Elderly Man Transforms North Philly Lots Into Luscious Gardens - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Elderly Man Transforms North Philly Lots Into Luscious Gardens

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PHILADELPHIA -

An elderly man transformed some abandoned lots in his North Philadelphia neighborhood into a beautiful green space.

Summer in the inner city. Where a sidewalk substitutes for a backyard, because a patch of green is hard to come by.

"Tomatoes, sweet peppers," are not the usual words you hear. But sometimes the city surprises you.

"I use this here to scare the birds..." according to Domingo Caraballo, City Farmer. "I see them and I shake it, and they fly! Oh, they go up."

"If they eat the flowers I can't get no beans!" he adds.

Domingo Caraballo is growing several different kinds of beans, and tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelon, peaches, plums, cherries.

He even has an apple tree.

The Puerto Rican native is farming on what would have been a couple of abandoned lots, in the middle of North Philly.

According to Isabel Torres, a Neighbor, "It's amazing, right? In this neighborhood? Nobody ever touches his garden, nobody. Because everybody knows him for years."

"There's my house," says Caraballo as he points to his place of dwelling. Caraballo moved here in 1962. After he retired, he took over the lots, with the city's permission. The 81-year-old says it's kept him alive.

"The city take over of me, this, I'll die... I'll die," says Caraballo.

He works the land seven days a week.

"All by myself. My son, my daughters don't even walk in here. They eat 'em, whatever I got they eat 'em."

So do his neighbors, who otherwise might not have the money to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Caraballo doesn't charge them a cent.

"They're not used to it, you know what I mean? Fresh fresh fruits,"says Caraballo. "Fresh beans... just delicious."

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