Victory gardens were very common in the WW I, WWII and the Great Depression era. They were actually called “gardens for victory.” They came in every size and every shape. You would find them in both urban and rural areas. During those tough economic times, it was a time to live off the land to provide for our families, neighbors and soldiers and it was how you put food on the table. People recycled and reused everything. Your parents or grandparents probably have many stories to share about those difficult times. During our current economic crisis, this again is a way to put food on our tables. You will save money, fight global warming, eat healthy food, teach your children important lessons and even get some exercise!
Personally, I love to garden. My family has always had large gardens and as a little girl, I used to sell the vegetables I had grown in our garden. I wish I could say I did something great with the money but I would spend most of it on candy at the local hardware store. Because this was such an important part of my childhood, I love seeing my boys learn how the vegetables grow. They are such good little helpers and I am finding that our garden is keeping them active and outside away from the television. Our family garden has become addictive!
Hopefully, I will have a ton of fresh vegetables for my family and friends. What I don’t immediately use I can and use through the winter. My parents canned a ton of food from our gardens but I haven’t yet attempted canning so it should be an experience. I might have to fly my mom in for a tutorial. The point is, you can do this! Start small the first year and then see what you can handle the next year. I planted tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers last year. This year I have corn, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, peppers, strawberries, squash and broccoli. I will blog later in the summer and let you know how everything turns out. Unfortunately, something has been eating my cucumber plants. I am still in a learning curve and I just look at it as a bit of an experiment. There are some serious gardeners in the neighborhood who I will be asking to start a garden club and I may be able to score some serious tips from them.
Even if you don’t have a large yard, you can still have a garden. You can try growing tomatoes out of containers/pots or strawberries in pots or hanging baskets. I have a raised garden that I used last year. We built another this weekend. 3×8 is usually a good size if you have the room. I started most from seed. I bought these seed starter kits from Lowe’s. They have little pellets of soil, you add water, it expands and then you sow the seed. Next the seeds need to germinate. You keep them indoors in a dark warm place until they germinate. You can also buy established plants, which I did for the broccoli and some tomatoes. Renfro’s Hardware in Matthews has a great selection. Lowe’s, Home Depot and I think Wal-Mart, has the Bonnie Plants that you can plant as is (the container will biodegrade). You just need to gently peel off the bottom layer and then plant it. Your kids will love helping. Assign them different tasks and then add to their responsibilities. My boys love to help water all the plants and seedlings. It would not be a post from me unless I reminded you to try to use organic methods in feeding and fertilizing your plants.
As far as the raised gardens are concerned, we used untreated pine. It was the less expensive way to go, but it will eventually rot and need to be replaced. Cedar is the best way to go but much more expensive. If this is not a project you want to tackle on your own, then contact Don Rosenberg at Instant Organic Garden. Don also has a book that will help with all your organic gardening needs. It’s called “No Green Thumb Required, Organic Family Gardening Made Easy.” He will come out and discuss your family’s needs. Then he builds the raised bed and plants the vegetables for you.
No matter which way you do it, large or small, I think you will be thrilled with the outcome! If this is not feasible this year, remember to support your local farmer’s markets!
Check out this site www.revivevictorygarden.org for more information.
Please share any smarty gardening tips or stories!
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We have had a garden in the back for years, the only problem is by mid summer it is producing so much that we cant eat it all and the time it takes to take care of it gets to be too much to handle. This year we scaled things down, doing pots on the deck with tomatos, squash and herbs, plus a blueberry bush. Will see how it works and figure it will be easier to be able to go out on the deck and harvest than have to go to the back of the yard where I sometimes forget about things.
I think I am going to have my husband make me a raised box to plant some of my favorite herbs and veggies. My entire family are big gardener’s. I had been for awhile, but since moving here, for awhile everything I had put in the ground, died. So I gave up! I think the raised box with some organic soil along with a handful of my favorites will maybe bring the passion back….I will keep you posted.Teri P.