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Have you heard of the term victory garden?
They are increasing in popularity as of late and I think a lot of it has to do with feeling like we have beaten the odds over something huge these past two years.
I’m a lookn at you 2020.
With people feeling tired and ready for fresh hope a victory garden is certainly a way to do that.
While I am going to share some ways to make a victory garden fun and uplift your spirit I don’t want you to put this huge pressure on yourself to make it feel like it has to be a certain size, grow a certain amount of food, or anything else you have stuck in your mind.
The whole goal of a victory garden was to uplift the spirits of the people of America and show that even in hard times life is good. While still producing food and being useful.
This post is a bit about the history of victory gardens and how you can start oen of your own.
History Of Victory Gardens
Victory gardens were part of the war effort during World War I and World War II. First known as the War Garden Movement, victory gardens began in 1917 when Charles Lathop Pack began the War Garden Commission.
This commission provided education and encouragement for the US to begin planting, harvesting, and preserving food to offset the demand for fresh food in America. This allowed more food to be sent to Europe to support the allies, many of whom were farmers forced to leave their land and their work to serve in the war.
After World War I the habit of private gardening remained common for many communities and when World War II began victory gardening was encouraged again when food rationing became necessary in 1942. US families were encouraged to use all available spaces, including schools, vacant lots, parks, and their backyards to “sow the seeds of victory.”
At this time, 15 million families were said to have participated in the patriotic war effort, producing what would be the equivalent of 40% of today’s produce during the war.
Victory gardens did more than supply food for American families and make it possible for allies to have produce during wartime. Victory gardens boosted morale and gave families something tangible and valuable to contribute during a time of great sacrifice.
Benefits Of A Victory Garden
Not only are you recognizing history by cultivating your own victory gardens today. You are making good use of space and growing, harvesting, and preserving food helps with self-sustainability and can help friends and family save on their food budgets too.
Being generous with your bounty can build relationships and bring communities together.
Gardening goes beyond the provision of growing fresh foods. Gardening teaches important skills like patience, diligence, and how to be part of a community. These are excellent skillsets for all ages.
In the same way, teaching someone to fish is far more beneficial to them than just giving them a fish.
Learning to garden and grow food is far better than relying on the store. Maybe you don’t “have to” grow your own food not but you have the ability to if the need arises.
How To Start A Victory Garden
Are you ready to start your victory garden and bring more joy into your life. I am all about not letting your life burn you out and bringing more joy into it. This is a perfect way to make a garden a more happy activity for everyone.
Choose The Spirit Of Your Victory Garden
Are you celebrating beating the odds, bringing up morale, or showing your patriotism by bringing a part of history back to life?
Like anything in life, you should have a purpose and a why for doing the things you do. No one can get behind something “just because” so if you are hoping to get the whole family involved choosing you why is a huge step to get it done.
Find Your Victory Garden Space
Are you going to till up a spot in the backyard? Or are you going to buy a raised garden bed and fill it to the brim? Even a few pots on your balcony will do.
Here are some quick tips to think about when you are choosing your space.
How Much Sun Does That Location Get?
Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of full sun in order to be able to grow well and produce… well, produce. They might grow big and thick if they don’t enough sun but you probably won’t get any fruit.
Now, this could be all kinds but I am mainly thinking of critters that could get into the garden and tare it up. Chickens, wild rabbits, dogs deciding to take a leak on your plants… anything can happen. None of my gardens are in the backyard where all of our critters are. Just don’t even try it. you will lose your mind.
Taking those things into consideration find a space that is out of the way so it wont get disturbed on a regular basis. Don’t overdo it with the size because you don’t want to get a month in and realize how much weeding is involved with a garden in the ground.
If you are considering a container garden make sure to check out this course from my friend who is great at teaching people what plants like and how to grow a vegetable garden in containers.
Container Garden Spaces
- Window Boxes
- Hanking Baskets
- Pots on the porch
- Over the railing pots
- Raised garden beds
Choose What To Plant
Honestly choose the things your family loves and will eat. More than anything else.
Pre-started plants are going to be WAY easier especially if this is your first year. Yes you will get way more for your buck if you start with seeds but you will also have a lot more work ahead of you.
Heirloom Vs. Hybrid Varieties
Also, when you buy seeds, you will notice that their are both “heirloom” and “hybrid” varieties. Heirlooms are the classic “old-fashioned” varieties which are rich in flavor. A favorite heirloom tomato is “Cherokee Purple” which is meaty and full of rich flavor. The hybrids are bred to resist certain diseases or tolerate drought or ripen earlier. Feel free to experiment to discover the varieties that work for you.
Finding The Right Source For Seeds
If you know you want to start some or all of your plants from seeds here is what I would recommend.
Cheaper isn’t always best. When I am in the garden center looking at those thousands of seed packet shelves I like to find the mid-range seeds. They aren’t over the top but they aren’t the bottom of the pit either.
If you know you are going to do this every year and you want to order your seed packet from a seed company here are a few I would recommend.
Fun Decorations For A Victory Garden
You don’t have to stop at plants when it comes to starting a victory garden. What makes your heart happy. Find those things and add them to the garden.
Scarecrows, American flags, or anything that you can decorate the victory garden space with that shows what you are celebrating.
I am a red white and blue-blooded American and nothing gives me more pride in a good way than a good speaker blasting of Seve Greens’ “I’m Proud To Be An American”. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.
With that said here are some decor and activity ideas you can do while working on your garden to lighten the mood.
Victory Garden Essentials
If you have a garden out away from the house it can be hard to see at night and honestly a bit scary. BUT going out into the garden at night is a great way to relax and enjoy the evening with family.
Typically victory gardens tend to be vegetable or a food garden but I think you can also add some life to it by planting a few flowers around the corners or hanging them on the fences nearby.
Adding a garden in your backyard is a simple and rewarding way to honor the tradition of victory gardening from the past.
Planting food, sharing your bounty and supporting yourself and others is a noble and generous activities to do whether there is conflict in the world or not.
But regardless of all that I don’t want you to start something out of fear of food supply issues or thinking that commercial crops are going to be non-existent.
Humanity is strong and you can conquer anything this crazy world throws at you. IF you keep your head on your shoulders, look at the problem and find a way to work through it. Simple as that.