We will now be on lock down for at least another month. Even though there are no food shortages, our national panic and anxiety has resulted in hoarding, which has resulted in grocery stores running out of supplies like toilet paper.
I asked a cashier at a Whole Foods in San Jose when they plan on re-stocking. To my surprise, he told me they re-stock every single night. But in the morning, there is a line waiting to get into the store, and the shelves are cleared out before 10am. Even limiting the quantity of items a customer can buy at one time has had little effect.
I always plant a few vegetables in the spring. But this year, I decided to double the amount of garden beds I could squeeze into my backyard, just in case.
Even in small spaces, you can grow a surprising amount of produce… if you do it correctly.
What is a Victory Garden?
During World War II (1939-1945), supplies were extremely limited. In America, everything from nylons to bacon was rationed, and citizens were taught to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs:
Victory gardens, AKA “war gardens”, “food gardens for defense,” and probably “freedom gardens,” produce was grown and harvested in backyards, front yards, and even public parks. These ideas weren’t just unique to America. Many countries including United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany encouraged their citizens to support themselves by growing their own produce.
How to grow you produce at home:
You can maximize the efficiency of your harvest by companion planting. That means, knowing what plants get along with each other, and which ones don’t. For example, tomatoes love basil but hates dill. Dill can be rude. But dill loves cucumbers. It’s interesting because tomatoes and basil pair perfectly in recipes, and also in the garden. Cucumbers and dill? Pickle, please.
For a complete guide to companion planting, visit our post here:
Zero Waste Guide to Companion Planting
You can also use certain plants to support other plants, like growing pole beans up a cornstalk:
Lawns vs. Garden
Are lawns necessary?
In short, no. For a complete list of reasons, check out our post: Do We Need Lawns?
Lawns are ornamental. They’re decoration. Decoration that requires fresh drinking water (which is scarce), fertilizer, weed-killer, and not to mention mowing, which creates a ton of greenhouse gasses by burning gasoline.
Make that space productive, and swap it out for a garden:
Victory Garden Plot Guides:
Source: Victory Garden Revival
Here are some victory garden guides from the 1930s-40s:
No space for a garden or garden beds?
But don’t worry!! Even if you don’t have and room for a garden or garden bed, you can still grow your own produce using what you have!
Victory gardens can be balcony and patio friendly!
Reuse containers as plant pots! Who cares if it’s not totally aesthetic, once it blooms, it will be beautiful. Note: Only use containers that were used for food. Don’t use things like old paint buckets, only food safe materials that have not had any chemicals in them!