Guest Author - Cathy Brownfield
A friend recently mentioned victory gardens and recommended that we all should be looking at having them, considering the cost of fuel, which ripples out to affect the cost of food and everything else.
“I want the garden tilled,” Meg said to her husband.
“I don’t have a tiller,” he answered, annoying her.
“The neighbor said you can use his, didn’t he?”
“Oh. I forgot about that.”
She planted blueberry startings along with roses, peonies and rhubarb. She has plans for a whole lot more. Her plan is that she and Ted can live off of the produce through the harvest as well as sharing with their children’s families and Meg’s parents. If there is plenty, they can share with the young families on either side of them.
Traditional victory gardens would include beans, carrots, beets, peas, lettuce, radishes, endive, spinach, onions, chard, parsley, cucumbers, corn, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, leeks, cauliflower, turnips, peppers, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, to name a few. The victory gardens utilized all available space: front yards, backyards, empty lots, and any other available plots. These gardens were community and family efforts to be enjoyed and shared. The goals were to ease the food supply problems for everyone, civilian and military, and as a morale booster for the folks back home. They felt good about contributing something to the war effort in both World War I and World War II. The motto for one war year: “Plant more in ’44.” Reportedly 20 million Americans supplied 40 percent of all vegetable produce consumed in the nation that year and reduced the troops’ food costs, meaning more dollars for other military needs.
The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) in your area can help the fledgling gardener to learn more about agriculture, home economics and other related subjects. You can learn how to understand the health of your soil, how and when to plant. If you are a U.S. resident, you can find your local CES with your Internet browser by searching “cooperative extension office.” It is a program of the USDA.
Vegetable, fruit and herb gardens aren’t just cost-effective for today’s American families. Gardening is a productive way to spend time and also gives you a physical workout as well as a positive attitude adjustment. There’s just something about getting your hands in soil that alters your perspective.
Though victory gardens waned after the end of World War II, the idea is being revived as families look for ways to tighten their budgets and still be able to eat healthy.
So, how does YOUR garden grow?