The resurgence of the victory garden is springing up all over the country. In fact, according to Google Trends, searches related to “growing a garden” skyrocketed starting in March, and the specific term “growing vegetables from scraps” was up 4,650% over a typical year’s search rate.
One consequence of being forced to isolate at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is that many now have the time, and volition, to focus on home projects. With the weather getting warmer, people are stepping outside and taking up gardening, many for the first time. Concerns about food prices and availability are pushing many to take the first step towards greater food security, a home vegetable garden.
Right now, there are many community-driven reasons to start a COVID-19 victory garden. By growing your produce, for instance, you leave food items available on grocery shelves to supply those who can’t grow their own. With a supply of your own freshly-grown produce, you’ll cut down on the number of trips to the market, which will keep you, and those around you, safer.
Gardening is also environmentally friendly. For instance, homegrown produce uses free available solar power, rather than diesel-driven trucks, to get nutritious food on the dinner table. And these gardens, both flower and vegetable benefit critical local bee populations, which, according to a White House fact sheet, accounts for more than 15 billion dollars of the US economy through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.
For those of you just wetting your green thumbs for the first time (or you veterans who want a refresher on the basics), here are some tips for amplifying your victory garden efforts:
- If you’re new to gardening, don’t try to take on too much, too soon. Keep your initial efforts manageable. Starting your new hobby with a raised garden bed is a great way to begin. If space is a concern, Kim Hooper offers alternative ways of achieving a victory garden through container gardening on her show CaliKim Garden & Home on Smart. Healthy. Green. Living.
- Have a plan. Figure out what you want to put in your garden, evaluating the space and sun exposure requirements of each item. Many times having fewer plants will yield more.
- Remember, you don’t have to have a big back yard to start a garden. You can start a container garden using bush-type varieties of vegetables. Even a sunny window sill or counter can yield results with herbs and ivy plants.
- Whatever the size of your garden plot, don’t go it alone. Learn from experienced gardeners who have been cultivating flowers, fruits, and vegetables for years. How? Make use of a curated how-to video library to get vetted, high-quality instructions on the specific gardening projects you’re planning.
- Keep it organic. Don’t pollute plants, beneficial insects, or your soil with toxic chemical compounds. Garden pests can generally be controlled using natural methods.
- Consider growing in strategic partnerships with others in your neighborhood or community. This way, you can share and swap produce from each other’s gardens and secure more variety for your family meals.
- Bumper crop? Why not donate surplus bounty to your local food pantries – to help any of your neighbors facing current food scarcity.
- Record your success! Keep notes on what worked and didn’t in your garden. What you found most rewarding and most challenging. Use this journal to make changes in your garden for the next growing season.
Reinvent the concept of the victory garden. It is rewarding, straightforward and fun and you can start growing your own plants and flowers after doing some basic research and planning. Explore all the many fun and varied approaches to gardening, focus on the foods and plants you love, and draw inspiration for your garden. It’s a worthwhile pastime in which you can share the fruits of your efforts with family, friends, and even needy strangers.