— And that means it’s time for the city’s sixth annual spring cleanup.
Frankford resident Patricia Sills got her hands dirty on Saturday, and so did more than 13,000 other people who turned out for the city’s sixth annual spring cleanup.
Sills, who lives on the 5000 block of Griscom St., worked at Tackawanna and Wilmot streets, pulling weeds and planting kale, cilantro and collard greens in the raised beds that were put in during last year’s spring event.
She divided her time Saturday between gardening on Tackawanna Street and working at the Overington Park cleanup at Leiper and Orthodox streets.
These two Frankford projects were among more than 500 across the city that got some attention from volunteers who picked up trash and recyclables, painted, weeded and planted.
Among the projects in the Northeast were:
• Moss Playground, 5700 Torresdale Ave.
• Hayes Playground, 9900 President St.
• Parkwood neighborhood cleanup.
• Mayfair Memorial Playground, Rowland Avenue and Vista Street.
• Love Your Avenue Day on Torresdale Avenue in Tacony.
• Houseman Recreation Center, 5091 Summerdale Ave.
• On the 3100 blocks of Disston St. and Longshore Ave.
• Pegasus Riding Academy, 8297 Bustleton Ave.
• St. Martin of Tours, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd.
• The Greater Bustleton Civic League, whose volunteers cleaned up the area near the train trestle at Welsh Road and Grant Avenue.
Sills was among 20 volunteers who worked at the Tackawanna Street garden and a block away at Wilmot Park at Mulberry and Wilmot streets, said Kim Washington, president of the Frankford Parks Group.
Diane Kunze, president of Friends of Overington Park, said more than 60 volunteers turned out to pretty up Frankford’s largest public greenspace.
The Frankford locations have come a long way in the last four years, and they’re great examples of what can be accomplished by small groups of committed volunteers who have the patience to persevere.
Kunze said the Friends group started after she walked across the street from her house to the park and just started working. Others noticed, joined in and more people got involved. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has donated trees and a new shed. Overington is a showplace
At Wilmot, the basketball court has been refurbished and painted, and there’s new playground equipment. There are also many new plantings and a flagpole. Down the block at Tackawanna Street, trees from PHS and shrubs have been planted. There’s a new shed for tool storage, new split-rail fencing, and, of course, the vegetable beds, Washington said.
Money for these improvements came from a variety of sources, she said. Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-7th dist.) provided funds as did the Honeywell Corp. and Kaboom, the manufacturer of the playground equipment. The Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership donated a rain barrel so the parks group has a water source.
Last year, the parks group grew string beans, tomato, okra, cabbage, cucumbers, watermelon, eggplant and onions. This year, flowers also will be planted by members of a junior garden group, Washington said.
Gardening has really taken off in the past few years in Frankford, Sills said.
“It’s infectious,” said Janet Bernstein, president of the Frankford Garden Club.
“I compared the vegetables from out the supermarket to the vegetables I got out of my own garden,” Sills said. “And there is no comparison.”
“As people start to learn that,” Berstein said, vegetable gardening will pick up even more. “People are learning to cook with fresh produce more than they did before, and once they get good at it, they realize the fresher, the better… And once you grow your own and your neighbors find out how good it is, then they want to grow their own, too.” ••
Reach reporter John Loftus at 215-354-3110 or email@example.com