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Creating a #NewAmericanVictoryGarden

The early days of the Coronavirus Pandemic, with widespread shortages of basic supplies, highlighted the fragility of our global food supply chain. It’s time to bring back Victory Gardens, increasing our individual self-sufficiency. With a plan and a little land (even your own front yard), you can feed your family fresh fruits and vegetables, without relying on long-distance shipping and without going into a grocery store.

Think about it... wouldn’t it be nice to go out to the garden with a pair of scissors to snip a few herbs for pasta sauce, instead of buying a desiccated stem of basil for $6.99?

A little history....

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. During World War II, around one third of the vegetables produced by the United States came from victory gardens. It was emphasized to American homefront urbanites and suburbanites that the produce from their gardens would help to lower the price of vegetables needed by the US War Department to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military. By May 1943, there were 18 million victory gardens in the United States – 12 million in cities and 6 million on farms. (Wikipedia)

My favorite instructional illustration of a WWII victory garden.

The original garden illustration from the Illinois State Council of Defense., an online garden planning website/app, has recreated the original Illinois plan, with a modern twist:

You can find the plant list for this garden on the above website, but woo boy, it’s ALOT, and likely a bit much for beginner gardeners to take on, so I’ve simplified it below.

Modern Victory Garden

Beans: 6 bush bean plants (3 green, 2 purple, 1 yellow), planted every 2 weeks for 6 weeks

Radishes: 1/2 row

Carrots: 1/2 row

Lettuce: 1/2 row head, 1/2 row leaf (plant a portion of the row every two weeks for 6 weeks)

Spinach: 1/2 row

Beets: 1/2 row

Peas: 1 row, trellised along one side of the garden

Tomatoes: 6 plants (2 slicing, 2 paste, 2 cherry)

Onions (1/2 row)

Garlic (1/2 row)

Basil (interplanted with tomatoes)

Herbs: 1 row, 2 plants each. Rosemary, sage, parsley, cilantro, mint, thyme.

Peppers (2 bell, 2 lunchbox, 1 hot, 1 jalapeño)

Eggplant: 3 plants

Strawberries: 1 row of 10 plants

Summer squash (yellow): 2 plants

Zucchini: 2 plants


Vegetables I haven’t included, and why:

Corn: there is nothing like eating an ear of corn that has just been picked. In fact, the best way to cook corn is to have the water boiling before you pick it! But corn is wind pollinated, meaning that it has to be planted in a fairly large block of plants. This makes it difficult for small home gardeners to grow.

Pumpkins: they just take up too much space, and tend to take over the garden.

Cabbage: I haven't been able to grow cabbage because of intense insect pressure. Plus I just don't like eating it :)

Here's my #NewAmericanVictoryGarden plan for a beginner/intermediate home gardener, measuring 10 feet x 18 feet. You can find the full plan, with a plant list and planting time, here:

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