens Park would like to salute the founding organizations and people who built this park.  An astounding 40,000 hours of volunteer labor went into the realization of this uniquely beautiful oasis in the city of Seattle.

Free Rhubarb Starts!

Message frhubarbrom Brian Q:
In connection with Dale giving away some lettuce starts, I have 1-2 great Rhubarb plants I am offering to a good home.  I have had the plants for several years and split the crowns a couple of times too.  They are both red Rhubarb and right now the leaves are just starting to come up from below the dirt.
My plot is directly west of the southern compost area.  Please email me directly if you would like one and we can arrange a time to meet.
Check your email from to get in contact with Brian.

Garden Updates

Soil Temperature
The weather is warming up but the ground is only about 50 degrees.  Bill Alves, one of our gardeners is recording the temperature and posting it on a sheet in the breezeway.  At 50 degrees, the best things to plant are greens, beets, peas.  Hold off on the warmer crops.

Optimum Weeding
Give yourself a gift of a prosperous garden and carefree days this summer by weeding your plot and adjacent paths now.  The soil is soft from the rains and the weeds come out easily.  If you haven’t been to check out your plot, check it for weeds that are ready to go to seed such as Shotweed (it shots the seeds as you try to pull it out).  Stash the weeds in a  pile in your plot until the compost barrels are set out in the compost stations.

We have organic fertilizer in the green plastic bins on the bottom shelf next to the sign in sheet table.  Use the fertilizer in the row where you plant seeds or in the planting hole for starts.

Bradner Plant Sale
Don’t forget to support Bradner by shopping at our plant sale on May 24.  Neighbor Sally, our grower will have heirloom tomatoes, squashes, herbs, basils etc.  Proceeds from our sale purchase tools, garden supplies and summer concerts in the park.  You don’t have to baby those tomatoes if you wait for our sale.  More later on working at the sale.

Leaf Mold
We have a pile of leaf mold south of the basketball court.  I suggest using it as a mulch after your plants are up and growing.  The soil still needs to warm up.  The mulch is like a blanket that holds in the moisture from watering when it gets hot later in the season.

Burlap Bags
If you used burlap bags to winterize your plot, please stack them on the concrete wall that is south of the brush pile on the south side of the basketball court.  That way they can be used again next fall. Don’t waste them in your paths and don’t throw them away.  Cardboard works better as a weed barrier in the paths.

Name your garden task!

Spring has sprung, and the garden is getting busier.
In addition to monthly garden-wide work parties there are many tasks around the garden you can volunteer for on your own time that can earn volunteer hours towards the required 8 for the year.
Many p-patchgardners have still not registered for a task or a team – we need your help to keep the garden running smoothly!
Please contact anyone on the leads team listed here if you have any questions on ways you can help. Here are a few things you can sign up for if you are interested:
  • Food Bank – harvest and weighing produce on Saturday before 10 AM, and delivery to the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Delivery also on Weds AM. Contact Joyce M
  • Ornamental Border – take part in this year’s renovation projects, pruning, stewarding any areas, weeding, and especially watering specific areas of need over the summer – Contact Kate F
  • City Fruit – general care of fruit trees, and in particular, water stewards for the summer. Contact Matt M
  • Compost – Sign up with a buddy or two to turn the compost once a week for a month: learn the benefits and science of composting as you volunteer – Contact Jim D
  • Childrens’ Garden – weeding, harvesting, spot watering and general care in the summer months especially – Contact Kate F, or Megan D

Bradner Plant Sale, Sunday May 24th!

plant sale Don’t forget our Bradner Plant Sale is coming up on Sunday May 24! You can buy your tomatoes and other warm weather crops, such as squash, peppers, basil and cucumbers.

Drop by anytime from 10 AM to 3 PM.
Bradner Gardens Park – 29th Ave. S & S Grand St.
For sale:
  • Heirloom tomatoes, vegetables & herbs grown by Neighbor Sally and Ruthy’s Hobby
  • Tomatoes:
  • Beefsteak, Oregon Spring, Roma, Lemon Boy,Sub Arctic
  • Manitoba, Fahrenheit Blue, Stupice, Tigarella, Stiped Roman, Illini Star,
  • Japanese Black Trifele, D’Jeana Lees Golden Girl, Topaz, Prinicpe Borghese, German Red Strawberry,
  • Persimmon, Black Krim, Jaune Flamme, Belii Naliv, Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, Cherokee Purple,
  • Moonglow, Violet Jasper, Golden Nugget, Sweetie, Sungold, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Snow White, Isis Candy,
  • Bicolor Cherry and more
  • 3 kinds of cucumbers, Zuchettas, Ronde de Nice, kale, broccoli, tomatillos, pumpkins, leeks, and parsley
Great prices / Ready to plant!
Also –  Fruit trees, shrubs and perennials from City Fruit
Enjoy Liz’s tasty pastries, coffee and tea while you shop!


hoseWe need everybody’s help in maintaining our hoses to make them last.


  • Please coil the hose without kinks on the ground.  Refrain from draping the hose over the hose bib since the sun can weaken the part that is on the apex.
  • Also, to avoid forgetting to turn off the water, release the valve on the hose fan.

Water is precious and  the most expensive part of the p-patch program.

In the past, kids have discovered a hose that was left on, played with the water and did not turn it off… it can leave some serious erosion in paths or worse.

RED Volunteer Hours Tracking Binder

red binder sideThe RED binder for tracking your volunteer hours is finally ready to use!
Each plot holder has a page listed in alphabetical order; If two people share a plot, it will be under one of the names.  For those who were already writing down their hours on the old page, I transferred those hours.
Please remember to write your hours down on the clipboard (goes to Park Department) and RED binder (goes to P-Patch Program).
Please note:  you must complete 4 hours by the end of June.  Best to get your hours in early in the season; we can use the help!
Just email the board at if you need help getting setup with a task to earn your hours.