Gardener Don

“Gardening is not something you can walk away from; don’t give up.”



Name: Don Williams

Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA

Years gardening: 69

Produce Grown: Beets, lettuce, corn, chard, turnips, onion, okra, collard greens and cabbage.

Mr. Don Williams has lived in Philadelphia his whole life. He has been living in Philadelphia since he was two years old, which is now 69 years of experience. He learned how to garden from his great-grandfather and great-grandmother. He didn’t enjoy gardening when he first started, but he grew a passion for it once he learned how.

When we asked Mr. Don why he gardens, he gave us several reasons:
1. He enjoys it.
2. Growing your own food in a garden is less expensive than buying it in a grocery store or at a farmer’s market.
3. He can also harvest his produce and share it with his friends and family.
4. Gardening has been a part of him for sixty nine years, and he can’t get away.

Mr. Don proudly says he doesn’t use any chemicals in his garden, but he uses cayenne peppers to make a solution to keep bugs and pests away. When we asked Don if the pepper spray works he said, “What do you see?”. There were no holes on the vegetables and they looked very healthy. The only bugs we saw were butterflies and Don said they help pollinate the plants, so he likes butterflies.

Don also tries to attract bees to his garden by planting sweet things., particularly stevia. The bees will also help pollinate the plants and this is another insect you want in your garden.

Mr. Don has been working at Eastwick for 40 years, and this season he is growing beets, lettuce, turnips, chard, corn, okra, cabbage, collard greens, and onions. When we asked Mr. Don about garden recipes, he said that you cook what you want to eat, but it depends on the season. Furthermore, everything that Mr. Don grows, he will eat straight out of the garden. One of his favorite recipes is corn cooked with the husk baked in a little bit of vegetable oil.



Mr. Don’s corn growing tall before it gets cooked.

Mr. Don’s Corn Recipe

Corn (still in the husks)
Butter (optional)

Step 1: Harvest the corn off the plant.
Step 2: Peel down the husk without taking it off.
Step 3: Remove the silks.
Step 4: Soak it in water for twenty minutes.
Step 5: Pat the corn dry.
Step 6: Roll the husks back up (doing this protects the kernels).
Step 7: Cook on the coals of the grill or in an oven at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes, make sure to leave it the husks, as the husks steam the corn.
Step 8: Remove the husks.
Step 9: Season according to your tastes (we recommend salt and pepper. Angel recommends barbecue sauce, and Mabintu recommends hot sauce).
Step 10: Enjoy!


Jaquanda, Angel, and Mabintu wishing Mr. Don farewell.

When we asked Mr. Don what advice he had for young gardeners, he left us kids with his well-known knowledge: “keep your grounds clean, because grass is a choker. Keep grass out” and “Gardening is not something you can walk away from; don’t give up.”

Jul 11, 2012 | Category: Eastwick Community Garden, Garden | Comments: none | Tags: , , , , ,