Most likely, (if you live in an older home) somewhere in your yard the grass is covering a former ‘War Garden’ from WW 1, or WW2.—What is a Victory Garden?
The efforts of America’s Victory Gardeners (home gardens) of WW 2 provided a tremendous amount of food for this nation— and for U.S. servicemen and women deployed in countries around the world. During WW 1, the United States initiated a successful national gardening effort known as “War Gardens.” Every homeowner (no matter how large their property was) was encouraged to plant a garden in their backyard– to help meet the food needs of their families.
This massive effort assured most commercially canned produce would be available for our soldiers. During this time, fuel was rationed and in short supply–The fuel consumed by produce (delivery) trucks was reduced substantially, as many families grew and preserved their own vegetables. In addition to this, the fuel consumed by various industries engaged in providing fresh and canned vegetables for our government personnel–and everyone else, was reduced as well.
WHO ORIGINATED THE TERM, VICTORY GARDENS?
“During WW 1, the United States fed the world!
The Origination of Victory Gardens: The National War Garden Commission has planned to replace the War Gardens of 1917-1918 with Victory Gardens in 1919.
The usefulness that the War Gardens have served has not ceased with the termination of the war’s hostilities. Years will elapse before our country’s food supply will again equal the demand, for we must not only provide for our own needs and for those of our Allies, but we are called on to supply the defeated nations to save their people from starvation.
1919: Victory Gardens are as essential as the War Gardens were at any period during the world’s conflict. In order that the interest aroused in gardening through the War Gardens may be perpetuated, the Gardeners’ Chronicle proposes that the Victory Gardens be developed with a view of permanency to include the cultivation of ornamental as well as edible plants to nourish the mind as well as the body.
To commemorate the great service rendered by the War Gardens during the world crisis, let all interested in gardening unite in creating a country-wide and lasting interest in it by encouraging the development of the Victory Gardens into.
“NEEDED: 10,000,000 VICTORY GARDENS TO HELP FEED THE WORLD—Must Have That Many to Keep Our Pledge to Hungry Europe.”
THERE were 5,285,000 war gardens in the United States in 1918. Why not make it 10,000,000 in 1919 and prove that the War Garden “was the chrysalis, the Victory Garden the butterfly? So asks Charles Lathrop Pack, head of the National War Garden Commission, in a call to the country to bestir itself and keep its pledge to ship 17,500,000 tons of food overseas by next July.
To meet the demands for food, America has two sources of supply. Food can be raised only on the farms, by those who make a business of production, and on the lands of our cities, towns and villages; It is obvious, therefore, that if we are to give the world more food the new supply which will make this possible must come from the only source; the small gardens in our urban and suburban communities; the area of these vacant lots in almost every city and town is amazing.
The year 1918 brought increasingly large response to the urgent demand that this slacker land be put to work. Backyard gardens and land previously unfilled yielded a food supply estimated by the National War Garden Commission, this newly created source of supply was a real factor in making it possible for other food to be released for shipment to the American troops in Europe and to the people of the Allied nations.
Gardening has been found to be a health measure. It has been used in the rehabilitation of convalescent soldiers. Around the hospitals in Europe, almost since the beginning of the war, vegetable plots have furnished the means for providing easy and pleasant outdoor work for convalescents, which acted as a tonic to their shattered nerves and bodies.
The arrangement recommended by the Commission for a community or neighborhood garden is to divide the land into lots sixty feet long and forty feet wide. Each lot should be surrounded by a two – foot path, to give passageway for gardeners whose plots are away from the outer boundaries. The plot shown in the accompanying diagram is 212 feet long and 188 feet wide, containing slightly less than an acre. It affords room for fifteen gardens of the aforesaid dimension. Each plot should be numbered, and they may be assigned to individual gardeners by the drawing of corresponding numbers. A valuable illustrated war gardening manual will be furnished by the National War Garden association. It contains complete directions for the guidance of gardeners, young and old. See more WW 1 War Garden Info
WORLD WAR 2 VICTORY GARDENS
Our War Gardening efforts were continued and re-established during WW 2. The rationing of fuel, tires and the most essential materials resurfaced as well. Americans again stepped up to the plate and planted their backyard gardens!
Worldwide Victory Gardens
Recipe for Victory : Food and Cooking in Wartime
This blog includes many interesting photos of WW2 gardens–including those on rooftops–And a garden placed in a bomb crater!
From this link, you can review (and download) an official (WW 2 era) Victory Garden Handbook.
Are you planning a Victory Garden? If so, now is the time to prepare the soil. If you want to save your seeds for replanting next year–you should consider planting non-Hybrid, and non-GMO seeds. Many gardeners prepare their soil with (per manufacturers’ recommendations) pelletized lime, followed by 12-12-12 fertilizer. Wood chips, leaves and dry cow/horse manure are great for your garden as well.
Psalm 104: 14 14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
Isaiah 55:10 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater;
Genesis 8: 22 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
What is ‘Back to Eden’ Gardening? A Justin Rhodes video
Paul Gautschi & his famous “Back To Eden” Garden
Sources for this information.—National Association of Gardeners; The Gardener’s Chronicle of America; 1918; American Home Gardens; The National War Garden Commission; 1919; YouTube. This entry was originally posted by N27WC May 2, 2011, and updated April 24, 2018.