Victory Gardens, also known as ’War Gardens’ or ’Food Gardens For Defense’ during World War I and II, were homegrown gardens of vegetables, fruits, and herbs which were planted at private residences and public parks in many places across the world.
In wartime, governments encouraged people to plant victory gardens not only to supplement their rations but also to boost morale. During the victory garden movement in the United States, Americans planted gardens to feed and support both their local communities and troops overseas. These efforts were wildly successful. By the mid 40’s nearly 20 million victory gardens produced 8 million tons of food which represented around 40 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. at that time. Let that sink in, an amazing feat by individual citizens for an entire nation.
It is in this grass roots spirit that we at Pine Lane Nursery are encouraging everyone to plant their own garden this season. We have all been fighting a very different type of war for the past year, but a war nonetheless. And what we know well is that all gardeners feel empowered by their contribution of labor and the reward of the produce grown and this is something in our own control as individuals, and something that we wish for everyone.
No longer called a Victory Garden, ‘backyard gardening’ can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate. When you grow your own food, you savor it more because of the effort it took to get to the table.
Growing your own food has many health benefits:
- It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
- You decide what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food.
- It lets you control when to harvest your food. Vegetables that ripen in the garden have more nutrients than some store-bought vegetables that must be picked early.
Growing your own food isn’t rocket science, it’s actually very simple. It takes a little time, but things like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, basic kitchen crops, are very forgiving. If you’re interested in growing food in your backyard, we can offer you a few tips for success:
- Start small and plant things you’d really like to eat.
- Pick a spot with at least 6 hours of good daytime light and access to water.
- Use contaminant-free soil.
- Consider using a raised garden bed, which allows you to control the soil and nutrient blend and usually makes weed management a bit easier.
You will be amazed by how much fun gardening can be, and the pride you take in sharing healthy food nurtured by your own efforts. We hope that people will develop more interest in learning about their food choices, and how to prepare fresh, healthy food at home.
We will be planting a Victory / Backyard Garden at the nursery this year and will be providing tips & tricks along the way. Let’s join each other and make gardening a part of daily life this season. You might find this planting guide from CSU handy as you begin to plot your growing season out.