I love the idea of Victory Gardens. During WWI and WWII, people were encouraged to plant gardens to supplement their rations, reduce pressure on the public food supply, and to boost morale. What a lovely…and important…way for individual families to do their part to support a cause larger than themselves.
Is it possible to bring back that spirit of community and a desire to work for the greater good? I’m not sure. I’d like to think so, however. I believe our society as become too “me” focused and we’ve forgotten that we are better together. If planting Victory Gardens can help us regain even a tiny bit of that spirit I think we should be promoting the concept widely.
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My mom recently ran across an old photo album with pictures from her childhood. My grandfather had a great interest in photography and at one point even set up a dark room so he could develop his own film. The wonderful thing about this is that he took a lot of photos – way more than was usual for that time period.
The photos that really captured my attention were the ones of his Victory Garden. They lived in a small, two-bedroom house in Santa Monica with just an average size backyard. The photos show that he had turned most of that yard into a thriving Victory Garden.
Grandpa was an excellent cook so I’m sure he made good use of the vegetables he grew. He was also amongst the first scuba divers off the coast of Southern California and spent most weekends on the beach catching lobsters, abalone, and crab. My mom recalls complaining about having to eat lobster. Poor thing.
Having almost starved as a child, food was very important to Grandpa and he made sure his family was always plentifully supplied with delicious, nourishing food. His garden was an important part of that during the war years and beyond.
My mom standing in Victory Garden
I’ve dabbled with gardening in the past but I’m very much interested in “digging in” more seriously this year. Several years ago David built me two large raised beds. And of course, with 40 acres we have plenty of space if I choose to do more.
My first step is to improvise a green house so I can start some seeds. I have a plan for this and we have the necessary materials. I hope to get it done this weekend. If it works out the way I’ve envisioned I’ll share a picture.
If you, too, are interested in Victory Gardens you might enjoy the following videos and articles.
History of Victory Gardens:
America’s Patriotic Victory Gardens
Victory Gardens in World War II
How to Start Your Own Victory Garden:
How to Plant a Victory Garden, Even on a Windowsill
You may also enjoy:
Why We Need to Bring Back Victory Gardens
If I had a garden, I’d consider it. Though I’d have to make sure to keep the dogs away from the area, or they’d be digging up my food. I did consider maybe doing a couple of small plants indoors, but there’s nowhere to put them where they can get light, I won’t forget to water them, and they’ll be safe from being knocked on to the floor by either myself or the dogs. I can knit and sew though, so maybe if it comes to a serious need for this kind of thing I can swap my skills with needles for excess produce from someone.
Deanna Piercy says
I love the idea of bartering. I’ve thought about trading my homemade bread for a neighbor’s eggs. Honestly, I think it’s even better for friends and neighbors to do that sort of thing rather than everyone try to provide for all their own needs independently. We are better together.
Melanie Riley says
I love these old photos of your grandpa’s Victory Garden. They’re so bountiful and beautiful. We plant tomatoes every year, but that’s about it except for our herb garden. Unfortunately, most of our tiny property is shaded so we can’t grow much. Right now, I have a big pot of radishes on my front porch that I am growing from seed. We get strong morning sun on the porch, so I’m hoping the radishes do well there.
Deanna Piercy says
I haven’t done much more than tomatoes and zucchini in the past but I’m hopeful that I can do more this year.