Monday, June 13, 2011

A Victory Garden

Victory gardens, to the best of my knowledge (and that of Wikipedia) date back to around the first World War. Simply conceived, they provided a way for the country to provide food for itself while simultaneously allowing gardeners to feel empowered by their contribution of labor and produce to the overall war effort.

These gardens were often planted wherever there was space – in backyards, on apartment rooftops, at work, or in random vacant lots. In fact, the essence of the movement is not far off from Aaron's Sniper Planting. And it's quite reminiscent of the trend going on today. An excellent article in the LA Times describes the re-emergence of these gardens two and a half years ago.

Our victory garden is still in its fledgling state. This year, we're making an attempt at sugar snap peas, green beans, romaine lettuce, butter crunch lettuce, spinach, carrots, garlic, shallots, potatoes, tomatoes, a  hodge-podge collection of herbs, and little pot of strawberries. That sounds like a lot at first, but currently our entire garden consists of a 4x8 foot bed, a 1x4 foot bed, a garbage can of potatoes and a bunch of terra cotta and wooden pots. We've also planted two pear trees and a peach tree with hopes for the future.

Although this is our first real attempt at a victory garden, already we've felt small swells of pride at each miniature victory. The first garlic shoots to push through the ground. The garbage can full of potato vines. Snap peas growing taller than the poles that we provided for them. We haven't harvested a single bite, but the garden has already served a purpose in bringing our attention to local seasons, when things taste the best, and why various preservation techniques were created.

It's inspiring to build life in such a literal fashion and watch it grow. I'd encourage everyone to try to grow something, be it one pot of herbs or an entire landscape of beautiful edibles. Don't fret if it doesn't work out perfectly the first time, goodness knows we've already hit some roadblocks with ours. It's all a part of the process and what will make the eventual success be even that much more of a triumph.

1 comment: