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Growing a Victory Garden

Category Growing Food
Although the original Victory Garden originated in England and the United States during WWII, you can still enjoy the benefits derived from these early family gardens. This is a guide about growing a Victory Garden.
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March 1, 20070 found this helpful

One of our members mentioned that she now considers her patio garden a Victory Garden. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" - in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. (Source: wikipedia)
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What would you plant in your Victory Garden? Here are some ideas from the ThriftyFun community for edible landscaping and things you can grow in a small space that provide food you would normally have to buy? Start planning your spring garden today and post your own ideas below.

Lettuce Around Flowers

One year I planted lettuce around my flowers. You can not only pick and eat it but makes a real nice pretty border. You could also, which I plan on doing, is planting carrots in my terracotta pots. I know some have planted potatoes in tires, which could be painted to match your decor. I have not tried this yet. Mind you, we live upstairs in an apartment so there are ways to do this. You might be grateful, later, that you did. Beans can also be grown on poles staked in pots.
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By JSRS443

Growing Vegetables and Flowers

My husband and I always can tomatoes every year. This year we have 110 jars and will do salsa this week. This isn't exactly a tip but it shows what can be done. I planted 2 packages of mixed flower seeds in my terrace garden and amongst the 'flowers' that came up were 8 huge carrots, 3 radishes, and several tomato plants! How they got in sealed flower packets, I don't know. But I do know the tomatoes lived and thrived amongst the flowers. They turned out to be Roma tomatoes, so we are going to make the salsa from free-bee plants! Try vegetables among your flowers. They add nice green color and edibles too.

Square Foot Gardening

I plant peas along the fence of my vegetable garden in spring and fall. Also you can plant the new container sized plants for peppers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant. Herbs, lettuce and spinach always go well in planter boxes. And you can mix edible flowers like nasturtiums and herbs, with edible crops. Tomatoes and herbs can be frozen (whole or sliced) for later processing just by rinsing and sticking in freezer bags. Then there are the Native American three sisters to plant together. Plant the corn, then a week or 2 later, the beans (to climb the corn) and the pumpkins to grow in between. Square foot gardening utilizes planting closely together with compatible plants which saves effort, space and water.
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By Britathrt

Good Container Varieties

Here are a few of the varieties that work well in limited space (even containers).

Also keeping whatever you can growing into the fall and winter is good by protecting the plants so they produce longer. There is a good article online about stretching your gardening season (link below.)

Stretching The Garden Season

Co-op Garden Plots and Container Gardening

I was fortunate enough to live in an apartment that was situated on about 5 acres of land. Every spring, they allowed us to have garden plots. We paid a fee to rent the space, but they supplied all of the tools and water. I planted everything from tomatoes to lettuce, broccoli, peppers, peas, herbs, flowers and more.

Victory gardens were designed to be a source of food for people during WWII. My husband and I now live in an apartment in Texas where we don't have the kind of space that I had in Iowa. We have a patio now. Another variety of tomatoes that works well in containers in Window Box Romas. Tiny Tom is another variety of cherry type tomatoes. Tomatoes like nitrogen rich fertilizers. The Indians used to fertilize their tomatoes with fish heads. Now it is possible to buy fish emulsion in garden supply stores.

Many herbs grow well in containers. Tomatoes do particularly well when planted with basil, nasturtiums and marigolds. Leaf lettuces probably do better in containers.

As for corn, I seriously doubt that corn would work in a container mainly because in order for it to work, you have to plant five parallel rows so that they can cross pollinate one another. That is, if you are wanting to grow sweet corn; seed corn (used for animal feed) shouldn't cross pollinate, and in order to prevent that from happening, the crop has to be detassled. Corn requires copious amounts of space, as do cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, melons and squash. They tend to spread and need space in which to spread.

Strawberries have been known to grow in containers, but they usually don't bear fruit until the second year.

By By skbeal

Connecting With the Earth

Anyone today can plant a small garden in which they will receive so much more for their efforts, than just the veggies. They actually reconnect with the Earth with these gardens. To plant a seed, to nurture it and watch it grow. Even if you never get one tomato from your plant, you will see how much our Earth does for us each day.

My Garden? A few tomato and bell pepper plants along with about 6 large sunflowers, for the birds. I wish you all a learning time with our Earth. Plant on!

By Mr. Thrifty

Herbs

If it were just a small space that also had to look somewhat attractive, I'd probably focus on herbs and other things that are pricey in the supermarket and can also be preserved: basil, cilantro, lettuce and other fancy greens, hot peppers, maybe a tub of tomatoes for drying; and flowers for cutting, which feed the soul.

By drlith

Stocking Up For Winter

I would plant foods that I could save the extras for the winter months and also would plant herbs wherever I could not plant other items.

By Hatvany

Making The Most Out Of A School Garden Plot

I planted in a triangle of dirt the school gave me and in the middle of it was a small tree. I had one of my grand dads make me a teepee trellis over the tree. We planted 3 tomato plants, which have green tomatoes on it, 3 peppers, nasturtiums around under the tree. Also, radishes, green beans, zinnias, red morning glories growing up one teepee, sweet peas growing up the other two. If you plan, you can do a lot with so very little
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By Gail

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March 6, 20070 found this helpful

I guess I would plant food in every available space. What we couldn't use, our elderly or disabled friends would. If there was just a flower bed, the flowers would mostly have to go. There is nothing prettier than a border of parsley (did you know it makes good tea?) surrounding taller greens, tomato and pepper plants, or even potato plants. If I had room for only one tree, it would be an apple. I would choose a long-storing variety, so we could have fresh fruit in the winter. I would also make juice, pies and apple sauce. For the space it provides, one fruit tree gives bushels of food after just a few years. If I only had a pot in a sunny window, I would put whatever works for the climate. Here in Idaho, we've done well with green onions, chard and lettuce, although we have to be careful not to bring in a single aphic. I read about a man in Texas who had a huge hot pepper plant. He was giving away tons to his neighbors, and it was all from one pot! Using your noggin, you can really produce a lot of food in a little space.

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
June 23, 2008

During WWII, Britain and the United States pushed their citizens to plant "victory gardens." These gardens were marketed to help the war effort by reducing the demand for food on the country (people grew their own instead of purchasing it), thus reducing the cost of food for the troops. Yet, the victory gardens also served another purpose; they boosted the moral of citizens on the homefront by giving them the satisfaction of "doing their parts for the war effort."

The Value

Growing our own vegetables makes economic sense, especially since we have the luxury of grocery stores to back us up in case of a bad growing season. One $2 tomato plant will yield a few pounds of tomatoes (possibly $2.49 per pound in stores.) Had I planned earlier, I could have saved more by starting my tomato plants from seeds, but my investment will still pay off. Factoring in the water they require and tomato cages, I'm still reaping economic benefits of my harvest.

Who Said Organic Was Expensive?

Organic foods are expensive. Yet, homegrown gardens can easily be organic without the extra cost. I know what I'm putting on my vegetables, and I know if they've been chemically treated or not. For organic fertilizer try disposing of your kitchen scraps in the soil. For years we've buried banana peels, apple cores, and lettuce hearts in our garden between our plants, and we've had wonderful harvests and dark, rich soil. Another fertilizer that my grandmother uses on her plants is gelatin. Purchase packets of store brand Jello and mix it with water. Then, water your plants with the mixture.

To avoid pests without using chemicals, try companion gardening. Many books are available that describe good growing partners. One common pest controlling plant is said to be marigolds. By planting my marigold seeds in my garden beside my tomatoes, I not only have a pretty garden but pest free tomatoes. (The bugs are said to dislike the smell of the marigolds.) A simple wire garden fence keeps larger pests away, and groundhogs as well as several bugs dislike the smell of dryer sheets. Tie the sheets around the fence posts to discourage pests without spraying chemicals.

Victorious!

Our victories in our garden will be plentiful. Our family will get fresh air and time together working on a common goal. We'll eat healthy, homegrown food that gives us satisfaction both in our stomachs and in our hearts. It will be an economic victory over high food and gas prices as well as imported produce. Best of all, we'll revisit some old-fashioned values.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
January 6, 20140 found this helpful

Don't forget the next step - preserving your harvest. Getting back to basics - planting, tending, harvesting, eating/enjoying/sharing, and lastly, preserving. Many books and options exist for preserving your harvest when you receive more bounty than you can use at any time. An additional bonus will be homemade preserved fruits/vegetables for money saving gifts.

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