Victory Gardens

Putting the Garden to Bed

Now is the time of year when we put our gardens “to bed.” We remove tired garden debris, clip wilted stalks, and cover the bed for the winter season. Sometimes I feel like it is nice to get a break from working in the garden during the winter season, though I didn’t work in my garden nearly as much as I could have this past year.

Over the summer, our family visited Strawberry Bank in Portsmouth, NH. Strawberry Bank is an outdoor history museum and historic site. You can travel though the decades of New Hampshire and US history, from the early colonial days to the 20th century. While visiting, there was one sign that caught our attention:

Over 80,000 home gardens in the state of NH, and nearly half of the nations fresh produce grown in backyard gardens seem like impressive figures. Our evening conversations keep coming around to this topic of Victory Gardens. I remember reading about Victory Gardens in some corner of a high school US history class. I decided I needed a refresher.

I found this on wikipedia:

“In March 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the US National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. Food production had fallen dramatically during World War I, especially in Europe, where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack and others conceived the idea that the supply of food could be greatly increased without the use of land and manpower already engaged in agriculture, and without the significant use of transportation facilities needed for the war effort. The campaign promoted the cultivation of available private and public lands, resulting in over five million gardens in the USA and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.”

Support Matters Most

What is significant to Josh and I is that a national effort was made to encourage people to plant home gardens in order to increase local food production and ease the burden on public transportation of food in order to help the nation during war times. During WWI and WWII, the US government provided resources and education for people to grow their own garden, and they enlisted a serious advertising campaign to promote the idea. If such an effort were made by the government today, we might have a very different food commodity system. However, I am not so sure that current leaders and their constituents actually want us to be independent in our food consumption choices.

Victory Gardens are just as important today, and perhaps even more so. We are fighting a different kind of battle. We are fighting for food security, the health of our ecosystems, and more resilient sustainable local communities.

Josh and I decided to expand our garden for next year. We have plans to open up another garden space and plant more root vegetables to help us get through the winter months. We certainly still shop at our local grocery coop, but our goal is to expand on what we can grow at home. Not only are we excited to share those ideas and our progress along the way, but we are open to suggestions (we are not expert gardeners by any stretch of the imagination), and we would love others to join us in the effort!

Original Date: Oct 27, 2016

Put It Into Practice

Could you expand on your current garden? Have you wanted a garden but feel like you don’t have the space? Have you tried container gardens? Maybe you would like to join the “Victory Garden” brigade! There are other groups around the Nation doing just that, so let’s start one locally!

Let us know if this inspires you. We would love to hear more about your ideas. We figure now is the time to start planning that next garden!

Jai Jai! (Jai means Victory)

MusingsAngie Follensbee-Hall