This newest battle seems to logically call for the resurrection of entity originally known as the Victory Garden. Victory Gardens were used to offset food shortages and free up commercial food supplies for troops, as well as a means of offering patriotic solidarity. Today "Victory Gardens" serve to help address the concerns families are facing relative to food security and affordability. These gardens also serve as an excellent means for offseting the negative impacgts of big agriculture, reducing the degradation of water supplies via chemical runoffs, eliminating usage of chemicals and pesticides, and decreasing carbon footprint by eliminating the need to transport food.
No space is too small. Containers, window boxes, spaces between walkways, side yards or any space where you can build well-draining soil can work. Make sure your location will receive a sufficient number of sunlight hours for the plants you have selected. Also consider how you will water your garden when selecting your location. Locations near buildings will allow for easy rain water collection, drip irrigation and of course, rainfall, are all ideal. Sometimes nature is going to need help, so also have watering buckets and garden hoses at the ready.
- Build healthy soil organically: composting with garden and food scraps and manure will yield valuable nutrients for you soil - and its free! Chicken manure makes an excellent fertilizer, but manure from any non-preator animal(s) can be cooked and used. Never use fresh manure or manure that inclues urine. It can be harmful to your produce and burn plants.
- Encourage beneficial insects: plants need pollinators. By planting different types of plants and plants that bloom at different times, you'll ensure longer harvests while helping support the food web.
- Check your growing zone to determine what crops grow in your area. Also, consider typical weather patterns in your area, both for temperature ranges and rainfall. If you live in an area with a short growing season, try growing produce that matures quickly. if you live in an arid zone, thirsty crops like cucumbers may be best avoided. Warmer areas may offer two distinct growing seasons - one in the spring and one in the fall. Colder climates will typically offer only one growing season.
- Procure heirloom seeds. These will allow you to harvest your own seeds for the next year without having to buy more seed. The last few years have seen some seeds become increasingly difficult to procure and as more people start their own gardens, edible starts can be difficult to buy from nurseries. Allow herbs and lettuces to bolt. Tomatoes can be allowed to mature and release on their own. One of our easiest hacks for vegetables is to feed mature produce to chickens, which then expel the seeds in their excrement. We then clean out the coop and spread it on the neighboring ground. The next growing season many of the plants will regenerate on their own.
- Star plants from seeds indoors. This could be in a sunny windowsill, a bright potting shed or a green house. This will give you a quicker start versus waiting for suitable temperatures. However, be sure to harden the plants by slowly getting them accustomed to life outdoors before transplanting them into the ground. Plants permanently grown in containers offer versatility relative to location, but be sure the container is of a manageable size relative to portability.
- Fencing helps protect your crops from damage. Damage could come from animals looking for an easy meal, or even accidentally foot traffic, as in the case with gardens located near walking paths.
- Trellising will help optimize your space by allowing you to grow up. This works well for vining plants such as beans, kiwis, some peas, and grapes.
- Use cages and supports to help protect plants from their own weight and weather. This includes use in containers.
- Use organic pest control. Often this is as simple as your hands, but checking plants and removing offending pests.
- Schedule time for your garden. Make a plan about how you will be able to spend time checking on your plants, watering them, maintaining their health and harvesting produce.