Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My 'Victory' Garden

My garden last week

My family and I are extremely happy with our garden this year.  Thus far, it has produced a ton of food for us.  The only produce we have been buying this summer has been fruit.  So far in order of abundance we've harvested greens (kale, broccoli, collards and radish), lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, snap peas, and strawberries.  We haven't yet gotten to the point where our tomatoes and tomatilloes are ready but we will have a lot of those to pick soon.  We are utilizing the Square Foot Gardening Technique to maximize space and it has worked well.  This is the 3rd year we've done a garden and I feel we've learned a lot every year.

I have gotten more involved in the vegetable gardening this year and have done a lot of reading on the topic.  I stumbled on the past concept of a Victory Garden.  This concept was actually promoted by our government during WWI and WWII.  The crux of the campaign was to encourage the non-military citizens of the US to grow their own food.  A lot of the conventional food supplies needed to be reserved for our troops around the world.  Many of our US citizens felt it was their patriotic duty to start their own gardens both at home and at work.  Vegetable gardening became very commonplace where space was available.  

Today as experts ponder how to feed the world in sustainable and natural ways there are millions of people taking matters into their owns hands.  They are converting some of their own space, whether it be their patio, balcony, or yard, into areas for growing food.  The astute gardeners know every little bit helps.  Big or small gardens...they both make a difference.  The gardeners know how their food was grown and know how healthy it is for them compared to veggies at the store.  It positively effects their health in many ways.  They get nutritious food.  They get sun and exercise.   Finally they also get the ego boost of accomplishing something. 

In passing conversations with my 87 year old grandma, she has mentioned how big their family garden was back in the day.  They even had mules come in to help turn the soil.  That is pretty cool.  Well over 2 thirds of their yard was dedicated to the garden.  Very different than the nearly useless grass based yards you see everywhere today.  I remember growing up, my other grandpa also having a very large garden occupying most of his open space.  Obviously I've talked about getting back to our roots several times on this blog.  I am proud to say I don't have to look too far back to find that my ancestors took their food more seriously than many people do today.  

As our garden knowledge and our garden space grows I have noticed something interesting.  We don't have as many food packages to throw away.  Also, we compost our food scraps so some the stuff we grew eventually ends up as compost back in the soil.  It is a relatively inexpensive hobby that has paid us back many times over.  Whenever I go to the store or farmers markets, I see the same stuff I harvest in my garden and know I don't have to buy it.  These are all Victories if I say so myself. 


My Grandpa in his garden August 1960


Be said...

I love it! Sounds like a great garden! I wish I was home enough in the summer months to tend a garden. I am working on a perennial garden. The rhubarb is established and I think I have the first year of asparagus under my belt. I have a nice raspberry bush. I want to do Kohlrabi next year - know anything about that?

We are composting for our CSA farmer now but will be doing it for our garden this fall when they stop deliveries.

We should hook up at Howe Meadow some time - we are there almost every weekend (not next) when the cow bell rings!

Nice Victory! Great post and great ideas! Thanks.

Chuck said...

Thank you. I am very intrigued by perennial vegetables. I love the idea and would like to get into next year after I learn more. Seems like a more efficient way to garden.

Also, would love to meet you at Howe Meadow sometime. Email me and let's figure it out.

Jan said...

My husband is a doll, not mentioning that his wife has something of a "brown thumb" - I'm great at cooking food, but suck at growing it (I have a hard time distinguishing between weeds and legitimate plants, as well as a tendency to forget the garden is there). I am, however, more than happy to support those that are capable of growing food, hence our membership in a CSA co-op and our attendance every week at Howe Meadow.

I've heard about the huge gardens in yards from days long gone, but alas, it seems to be a thing of the past. A woman, in Florida, I think? was fined by her homeowner's association for her garden, and last I heard was facing the possibility of being arrested.

Chuck said...

My wife and I are hacking our way to becoming better gardeners. Unfortunately skills were not passed to us. We are learning on the fly and through reading.

I recently read about a lady from Michigan being fined by her city for having a raised bed veggy garden in her front yard. It was very nicely done but unacceptable to lawmakers. She is fighting it in court. Amazing how things have changed. Better have useless grass or risk being fined.