During this pandemic, you may have started doing things you never imagined doing before: homeschooling your children, working from home, canceling your trips, and preparing more meals at home. We have also struggled to find our favorite items in the grocery stores. Some of our favorites have been nearly nonexistent, especially in the produce aisle. Schmidty and I are gardeners. We love the taste of fresh cucumbers, green beans, and the bite of that first tomato of the season. We typically order our seeds in March, but this year they were held up in shipping or back-ordered. It seems many people are now starting their gardens to provide for their families. Are the Victory Gardens from World War II making a comeback?
Victory Gardens began when, like now, you could only find certain items in the grocery store. Many Americans started planting vegetables, fruit, and herb gardens to supplement their rations. Victory Gardens became a regular part of daily life for many families because, along with enhancing their food source, it was also a morale booster for families as they worked together to provide for their family.
With the food industry struggling to maintain production, along with prices on the rise, seed companies and garden centers are flourishing! Gardening is a $50+ billion industry! According to the National Gardening Association, more than one-third of US households are now growing a portion of their food, the highest level in a decade. Gardening can result in dramatic cost savings for families, and with recent layoffs, everyone can benefit from saving money. The money saved and the comfort of knowing you have fresh vegetables to feed your family is priceless.
It may be a bit late to start planting this year, but it is never too late to plan for next. Here are a few things to consider before you start a garden:
- What to plant? Do you like squash but only eat it occasionally? Then maybe squash is not the plant for you. Plant what your family will eat, as not to create waste. Choose vegetables that can easily be frozen or canned if you produce too much. Fresh frozen green beans in January. Yum!
- Small yard? You can plant many vegetables where you would traditionally grow flowers or shrubs. Some vegetables and herbs can do just as well when grown in containers.
- New to gardening? The National Gardening Association has a variety of great resources to get you started.
How much can you save by growing your produce? On average, a half-pound of vegetables is produced per square foot of the garden, which could mean 300 pounds of fresh produce worth $600 annually! In addition to the financial aspects of growing your garden, the health benefits of eating nutritious, wholesome food, being outside, and playing in the dirt are good for the soul and our mental health. It’s a win-win!