While rummaging through the attic this spring I came across this photo of three women out standing (outstanding) in a garden. It was found in a family album without any details about who they are and where they planted this garden. Based on where the photo was placed in the album, it is a pretty good assumption that this is a Victory Garden – a source of corn, chard, onions, cabbage, time spent with other women, pride and joy.
During World War II, 44 percent of the nation’s produce was grown in home gardens. The Victory Gardens achieved the equivalent amount of produce from all U.S. farms combined. At the end of the war, industrialization took over, families moved to the suburbs to earn paychecks off the farm. Considering the time and attention involved, food became cheaper to buy than grow and our country went from producing 44 percent of its produce in home gardens during WWII to just 2 percent by the early 1990’s. I’m happy to learn from the National Gardening Association that the millennials are joining in large numbers with the die-hard members of past generations to make a comeback on the backyard garden. To their count, 1 in 3 Americans are again growing at least some of their food in their backyard.
This year my Victory Garden is struggling in cold and rain. By farmer folklore, it is important to plant potatoes on Good Friday in order to harvest them on the Fourth of July. With Good Friday being especially early this year and the spring being unusually cold, I couldn’t plant potatoes on time as there was snow on the ground. In the last 30 days, five inches of rain has fallen on my garden plot and temperatures have been averaging 20 degrees colder than normal.
In the roughly four nice days we’ve had so far this spring, I was able to plant a row of bee-loving wildflowers, a row of aphid-hating marigolds, four rows of peas, two rows of green beans, two rows of heirloom lettuce, one row of beets, a patch of cucumbers, six varieties of tomatoes, and four hills of potatoes. I’m hoping for Victory.