Giving Garden

Ms. Wendt's kindergarten class of Highland Congregational Church, U.C.C. are planning for their own Giving Garden plot.

From the time my mother and dad created a "Victory Garden" in our backyard in St. Louis, Mo. during the second World War, until this day in Highland, I have been an enthusiastic gardener. My friends often remark that I have "two green thumbs!" Gardening is a pleasure for me, good exercise and extra fresh and delicious foods.

People new to this beautiful, scenic, generous city of Highland, need to know about the "Giving Garden." It is high on the hill, Atlantic and Palm avenues, above the Highland Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. Tracy Powell, has coordinated this effort to carry out the mission of the project: "Our mission as Highland Giving Garden (HGG) it to grow and provide product the less fortunate and those in need, for example local food banks and and soup kitchens. Our mission is also to educate children and adults about organic gardening through workshops ad classes, as well as, to provide an area where individuals and families can grow fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs for their own use, for a small fee of $5 monthly or $50 annually."

When I visited the Highland Congregational Church, I discovered the Giving Garden up beyond the parking lot. One does not need to be a member of the church to have a garden plot. Powell and helpers have created the boxed in plots and at this there are still a very few unclaimed. I planted mine last October, and have been harvesting and enjoying beautiful kale and collard greens. Since then I've planted and transplanted carrots, corn, peppers, leeks, beets and rosemary. By June there will be peas and cucumbers, plus marigolds to enjoy. Then the corn by Fourth and July. To the east, near the fence, there are citrus trees. I hop to add an orchard to the other side of the garden plots. Time and economic constraints are such a bother for my creative energies.

Gardeners in this project are all volunteers who not only maintain their own little spaces, planing, cultivating, weeding, and enjoying, but also help to keep the seasonal care, upkeep and support of the entire garden.

There are common sense rules which help to guide all gardeners, to enhance the health and wellness of the garden community. The rule facilitate the safety, an environment gratifying to work in, which is pleasant for the gardeners, neighbors and the public to look upon. Right now, with the blessing of rains, there are pretty golden weeds surrounding the area. Of course, they will soon be cut down before throwing their seeds around.

When an applicant signs up, a driver's license or California I.D. must confirm the applicant's address. Gardeners must be at least 18 years of age, and the first name on an application is considered to be "The Primary Gardener," responsible for fees, upkeep, clean up and other duties associated with their plot. Plots are assigned on a first come, first serve basis.

There are quite a few rules spelled our in the process of joining the Giving Garden. Garden plots may not be transferred, given away, traded or sublet. The HGG Board must be informed by mail or e-mail when a plot owner gives up his or her space. At the time, the gardener must remove all plant materials, debris, etc., to clear the plot for the next gardener.

The beds are 8x12x4 and are not to be alter in any way. The gardener muss plan ahead for any large plants such as zucchini, squash or any vines. There is designated compost pile for the disposal of any green waste. Watering hosed should be coiled on the storage racks and shut off completely, of course.

This is an organic effort; organic methods not only provide heather foods but benefit birds, insects, microorganisms and people. There are therefore no chemical pesticides, fertilizers or weed killers permitted.

For more information, contact Tracy Powell at P.O. Box 135, Highland, CA 92346, Attention Tracy Powell; e-mail Highlandgivinggarden@gmail.comor phone (909) 518-5056.

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