Could Victory Gardens Be Exactly What Your Family Needs Right Now?

The Urban Monk

During both World Wars, the public food suppliers and farmers were under enormous pressure.

You see, lots of them were off fighting, and lots of food was needed to send to soldiers overseas.

So on the home front, countries like America, Canada, and the U.K., families planted victory gardens.

Victory gardens were plots in public parks, the front and back yards of homes, and any other unused land space meant to grow fresh vegetables. In fact, during World War II, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that between nine and ten tons of produce were harvested from victory gardens across the country.

(Fun fact: that’s how we got Swiss chard and kohlrabi in America — they’re so easy to grow!)

Right now, the petals of the world are peeling open. We’ve spent the last year stockpiling bread, eggs, pasta, rice, and canned goods. We’ve avoided over-shopping and tried to keep our distance.

But man does not live by bread alone, does he?

It’s time to victory garden…

Not because we saw what could happen when the supply chain is strained, but because our access to it has been revealed for what it is: tenuous.

In a moment, we’ll get into how you can get started right now. First, it’s crucial to understand that gardening doesn’t just increase our personal stores of produce.

Gardening makes us happy. From the beneficial microbes in the soil, to the powerful effects of vitamin D on the body’s immune system, to the dopamine release you get from building your own urban garden…

There are too many benefits to ignore, especially during a time when we could all use more health and stability in our lives.

Now, let’s talk about getting started.

First Steps

Everyone will be working with different available spaces. Get creative with finding sunny areas!

Do you have deep window sills? Sunny spots in the house? A fire escape or a balcony? A front yard or backyard? Empty gardening pots? Access to a roof?

That’s the wonderful thing about gardening — life will find a way to grow.

Seedlings can be planted indoors and transplanted to spots in the ground, so even if you don’t have it all figured out right now, you can still get growing.

You can start with the barest essentials: potting soil, a container, seeds, and sunlight.

If you’ve got plenty of outside space you can use, consider square foot gardening! It’s organized, effective, portable, and spacious. Shoot for 200 square feet per mouth-to-feed. (Meaning, if you have a family of four, try to set up 800 square feet of growing space.)

Then, decide what you want to plant. Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

Perennial plants take all season to grow, so they in turn use valuable garden real estate for longer. Examples: asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb…

Vining crops need space to grow outwards and upwards, so keep that in mind when you’re arranging your vegetables in rows or pots. Examples: melons, squash, cucumbers…

Succession Plants are plants that can be grown in each other’s soil residue, one right after the other. You could plant the same quick-growing plant over and over, or you could plant a heat-loving plant right after your spring-plant harvest. : peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, radishes…

What to Plant Right Now

You want to be thinking spring, fast, and plentiful.

Spring: Spinach, peas, curly kale, lettuce, radishes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, pepper, cauliflower

Fast: Spinach, radishes, turnips, arugula, lettuce, beans, curly kale, peas, carrots, scallions, cucumber, chard, summer squash, kohlrabi, broccoli

Plentiful: Potatoes, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, welsh onions, okra, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, radishes, kohlrabi, chard, lettuce, spinach

Even as we spend less time in our homes, the lessons of the past year must stay with us. We have more wealth at our disposal than we realize…

It may just be buried in the earth.

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NY Times Best Selling Author, filmmaker, and founder of whole.tv.