The War Gardens of WWI and WWII were started to get citizens to help fill in the supply gaps left by sending food rations oversees to feed the troops. People filled their yards with abundant gardens all over the country.
It has been reported that 40% of the food during WWII was produced in these gardens! When it became apparent the war would be won, the War Garden became known as the Victory Garden.
Sadly, the consumers of the post-war era of the ’50s and beyond, embraced more of the fast-food meals and ditched many of the gardens in favor for pre-made choices that were fast and easy. This went along with the idea of post-war suburbia where everything was modern and new. Many of the suburban yards had no space for a garden, as consumers shifted to purchasing all foods from a handful of suppliers at the local supermarket.
These days we live in the wake of corona and uncertainty overseas causing fuel price spikes, fertilizer shortages, and other predicted shortages in the canned food industry. Empty shelves are still in the supermarkets as the supply chain does whatever it does. Isn’t now the perfect time to restore the Victory Garden?
How do you start a modern victory garden? Grow what you like to eat! Eat what you grow. Grow fast and easy crops with the slower growing ones alongside so there is always something to harvest. Plant in succession every two weeks or so. Fertilize with compost and composted manures, compost teas, worm castings, or guano. Plant nitrogen fixing cover crops such as legumes like clover.
Any crop you can produce yourself is one less thing you have to drive to the market for, and it is very satisfying to say “I grew this myself!” Share your abundance with your neighbors and friends or even the local food bank.
What to grow now:
There is still a chance of frost through the end of April and possibly into the first week of May in some areas. At the end of the month start planting your warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans. Still good to go with root crops like green onions, beets, radish, carrots. It’s going to get hot fast, so I would hold off on planting lettuce, spinach, cilantro until early fall.
Happy Victory Gardening!