Want to save money? Why not plant a Victory Garden? Although the concept was born nearly 100 years ago, many people have re-adopted the idea of growing their own food as “victory” over the recession. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, “Victory Gardens” were grown by the wives of soldiers serving in WWI and WWII. It was the patriotic thing to do.
You can not only save in your monthly budget, but take significant steps to save the planet. That’s right. The local food movement is based on the idea that, by purchasing and consuming items grown or raised within 100 miles from the purchase point, we’ll save on fuel costs, pesticides and preservatives associated with transporting from farm to plate.
In researching the concept of Victory gardens, I found the following amazing facts:
- 20 million Victory Gardens were planted during World War II.
- People considered their gardening to be patriotic, as their efforts helped commercial farmers focus on providing for Britain and Russia
- Victory Gardens produced nearly 40% of the nation’s vegetables by the end of the war.
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with starting the Victory Garden movement. But many historians believe that the idea originated during the Wilson Administration of WWI.
Today, Victory Gardens are literally sprouting up everywhere. There are waiting lists for seeds, spurred by numerous considerations from food safety to saving costs and the environment. Could farmers’ markets lose their appeal if we all grow our own tomatoes and cucumbers at home?
Well, that is a risk, I’m willing to take. My family has grown our own vegetables each summer for nearly 10 years. Even during the cold winter months, we have indoor herb plants that we use for cooking (oregano, basil, thyme and chives).
Recently, the President’s family has been showcased for growing a vegetable garden on the White House grounds. Its been decades since we’ve witnessed such self-sufficiency from the Commander-in-Chief. Not only will the First Family enjoy freshly grown food, but people and dignitaries visiting them may have a salad from sources much closer than they would have imagined.
Who knew that a little “push” from some YouTube videos may have started the movement for a White House garden?
Well, OK. We don’t all have the acreage enjoyed by the President and his family. However, you don’t need much space or ideal temperatures to plant a victory garden. At our place, we grow about 1/2 of our “crops” in containers. This is because the growing season in Central Oregon is short and we can see harsh temperatures into June (starting again in September). We easily move our plants into the garage, or cover them up when the temperature is going to drop.
If you have no yard at all and you don’t want to invest in containers, why not go to a community garden? Input the term into a Google search with your hometown name, and chances are you can find a place where you can share dirt (both gossip and soil) with your friends to grow some amazing treats for your family.
Stop by your local gardening or hardware store for some tips on planting, seeds and varieties that are suited for your area.
Be sure to share your successes with us in the comments below. Here’s to a successful Victory for healthful eating and pocketbook savings for you!