Plant Your Coronavirus Victory Garden

Plant your own Coronavirus Victory Garden. Now is the time to get busy, a time when many of us are home social distancing (if you are reading this in March-April 2020). And it’s springtime. Time to plant things! As farmers, this time of year always springs up with sprouting crops, fresh succulent greens, and a full crop of hope for the season ahead. Every year we are motivated by big plans and goals, high aspirations and good faith that the seeds we sow will grow into nourishing food for our family and community. During the pandemic of COVID-19 in particular, we could all use a bit of good faith and hope for the season ahead.

Victory gardens were popular during both World Wars in the United States. In response to promotional posters, “3 million new garden plots were planted in 1917 and more than 5.2 million were cultivated in 1918” and up to 20 million victory gardens were planted between 1942-44. ( 20 million victory gardens! Can you imagine all those gardens, all that potential and growth–in yards, containers, schoolyards, the company green space? The promotional effort was so popular they turned to educating people on how to preserve their harvests by canning and drying crops. Numbers like that strengthened local food security, garden by garden.

Victory gardens raise morale, as well as crops. I feel like we could use some morale raising during COVID-19. There is so much uncertainty. We don’t know if there will be food shortages or economic changes that would impact food purchasing power. Growing a garden could nurture confidence and a greater sense of food security, as well as a source of healthy fresh food. In the immediate moment, it provides a productive therapeutic project, a focus, fresh air and a meditative activity. Gardening can be a solitary and healing project, perfect for social distancing. It is a welcome distraction from the news and social media. Gardening therapy is real. Let the zen of the garden nurture you as you grow your own food. states that in the victory gardens of the 1900’s, “some of the most popular produce grown included beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, turnips, squash and Swiss chard.” I’d be happy with the same lot in my harvest basket, now in 2020. We grow all these crops and more at our farm in Maryland. I’m here to help home gardeners grow some of their own food in their own gardens too. Let’s get started! 

written by Ilene White Freedman for Mother Earth News published on 4/1/2020

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