In the wake of WWI and WWII, millions of American citizens embraced the idea of the victory garden. With food shortages, rising costs, and the need to support the war effort overseas, the government called upon communities and individuals to grow their own food for nourishment and to keep up morale in a country afflicted by the mounting effects of such an enormous war. Citizens answered the call with relish, and by 1943, almost 40% of all fruits and vegetables in the U.S. were being produced in victory gardens.
During this mounting global pandemic, planting your own victory garden is a great way to ensure that you can produce fresh food for your family (without having to go to the grocery store), and it is an awesome way for you to stay sane and healthy during self-isolation. Here are a few other reasons we love the victory garden and how you can plant one today.
It will let you get outdoors
Getting outside and tending to and setting up a garden is an excellent way to get sunshine and fresh air, both elements critical for continued physical and mental health. Plus, you are in your own backyard, which means that you aren’t breaking the rules of social distancing or infringing on any state-mandated lockdowns. It will allow you to do a little physical labor, get your hands dirty in the soil, and help prevent cabin fever.
It will help you look forward to the future
Just as victory gardens served as a source of hope during both of the world wars and were a good reminder that life would continue in spite of hardship, they can serve the very same purpose now. Planting a seed is an act of patience, hope, and confidence in a future that will be brighter than the dark times of today.
It is a great hobby
As if growing fresh food wasn’t a good enough reason to start a victory garden, it is also a fantastic way to spend your time while you are off work or working from home. Plus, with most American schoolchildren home from school for the remainder of the year, it is the perfect time to get them involved in your backyard garden and teach them the importance of sustainability and working the ground.
How to plant a victory garden
Start seeds indoors
In most states, it is still a little too early in the season, and the threat of frost just a little too likely to plant most things in the ground outdoors. However, order some seeds and gather your planting materials and use this time to start seeds indoors. Place them on a table in a sunny part of your home or install a grow light if you don’t have a south-facing window. Watch your seeds sprout, and in just a few weeks, you will be able to plant your seedlings in your very own victory garden.
Prepare your plot
Whether you decide to plant in pots, raised beds, or in a traditional garden, this is a great time to prepare the soil and get ready for the planting season. Mix organic compost into your soil, check irrigation, rake away leaves, sticks, and other debris, and amend the soil any other ways that are necessary as well. Remember, vegetables will need 6-8 hours of sun and prefer well-draining soil, so be sure to choose an adequate spot if you are just starting out.
Focus on the food you will actually eat
Grow fruits and veggies that are hardy, store for a while, and will be things that you and your family will actually eat and incorporate into meals. The last thing you want is for your produce to go to waste. Grow things such as lettuce, carrots, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and other nutrient-rich, versatile veggies. Radishes, baby arugula, baby spinach, baby kale, lettuce, green onions, and bok choy are all fast-growing and should be ready for harvest in around 30 days.
Embrace the victory garden today as you practice appropriate social distancing and follow all lockdown guidelines. Be sure to wash your hands frequently when out in public and avoid touching your face or other surfaces as much as possible. Now is a great time to be prepared and learn to be more self-sufficient. Plus, you don’t need a ton of land to do it! Use raised beds on empty patio space or even a few pots on your apartment balcony. Anything makes a difference, and starting a victory garden in the age of coronavirus is a no-brainer.