By now, I am sure all of you have heard about the revival of the Victory Garden. During WWI and WWII Victory Gardens were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens that were planted at homes and public parks all over the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany during both wars. From coast to coast, even public land was utilized, with gardens installed in both the Boston Commons and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. People plowed front yards, lawns, back yards, flower gardens and vacant lots to grow their own vegetables.
How much food were they able to grow?
In 1943 these gardens produced over 40% of all of the vegetable produce that was consumed in the nation. In addition to aiding the war effort, the Victory Gardens were also considered a “morale booster” (and who couldn’t use a little boost during these challenging times?)
Modern day edible gardening produces its own victories. Growing your own food decreases your reliance on corporate food systems, gets you outside into the natural environment, and best of all gives you great things to eat right outside your front door.
Setting up your own kitchen garden is easier than you think. I did a little leg work for you to help get you started. Not all of these places are in the neighborhood, but they are all locally owned businesses.
Make sure to choose the sunniest spot in your yard since most vegetables need 6-8 hours of sunshine. Utilizing raised beds makes growing food easier than in a traditional row garden put in the ground. These types of beds allow you to make the most of a small space. Here is a link on how to build your own raised bed.
Dunn Lumber is still open for business, and they are taking orders over the phone and have curbside pick up. They do have reduced hours right now and are closing at 3PM (also not open on Sundays). You can measure your garden space and order your boards cut to the size.
Soil is a critical element for a successful kitchen garden. I like to use 33% top soil, 33% compost, and 33% carpenters sand, then add 1% of a soil boosting element like worm castings or a balanced fertilizer, and you will have a 100% blend. Stoneway Hardware is open and has these bagged materials available.
For a larger space, you might not be sure how much soil you need. Dirt Exchange near the Ballard Bridge has a great yardage calculator on their website, and they sell their own pre-made vegetable mix for pick up or delivery. Walt’s Organics in Magnolia is another great source for natural fertilizers and other soil amendments.
To make sure you get the most from your kitchen garden, think about what you like to eat and choose those crops for planting. Here is a great free garden planning site that can help you determine how much you can fit in your space.
Unfortunately – Tilth Alliance’s Edible Plant Sale (my favorite Wallingford event) will not be held in person this year due to the statewide stay-at-home order. Instead, this year it will continue in an on-line format, May 1 – 5, with pick up at the Rainier Beach Wetlands location. Let’s continue to support his great community organization! Here are their plant lists.
In the meantime, seeds can be found at Tweedy and Pop Hardware, and if you want to get a jump on things, you can use plant starts. Both Urban Earth Nursery and Sky Nursery are offering on line ordering and curbside pick up and have quite a few edible plants to choose from.
Creating a garden outside can really make you feel like you get to leave your house – even if you can’t. It is great exercise and a nice science project for the kids! All great garden designs, start with a great consult. Let me know if you have any questions and we can get you Good to Grow your very own Victory Garden!