As I have written about the history of Highland, describing the citrus industry, as it was in the late 1800s, I have learned that there are hidden gems in Highland that continue to add to the interesting and rich history of this city.
One of those gems is the Highland’s Giving Garden.
The garden is on Atlantic Street, on the property of the Highland Congregational Church.
Over the last three years, the plot of soil has provided sustenance, relaxation, fun and a spirit of community, to the residents of Highland.
Highland resident, and owner of Highland’s Giving Garden, Tracey Powell, in collaboration with the church, has created an area that accommodates 36 raised planters for members of the community to grow their own crops.
Since its inception, the garden has become a haven for the children and volunteers that maintain the garden and the residents that visit.
Now that summer has wilted and literally burned the remnants of the spring harvest, gardeners and Powell are anxiously awaiting the planting of a new crop that will be ready for harvest in November and December.
“Everything in August will start dying off because it’s so hot,” said Powell. “We’ll start clearing that out and start planting seeds for the cooler weather, for the fall and for the winter.
“That’s the great thing about Southern California. We can literally garden year-round.
As the cool weather starts to descend on the Inland Empire, Powell has a list of vegetables that she will plant.
“We’ll plant for carrots, beets, radishes and all of your leafy greens.”
Powell’s approach to gardening is simple.
“You just plant your fall and winter seeds, and they’ll start to grow,” said Powell. “There’s no trick to it. It’s just putting in your seeds and making sure that you water.”
Powell is not a strong proponent of using pesticides.
“When you start planting the seeds in September, you won’t see anything because the days start getting shorter,” said Powell. “The growing period will be longer for the plants. You’re not going to harvest until November or December.”
Powell has watermelon growing on a cattle panel trellis, near the center of the garden. Each watermelon is cradled in a fabric sling.
“I have the watermelons in t-shirt hammocks, so that they don’t break from the vine,” said Powell.
Powell is passionate about what she grows and how the garden has affected the preschoolers of the church’s school and the residents that enjoy the serenity of the garden.
“Sometimes, residents come to the garden and read a book in the cool morning,” said Powell.
“They’ll have their coffee, and they will sit at the table and read in the garden for a while.”
In the summer, Powell will spend only an hour or so in the garden because of the intense heat.
As the weather cools, you will find her tilling her garden for up to five hours a day.
Smiling widely, Powell said, “This is my happy place.”
Come winter, a bountiful harvest will be ready, according to Powell.
“Your leafy greens will be good to go,” said Powell. “Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are really good to grow during that time, too.”
Get ready to Fall for veggies, at the Highland’s Giving Garden.
You can find the Highland’s Giving Garden on Facebook.
You can contact Powell, at (909) 518-5056, for more information about renting a raised planter, volunteering or donating money, tools or equipment.