Victory gardens once were a thing of the past, but with prices rising everywhere, they’re rapidly making a comeback. If you’ve been wondering what victory gardens are and how to plant one, here is all the info you’ll need!
I think it’s pretty common knowledge around here that I fully support and encourage my blog readers to be as self-sufficient as possible by doing things like making more than they buy and having victory gardens.. There are a lot of reasons for that. The simple lifestyle that self-sufficiency provides is healthier, far less stressful, cleaner and above all else, cheaper.
I’ve often said that being truly frugal requires you to be self-sufficient and I stand by that to this day. It is the one sure-fire way to save money on your home overall. Having a garden and putting it to use to save money on food is a great place for anyone who is looking to provide more for themselves and learn how to rely on the grocery store less.
What Are Victory Gardens?
The first appearance of the term victory garden referred to wartime gardens made by households during World War I and II in countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia. These gardens consisted of different vegetables, herbs, and fruits. They also were called “war gardens” or “food gardens for defense.”
The idea behind a victory garden during wartime was that in theory these gardens helped with war efforts. President Herbert Hoover himself is quoted as saying, “Food will win the war” as a way to promote American citizens raising victory gardens. When each household had their own food sources, communities were more self-reliant leaving resources open for soldiers and wartime.
In fact, having a war garden during that time period was so heavily encouraged and promoted that the US Government printed and released THIS Victory Garden Guide in 1943 and because growing a victory garden is becoming popular again, the original guide to growing a victory garden has even been updated HERE.
Why Grow a Modern Day Victory Garden?
These days, “victory garden” is a term that refers to any food garden that is grown on purpose. We all have our own reasons for gardening, but food security, saving money on food, and teaching their kids how to live a more sustainable life are usually top of the list.
Personally, I love the fact that my garden can feed my family a fruit or a vegetable that is far healthier and much more natural than what I can buy at the grocery store. These days, even organic foods allow unnatural and toxic chemicals so the only safe bet for health and nutrition is to grow it myself.
What Foods Can You Grow in a Victory Garden?
Most gardens that begin with herbs, veggies, and fruits can be considered this concept, but even small container gardens or kitchen scrap gardens are included. This makes growing a really wide selection of fruits and vegetables possible for pretty much anyone; no matter where you live.
For those that want to keep to the traditional concepts of a war garden, some of the staples in your garden may be beans, cabbage, peas, squash, or kale. Most of the original food gardens for defense included high nutrition items so that families and communities could use more of these fruits and veggies to free up more food for to be sent to soldiers during the war.
But, there is no need to stop at those five crops in your own food garden. You can plant anything you want provided it will grow well in your area! In fact, you could grow every fruit or vegetable your family eats if you wanted.
How Do I Start A Garden?
The first step to having your own garden at home is planning. You’ll have to spend some time collecting resources like seeds, find space, build raised beds or buy raised beds and planters before you even begin.
You may also want to consider buying one of THESE soil testing kits to determine if your home soil is good to plant in or not. If not, purchase seed starting soil and buy potting soil to replace it with. Making your own organic fertilizer is a great option to so it’s ready when you need it.
What Kind of Seeds Should Be Used in Victory Gardens?
No matter what your reasons for planting are, you will still want the final product – al those yummy home grown foods – to be as healthy as possible. That starts at the seed level.
In this case, it’s imperative that you only use heirloom seeds to plant your food with. Not only do heirlooms cut down on seed cost year after year, but they are generally a healthier variety of seed over a genetically modified version of the same plant.
I personally only buy heirloom seeds from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. My very first order with Mary had a 98% propagation rate and in case you aren’t familiar, that’s high. In fact, the only seeds that failed to germinate were 100% my own fault.
When Should I Plant My Victory Garden?
When you start your garden seeds and when you plant your garden outdoors will be solely determined by what your plant hardiness zone is. Your hardiness zone tells you when the risk of frost has passed and plants can safely thrive outdoors.
How Can I Sustain a Victory Garden?
Once your garden is in the ground, you’ll need to take time to maintain it. Proper watering and weeding, keeping pests and diseases out and so on are all necessary tasks to getting a good crop.
Without proper maintenance, your plants won’t thrive and when you go to harvest, you aren’t likely to have anything worth doing so. As your garden grows, reach out to more experienced gardeners via Facebook groups or other gardening sites for help. It can also be helpful to read as many books as possible since the more you learn, the better off your garden – and future gardens – will be.