Make 2022 The Year of the Garden. Let's bring back the Victory Garden. During WWII the government rationed a number of foods and other goods. A labor shortage with so many men going off to war, coupled with transportation issues, made it difficult to harvest and transport fruits, vegetable and grains to market. With all of these issues, the government encouraged citizens to plant "Victory Gardens".
Given our current economic situation, with production and transportation cost skyrocketing, food prices going through the roof and even empty selves in some grocery stores, I think it is time to bring back the Victory Garden.
I have gardened most of my life and have generally had a large garden. For several years I even grew a 1/4 acre market garden and sold at a Farmer's Market. In recent years my garden has been much smaller and mainly for fresh summer veggies. But this year my garden is once again going to be BIG. I want to plant plenty for my family as well as plenty to share with others. Add in a small flock of chickens for meat and eggs and we will be going a long way toward fighting the high cost of groceries and improving our overall health.
A garden has numerous benefits to your overall wellbeing beyond reducing the cost of food.
- Adding more fruits and vegetable to your diet is good for your health. This is really a no brainer, but it is true. Maybe now is the time to ditch the expensive snack foods and processed meals at the grocery store and start adding more fresh fruits and veggies to your diet.
- Gardening is good excercise. Not going to lie here, gardening is hard work. Not only will you be eating better, but you will be getting in more time doing physical activity and getting fresh air. Maybe you won't need to pay for that gym membership you already aren't using.
- Better nutrition, less processed snack food and more physical exercise equals less money spent at the doctor's office. If more people gardened and actually ate what they grew, think of the nationally lower rates of obesity, high blood preasure and diabetes.
- Gardening is good for the soul. Some of my best quiet, peaceful times have been in the garden. There are generally no distractions. No Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter out there. Just me and time with God. Time to think and reflect.
- It's also great time with the kids. Kids get to learn where food actually comes from. They learn a sense of accomplishment and selfworth out there and what it means to work for something worthwhile. I've had some great conversations with my kids while working in the garden. It's a great place to connect.
My daughter helping to make dill pickles.
Growing more than you need has benefits as well. Afterall, having more food than you can eat is not a bad dilemma to have. If you have extra, you can always share with those who are unable to grow their own, the elderly or even the food bank. It's a great way to help others overcome food insecurity.
Short on space or don't know where to begin? Here are some tips and ideas.
This is a great option if you are low on space. Fruits and veggies can be grown in pots in place of flowers in your windows, porch or patio. I have even grown plants inside with grow lights as well. Grow lights are getting cheaper to operate with the advent of the LED bulb and can be an option for smaller indoor spaces.
Almost any reasonable sized container can be used as a pot. I've used old wash tubs, plastic barrels cut in half, old cooking pots, drawers from a broken dresser, etc. to plant in. A thrift store is a great spot to find items to plant in.
Here are a couple of links to some useful sites for container gardening.
Availabilty of potting soil is often a problen for container gardening or urban gardening. I would suggest making connections with a local farmer or rancher. Anyone who raises livestock or poultry would be aa good source to check with for compost.
The Postage Stamp Garden
Books have been written on this type of garden. In short, a Postage Stamp Garden is a small sized garden with a wide variety of companion plants planted in such a way as to maximize space and production.
These are often raised bed type gardens in small spaces. I actually planted a Postage Stamp Garden in a 12' x 6' space in front of our local post office. I was able to grow a dozen different veggies in the small space. It took very little time and expense to do this. Check out the photo below.
Look for community garden space.
If you have no place to plant and truly want a garden, see if your community has a community or neighborhood garden space where a group of people come together to grow fruits and vegetable. Sometimes these are free, but oftentimes individual plots are rented by gardeners either monthly or yearly.
Another option is to partner with a friend who has a large yard. If the friend supplies the space you can supply tools and seeds and share the labor.
Share plants and seeds.
If you are just starting out or plan to keep it small, find a friend to share seeds and plant starts with. Sometimes you don't need an entire packet of seeds so you will have plenty to share.