POP could not continue to plant and maintain orchards throughout the city without the help of our dedicated volunteers. We asked Chris Poehlmann, who recently participated in our new orchard planting day at Penn Alexander School, to share his volunteer experience with us. Read on to learn about how his unique skillset came in handy at the work day he attended.
Did you have any experience with gardening/tree planting prior to this work day? If so, can you tell us about it?
I love having a garden and built a raised bed three tier garden off the back of our deck. I raise mainly tomatoes and herbs that I start from seed every year. My approach is one of benign neglect, minimal weeding and random watering but good soil and compost gives me great results. I’ve planted plenty of trees over the years, my wife Kate does the landscape planning and I dig the holes.
What is your favorite fruit tree or fruit, and why?
I love the fact that we can grow figs here in Philly.
Do you have any fruit trees at home? If so, which ones?
Only if you consider 6′ tall tomato plants to be trees.
What was your favorite part of the planting day you attended? Did you learn anything at this work day?
Working on the 3 benches with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop was especially gratifying. (Girl Scout Troop 9412 made three benches for PAS’s outdoor classroom). As a full time designer and builder of things, I do not often get the chance to teach or mentor. My kids have been exposed to design from the start, but it’s super cool to show others the process. We started out with a brainstorming session, distilled the ideas down to something practical and cost effective while still being good looking. Then we spent a day in my studio learning about shop work and safety. The 5 girls did all the work and created 3 benches that will be used and appreciated by countless others — hands on learning that then has a legacy.
Volunteers like Chris are a crucial component to the work POP does. If you are interested in attending a planting day, please visit our events page to sign up for an upcoming volunteer opportunity, where you can learn about planting, help your community, and connect with your neighbors!
SUPPORT US! If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia: phillyorchards.org/donate.