Victory Gardens were a popular thing back in the early 1940s. Some referred to them as 'war gardens' while others called them 'food gardens for defense'. In 1943 due to the rationing of canned goods for families, these gardens produced up to 41 percent of all the vegetable produce consumed across the nation.
Several years ago, churches in my area started victory-type gardens to provide fresh produce to food pantries. Not only did this provide a healthier option for folks that were in need of food compared to high sodium canned vegetables, it also renewed an interest in backyard gardening in our suburban area.
Today victory-type gardens are becoming popular once again but with a different goal. Today, self-reliance has become a motivating factor behind home gardening. When you grow your own food you increase the ability to control how it is grown, what you pay and how much will be available. With the hint of spring in the air, now is the time to begin garden planning, planting designs and preparation. Here are some simple ideas to help you plan a victory-type garden for your family.
Pick Your Space - There are a variety of steps necessary when beginning to plan a garden but none as important as deciding where to plant. If you have an available sunny patch in your back yard, you have the perfect spot to start your edible victory-type garden. If you don't, you can still have a garden by using window boxes, rooftop containers, or hanging pots.
Decide What to Grow - Some vegetables are easier to grow than others are just as your family prefers one type to another. Finding a way to merge the easiest vegetables to grow with those that are your families favorites is the best way to find victory with your garden. As you begin planning, look back over your weekly menus or favorite recipes to find out if green beans or carrots would make more sense or if bell peppers are of greater need compared to radishes. By planting easy to grow vegetables that your family likes and will eat will allow your results to be worth the efforts of your labor.
Think Outside the Garden Patch - If traditional gardening isn't for you, perhaps your yard is like mine and it could use some additional landscaping instead. Edible landscaping is an easy new approach to victory-type gardening that adds beauty as well as functionality to your landscape. If you are in need of some ground covering, consider low bush blueberries, Alpine strawberries, creeping thyme, or chamomile. Do you need some new trees? Depending on what part of the country you live in, you might consider an apple, pear, and olive or English walnut tree. If flowers are what you have in mind, consider edible flowers such as chives, clover or rosemary. A variety of berries such as blackberries, bush cherries, and high bush blueberries help provide privacy plantings if you are looking for something more hedge like.
The Bottom Line
As you begin to think about possible victory-type garden planting you might do this year, here are the key things to keep in mind.
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