Lakewood Victory Gardens

Victory gardens have long been an American rallying cry during times of crisis. Since World War I whenever uncertainty hits the food market Americans respond by growing their own food to ease the burden; the COVID-19 pandemic should be no different. It is rumored that 30% of produce in WWII came from victory gardens. The benefits of gardening are exclusive to no one and the possibilities are limited only by the imagination.  

Pick a spot. Find an area with ample sunlight, a minimum of 6 hours can work but 8 or more would be ideal. Don’t have a grassy area that fits the description? Consider growing in containers. Additional things to consider include access to water, the potential for pests (deer, dogs, children etc.), along with what you’ll plant.

Identify what you want to grow. Focus should be on easy to grow crops that offer a high yield along with high nutrient value. Consider succession planting to ensure a steady supply of fresh produce and so that your crops aren’t spoiling before consumption. Leafy green crops spaced 3-4 weeks apart could provide food well into 2021. Zucchini is an easy to grow crop that produces a high yield. Tomatoes can offer similar results if the growing season is cooperative. Often forgotten are the fall crops. Cool weather crops such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale planted in August can be harvested fresh for Thanksgiving dinner.

Take care of your plants. Plants are living, breathing organisms and need to be treated as such. They will need food. Food comes in the way of soil and fertilizers; these items are essential to healthy plants that provide healthy produce. Container grown plants pull nutrient from a finite source of nutrients and they are depleted a little every time you water. Like any other organism, your plants need water, some more than others. In general, consistently fed and watered plants are also happier.

Plan for your harvest. All your hard work can go to waste quickly if you don’t have a plan for storing and consuming your bounty. What methods will you use for preservation? In recent years, canning has made a resurgence. Most canned vegetables when stored properly will keep up to 5 years. Backpackers have long used dehydration as a method of food preservation when space is at a minimum and shedding extra weight is imperative. Freezing is still a super easy way to store and extend the shelf life of your harvest.

So as we move into this gardening season, ask yourself if you are going to contribute or if you’ll hope that all the migrant workers that pick our produce are able to make it north of the border to ensure we can eat. If you decide you want to give it a shot, the staff at Lakewood Garden Center will be happy to assist you and help make sure you have healthy, happy produce into 2021.

Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 3:45 PM, 04.15.2020