Victory Gardens – Grow your own food year ’round

Straw Bale Garden (Wikipedia)

Straw Bale Garden (Wikipedia)

by Catherine Haug, Nov 6, 2013 (photo, right, from Wikipedia)

The term ‘Victory Garden’ came to life in early 20th century, as a way for people on the home front to support our military overseas during WWI, and also as a way to feed their families during the wartime food shortages. Gardens big and tiny sprouted up all over the nation. Victory gardens again came to life during WWII.

But our wars since then – Korea, Viet Nam, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan – have not prompted people to the same level of support and home-front pride. I wonder, why is that?

Today, however, a new war is bringing people back to the soil and seed: the battle against GMOs, obesity and other diet-related disorders. It’s time to take up your spade and hoe.

But, it’s winter! you cry.

Growing in the off-season or in small spaces

As Mercola (1) points out, you don’t need an outdoor garden to grow healthful sprouts – you can grow them in your own kitchen. He recommends sunflower, pea, and broccoli sprouts, citing that their “nutrient content can increase as much as 30 times the original value within just a few days of sprouting.

ESP’s very first gathering was on growing sprouts: see Sprouting & Juicing, by Robbin Leingang, 6/25/08 – can you believe that was over 5 years ago?

Mercola has lots of good suggestions if you are short on garden space during the growing season, too. He recommends “Alex Mitchell’s book, The Edible Balcony, in which she details how to grow fresh produce in small spaces.” One suggestion:

“instead of flowers, window boxes can hold herbs, greens, radishes, scallions, bush beans, strawberries, chard, and chiles. You can also maximize your horizontal space by adding hanging planters and wall-mounted planters. Just start small, and as you get the hang of it, add another container of something else. Before you know it, large portions of your meals could come straight from your own edible garden.”

I have a very small raised bed garden: 4 feet by 10 feet, which is just perfect for my family of one. I also have a few fruit trees, and last year added a 4 feet by 9 feet raised-bed raspberry garden.

Another great idea is to join a local community garden. We have one in the Bigfork area, in Ferndale, on the Episcopal Church property. If this interests you, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the garden coordinators.

Now is the time to plan your outdoor garden for 2014. And when next fall comes around, check out the summary of Ronny’s October 2013 presentation on Fall Garden Preparation by Ronny Honthaas, October 16, 2013.  (Or as Ronny calls it, “Starting your  garden in the fall).


  1. Mercola: Washington State Votes to Label GMO Foods

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