Gardens grow, and a little community garden in Frankford grew a bit on July 31.
A trio of Frankford Junior Gardeners were helped by adults as they built new beds for some late summer-planting at Tackawanna and Meadow streets. The work force grew, too, as neighbors stopped by to pitch in.
“We doubled the size of the garden,” said Charlene Lewis Walker, assistant coordinator of the newly formed Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Council. Greens and garlic will be planted in the new beds, she said.
Already growing in beds built in the spring are peppers, onions, tomatoes and tiny melons that right now are a long way from picking.
The garden is part of a small neighborhood park that just a couple years ago was an unused lot — and looked it. It was filled with litter and high weeds. After a few seasons of work, the “pocket park” has new fencing, benches, a rain barrel, several new trees, shrubs and the raised garden beds that were added to last week.
The park’s new look required some time as well as effort.
The weeds and the refuse were targeted as part of successive annual cleanups in 2010 and ’11, and Frankford Parks Group members tended to the property. They also have been improving nearby Wilmot Park and Hedge Street playground. The first two raised vegetable beds were built in April. As the growing season progressed, the NAC brought together some neighborhood teens, the “Junior Gardeners,” to help out.
Wayne McCoy, 14, a Frankford High School freshman, joined Avery Walker, 15, a New Foundations Charter School sophomore, and cousin Yvonne Walker, 16, a Frankford High sophomore, to work alongside Frankford Parks Group president Kimberly Washington; Avery’s mom, Charlene; Philadelphia Assistant Managing Director Manny Citron; and Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez (D-7th dist.)
Young Frankford residents Ameerah Bond and Patrice Black saw the work going on last week and joined in, as did Nafisah Lewis, owner of the Iqraa Café on the 4600 block of Frankford Ave., said Washington and Charlene Lewis Walker.
Besides building the new beds, they weeded and cultivated, and talked about how they wished the melons would hurry up and grow.
Citron, who is a neighborhood coordinator for the city’s PhillyRising program, brought a rain barrel, garden hose, spigot, three cultivators and a dozen small hand tools along with wood and soil for the new beds.
The $320 all of that cost, he said, was provided by PhillyRising as a grant to the community.
The Tackawanna Street property became listed as a “community garden” this year, Citron said, after Washington and Dawkins worked with PhillyRising to get the use OK’d by the city, which owns the lot.
“This is the type of collaborative effort that PhillyRising thrives on,” Citron said. “We try to encourage this in every neighborhood.”
Community gardening is being encouraged on the other side of Frankford Avenue, too.
PhillyRising, which puts people and city agencies together to work on neighborhood projects, also is doing that with the By Faith Alone church on Oxford Avenue to get keep a community garden going at Penn Street and Oxford.
In 2010, the Rev. Gabriel Wang-Herrera’s small congregation, housed a few doors down from the garden, got involved with neighbors who were tending a garden on the site. A Bell Atlantic building had been on that property, but it was leveled in a 1995 natural gas explosion. ••EndFragment