Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Master gardener and children soon plant P-Patch

In early and mid-May, children of Spirit of Peace UCC in Sammamish will turn over the cover crop on two 4 x 16 foot plots that are in the Flatlands Community Garden in Issaquah and will plant their P-Patch for the fourth year.


Wally and Marilyn Prestbo with the Spirit of Peace UCC’s P-Patchers David Kutas, Isabella Mohn, Josh Wentzien, Mason Averill, Luke Wentzien, Mackenzie Avrill, Hanna Kutas, Alexandra Mohn and Juliana Koepping.
Photos courtesy of Wally Prestbo

The children are already asking when they will start planting. The parents appreciate watching their children be involved.

Other gardeners in the Flatlands Community Garden rent their plots, but Spirit of Peace uses the land for no charge, because they donate their produce to the Issaquah Food Bank.

Last year, Wally Prestbo, a church member and master gardner who oversees the project, said they donated 226 pounds of food.

“The garden educates the children about what happens when they put seeds in the ground and later harvest it to give to the food bank,” he said.

From the 60-member congregation, about 12 to 15 children, aged five to 15 years old, help with planting, tending and harvesting.

The garden is in downtown Issaquah nearly four miles from the Pike Lake Community Center where Spirit of Peace meets for worship. Members are from both Issaquah and Sammamish.

Pea Patch

Wally Prestbo in the P-Patch.

For 18 years, Prestbo has been a master gardener with the King County Master Gardeners. He volunteers in Bellevue at a demonstration garden where he is in charge of growing tomatoes.

He also has his own two-acre garden for his wife and him, for other family and for sharing food with the food bank. He grows vegetables, ornamental trees and berries.

Prestbo grew up on a five-acre farm in Spokane Valley, and helped his father grow tomatoes and corn. He eventually settled in Sammamish 21 years ago and eventually became involved with Spirit of Peace.

“The P-Patch is one of our missions. Because of my experience gardening, I took it on as an educational opportunity and as a mission to support the food bank,” he said.

The garden produces lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, cucumbers, kale, beans and potatoes, the last grown in a garbage can.

Prestbo teaches the children how to plant the seeds, stake tomatoes, weed and water. They go about two times a month on Sunday afternoons from May to August. When the food ripens, they go every week to harvest.

Prestbo said that the church’s garden and his own are “strictly organic.”

As a master gardener, he is aware of the detrimental effects of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

“I use just organic fertilizer and water. It’s the way we grew food in the Spokane Valley. It’s the better way to farm and grow food,” he said.

“In some cases, chemicals get into the food source and also leach into the ground water, into wells, streams and nearby lakes from people who fertilize their lawns and gardens,” he said. “There is no need for home gardeners to use chemicals used by agri-business growers.

“There is no need to use chemicals to kill insects. There are few insects in the area, and insecticides affect bees, which we absolutely need to have to pollinate fruit and crops,” he explained.

For information, call 425-391-6599 or email


Copyright © April-May 2013 Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share