Northeast Times

Junior gardeners harvest at Palmer Playground

  • Green thumbs: About 40 kids participated in a junior gardening program at Palmer Playground this summer. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Green thumbs: About 40 kids participated in a junior gardening program at Palmer Playground this summer.

  • Green thumbs: About 40 kids participated in a junior gardening program at Palmer Playground this summer.

The ju­ni­or garden­ers/farm­ers at Palmer Play­ground are har­vest­ing the flowers and ve­g­gies they’ve been nur­tur­ing all sea­son.

Just not all of them. There’s a fair-sized pump­kin they have in one of their four beds at the Comly Road fa­cil­ity, said vo­lun­teer Ed McLaugh­lin, that the kids are go­ing to let alone for a while. They want to see how big it will get.

Mean­while, the gourds, zukes, pep­pers, to­ma­toes, green beans, car­rots, Swiss chard, flowers and oth­er ele­ments of sum­mer’s bounty are head­ing for the homes of the kids who grew them.

A pro­gram that teaches chil­dren about garden­ing and its be­ne­fits runs all year, McLaugh­lin said, but the kids who grew some of the biggest Swiss chard you’ve ever seen were part of a 10-week sum­mer camp pro­gram at the play­ground.

Kaja Manuel, an urb­an garden edu­cat­or for the Parks and Re­cre­ation De­part­ment, said about 40 kids are in­volved at Palmer. Oth­er rec cen­ters are con­duct­ing garden­ing pro­grams for young­sters, too, she said. 

Parks and Rec’s “Ju­ni­or Farm­ers” pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment’s web­site, teaches chil­dren ages 2-12 years old the be­ne­fits of grow­ing their own food and re­wards of tend­ing to the nat­ur­al en­vir­on­ment. The pro­gram shows kids how to build small gar­dens that in­clude small orch­ards and pol­lin­at­or gar­dens.

McLaugh­lin said a black lo­cust tree was planted at Palmer, 3035 Comly Road, a couple of years ago. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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