Liberty gardens were planted all over the world during World War I. These vegetable gardens were a way to combat food shortages, high food prices, have fresh home grown produce and show support for your country. During World War II the concept was reintroduced as the National Victory Garden. Today, while we are battling the war against the COVID-19 virus, the idea of home gardening has once again emerged.
The thought of starting and maintaining a garden may be overwhelming. The great thing about gardening is it can be a simple, easy project that can stay small and uncomplicated. Alternately, it may be expanded over time to become a new hobby which can produce most of your fresh vegetables during the growing season.
The location of your garden is one of the most important aspects of starting a garden. Vegetables grow best in a sunny location with at least 6 hours (8 to 10 hours is ideal) of full sun. It is best if the garden plot is level. South-facing locations are warmer in spring and fall and are less subject to frost damage. Try to avoid low-lying locations, due to poor drainage and early fall frost, and areas near roads or sidewalks because the soil may have contaminants such as ice-melting treatments. Locating the garden close to your home will make it easier to maintain the garden and to enjoy seeing the vegetables grow.
Soil quality is very important. Vegetables prefer loose, well-drained soil that does not puddle after heavy rains. If the soil is heavy and does not drain well, it should be improved, or amended, by adding ingredients to change soil quality.
Another important ingredient in gardening is water. Locating the garden near a clean water source makes it easy keep the garden watered. Watering vegetables with recaptured rainwater that is stored in a rain barrel is often discouraged due to pathogens that may be present from bird droppings. However, rain barrel water can be used to water nonedible plants such as flowers and shrubs.
The type of garden planted is limited only by the imagination. Container gardening has become very popular in recent years. Annual flowers are routinely seen in containers, but vegetables can also be grown in containers. On a patio you can use flowerpots, old buckets, raised garden containers, or any other container you choose. It is important to make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom of the container to ensure proper drainage for the vegetables. Raised beds allow the gardener to concentrate soil preparation to a small area and have the potential to grow an abundance of produce in a small space. Beds, usually 3 to 4 feet wide, can be worked from each side saving gardening space. Also, the traditional method of tilling the ground planting a garden in that area is always an option. Lastly, straw bale gardening is an inexpensive, quick gardening solution that can be placed anywhere, including hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.
- UM Extension, https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden
- Rutgers Extension, https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/currents_gazettes/brigantine/gardening-encouraged-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-cultivating-thoughts/article_c0c4d323-11c7-5af2-a96d-5c69b0984314.html
- Liberty Gardens 1917-1919, https://www.mnopedia.org/liberty-gardens-1917-1919
- Victory Gardens/Virginia Museum of History and Culture. https://www.virginiahistory.org/collections-and-resources/virginia-history-explorer/victory-gardens