“I’ve always felt that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.” – C Z Guest
Have you noticed your grocery runs becoming more and more pricey? Do you pause before buying the expensive treats you used to habitually stock up on? My dear friend, you’re not alone. Gasoline, rent, electricity, and especially food prices, are rising like released balloons. If this fact has made you feel uncomfortable or even desperate, keep reading.
In the 1940’s the US was at war. As part of this war effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, meat, and canned goods. Labor and transportation shortages made it difficult for fresh produce to make it all the way to grocery shelves (does this sound familiar?). To confront this problem, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “victory gardens” so individuals could provide their own fruits and vegetables.
As a result, nearly 20 million Americans got to work. They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots, and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives, all in the name of patriotism. (Reinhardt)
Did a few pots and patches of dirt in the cities make a difference? Well, “the US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.” (Reinhardt) So yes, it made a big difference.
So how can we hungry Covid survivors make use of this history lesson?
Plant a victory garden. It’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact, you just need a pack of plant pots, some dirt, and a packet of vegetable seeds. If you live in a cave where sunlight is forbidden, fear not; fluorescent lights are cheap (especially compared to your last grocery bill). You can get them, your seeds, and your pots in a grocery store, gardening store, or online.
What kinds of vegetables can you successfully grow in a pot? Here are 4 easy, pot-loving options:
1. Tomatoes. They’re relatively small plants and can be used in many, many recipes. Salads and sandwiches love tomatoes, and so do simple pasta sauce recipes, and soups (all of which can be easily found with an internet search). There are several kinds of tomatoes for you to pick from. Once purchased, just follow the instructions on the seed packet for how to best love and care for your tomato plants.
2. Lettuce. These, surprisingly, are a lot like tomatoes: They grow happily in pots and are delicious when eaten as salads or on sandwiches (they can even replace the sandwich bread, saving you from paying for bread at the grocery store). These also have several varieties for you to choose from.
3. Green beans. Do you remember growing a bean plant from a seed as a kindergartener? Great, then you know you have nothing to fear when trying to grow beans. These plants love to grow, so they’ll give you a boost of confidence in your new gardening skills when they pop gleefully from the soil. Just remember, there are 2 categories of green bean plants: bushes and vines. If you pick vines, then be prepared for them to spread.
4. Carrots. The trick with carrots is in the soil; you need very soft soil. If these carrots meet resistance from a rock or clump of clay, then they’ll throw a tantrum by growing into strange shapes and losing their sweetness. Did you know that there are dozens of different kinds of carrots, all with different colors and shapes? Go crazy and save on your grocery bill at the same time. (Sandy)
That’s all for this article, my friends. Now go forth and begin gardening victory today!
“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” – Gertrude Jekyll
Reinhardt, Claudia. “Victory Gardens.” Victory Gardens during World War II, https://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_02.html.
Sandy, Jill. “5 Best Vegetables and Herbs You Can Grow Without a Garden.” The Beet., 9 Dec. 2020, https://thebeet.com/the-5-best-vegetables-that-can-grow-anywhere-even-without-a-garden/.
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