Farm Life

Victory Gardens

03.25.20

Winning the battle with a garden

I’ve heard from so many friends that follow us how much they appreciate seeing farm life through our eyes this past week on our Instagram stories. I’m glad you all are following along – I love to share what we love about the farm and I’m glad it’s a positive distraction from how uncomfortable we all feel right now. When I start feeling anxious about what’s going on, and what ISN’T going on in our world, I just step outside and look at the cows, pet the cats or give the chickens some tasty treats. I’m not sure how I would feel if I didn’t have that distraction. Once again, this farm is saving me. 

I’ve also started on our seed starting for this year’s vegetable garden and flowers. Knowing that no matter what happens in the outside world, that Mother Nature will still do what she always does (though, not in the way she normally has, but that’s an entirely different conversation) is very comforting to me. My friend Roberta remarked that she thought there will be a big surge in gardening this year, I happen to agree with her. And that’s when I started thinking about Victory Gardens.  

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Do you know what a Victory Garden is? I didn’t, until I ran across an article about one while researching garden planning on Pinterest a few years ago. Victory Gardens were promoted, and planted, during World War I and World War II. They were also known as “war gardens” In a nutshell, the government asked people to plant a “Victory Garden” to help contribute to the food supply. According to theherbalacademy.com, the amount of food that the armed services needed put a strain on the food supply, so everyone else was asked to plant gardens to help supplement. Schools planted gardens to help feed students. Companies planted gardens to help feed employees. Lawns were turned into gardens. Parks became gardens. 

botanic victory garden at Smith College in MA 1943

Cut to today. This pandemic has created so much fear that people are rushing to stores and hoarding food. I actually made two loaves of bread this past weekend because there wasn’t any bread at the grocery store. Weird times right now for sure. 

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I think now is the perfect time to bring back the Victory Garden. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to food at your own home? Would you feel more secure and less panicked about things?  Do you know how good it feels to dig your hands into the earth? To pick your own tomatoes that are slightly warm from the sunshine? Audrey Hepburn famously said –

“Planting a garden is believing in tomorrow”

If you already plant your own vegetables or flowers, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You KNOW how good it feels when you pick your own food that you grew with your own two hands. But if you haven’t – NOW is the perfect time to get started. No matter how big or small you want to go – it is SO easy to get started. There are umpteen sources online to tell you how to do it. 

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ONE IMPORTANT THING – when you are researching anything garden related, you should add the word “extension” to the end of your Google search. Let’s say you want to know the proper spacing when you plant your tomatoes. You should search “spacing for tomato plants extension”  What that does is bring up actual, research-based information from universities in the United States. Many times when you are searching for these answers online, without the word “extension” added to it, you are getting information that may be biased from companies that are trying to sell you something. Not always, but many times. The extension offices throughout the country are affiliated with universities, and that is who organizes the Master Gardener programs. Make sense? 

Here are some of my favorite resources and suppliers: 

The Gardener’s Workshop – Lisa Mason Ziegler’s website is so informative. She has a lot of instructional videos, offers online courses and is the woman I learned all things soil-blocking from. 

Baker Creek – my FAVORITE seed catalog. They have so many beautiful and unique heirloom varieties. Love, love love. 

Johnny’s Seeds – they are my go to for most of the equipment I buy, and many of my seeds. I love their straightforward approach to growing. Lots of great information and videos on this site. 

Floret – I’m absolutely sure you already know about Floret. Erin Benzakien is SO generous with the information she shares about growing. From prepping, to planting, to harvesting – she’s got it ALL! And…the new Magnolia  network is going to have a show about their flower farming journey. Exciting!

Territorial Seeds – I like this company for their growing guides. I love the down home feel of their website and I also like to source unique flower seeds from them. 

Klehm’s Song Sparrow – local to us and some of the BEST Peony rootstock out there. Even Ms. Martha Stewart has their peonies in her own gardens. Aren’t we lucky to have them so close? 

While you have extra time at home right now, seize this perfect opportunity to get a garden started – even if it’s something as small as a countertop basil plant. Do it!!! It will make you SO happy and is the perfect distraction to all of the madness. 

mouse melons

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