Thursday, February 7, 2013

What is a Victory Garden?

Victory Garden poster
source: Living History Farm
   A few weeks ago I mentioned one of my gardens was to be planted as a Victory Garden this year. That raised some questions...even from some of my fellow Master Gardener Interns. What's a Victory Garden? Many pantry staples were rationed during WWII: sugar, coffee, and canned goods, for example. As a result, the government called upon the citizens to plant large gardens as a supplement to the nation's food supply. Extension office agents went out delivering seed packets, garden plans, fertilizer and pest control powders to encourage the project. The USDA estimates that over 20 million victory gardens were planted producing more than 10 tons of produce. That's phenomenal!
   The basic plan for such a garden needed to fit an urban setting while providing as much nutrient packed produce as possible. Plenty of cabbage, greens, beans and carrots were needed as well as some berry canes or strawberry plants..corn and root crops.. 35 X 35' was considered a 'medium size plot'. Crop successions and seasonal rotation were included, as was the assumption that the whole family pitched in the effort.
    That's all well and good, but how does this apply to our modern day? The modern move for victory gardens is based on the idea - Grow what you eat- eat what you grow. Here in we aim to stay frugal, healthful, and balanced. Today's garden may not have two rows of turnips or mustard greens, but instead hold kale and kohlrabi. Basically, use the land you have to produce food your family enjoys..and when able, share it with others. 
    How do I do it? I look at what my family really loves to eat and the planting schedule for those crops. Seeds are purchased, set to start in ground or greenhouse, and when harvest is plentiful we put up and pass out. The goal is to provide for home first and others as opportunity permits. In the past, our garden has abundantly shared in tomatoes, beans, greens, corn and, of course, peppers. I base much of my planting amounts on Granny Miller's chart:
source: Granny Miller's Chart

        Our world is uncertain and our economy unstable..gardening brings us to a place of provision and peace. Time in my garden nourishes body and soul bringing me closer to my Lord and the family working along side me.
        If you are interested in more about the original victory gardens watch the original video at To view some of the plans for victory gardens visit Earthly Pursuits. Questions about my personal victory garden layout? Contact me at or leave your question in the comment box. Let's get growing. 

Shared on The Prairie Homestead.


Michelle said...

I have two gardens. Because of room and flat ground. I have one on one side of my house and the other one is on the other side. I started my garden for cost and health reasons. It has become my calming and peaceful place.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Sounds wonderful!