With people staying home more during the coronavirus pandemic, they are taking up hobbies. Many people have started to plant gardens reminiscent of the WWI and WWII era victory gardens. Victory gardens were planted on private and public land during war times to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by war efforts. Victory gardens were considered a morale booster since people that planted them felt a sense of patriotism and a sense of contribution to the cause with their labor. According to history.com, at the time more than 40% of all produce consumed was grown in these gardens. 

Since food costs are rising and some of you might be finding some extra time on your hands (recognizing some have less!), now is a great time to save some money and take up a highly satisfying hobby like a 2020 Victory Garden! According to Google Trends, searches for “growing vegetables from scraps” were up 4,650% from year’s past. Gardening also gets you some exercise and feel-good outdoor time. My family usually plants a garden each year and we noticed while we were looking for this year’s supplies that many of our local stores were sold out of soil and the plant selection was limited. We still found quite a bit to plant but never did find strawberries! It might be a little late to start your garden from seeds, but many places still have seedlings that can be put in the ground.

Pick an area to grow

Quite a few people have some sort of outdoor space, even if it may be small. It is a good idea to start with just a few plants so you are not overwhelmed. If you only have a window sill, try starting with herbs that can be dried and stored for future use. If a patio area is your only option to grow, try starting with tomatoes, strawberries, or even some climbing beans that would take advantage of vertical space. You’ll need to avoid any plants that need a lot of room to grow such as pumpkins or other squash. If you have a large backyard you might consider several planter boxes. You’ll need to do a little research on how large the plants you are choosing get so you know how close together you can place them to take advantage of all of your growing room.  Don’t forget to check how much sunlight your area will get so you can plant in the best spot and pick the best crops. In my experience, most plants like at least 6 hrs of full sun.

Plant what grows well in your area

The best tip is to grow what does well in your area. Tomatoes are hearty and grow in most regions and might be a good plant to start your victory garden. If it is too late to start your summer garden, you can start prepping for your fall garden. Check what growing zone you are in on https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov. You can use this info to find out the best crops for your area. Some plants have tags indicating what zones they do best in. It is also a good idea to go to a local nursery or greenhouse and talk to the knowledgeable employees there. Just make sure to do your research and plant the crops that will do the best in your area.

Plant what will grow a lot

If you don’t have a lot of room to grow or just want a lot of veggies to be able to preserve for later, plant a prolific plant. Potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and zucchini are all good producers and relatively easy to grow. We have planted most of these as well as a blackberry bush that just takes off. My family plans on eating what we can, trading some, and storing the rest.

Store your extras and wow your guests!

This is the best way to save money and stock up for future use of the bounty from your garden. 

Organic spaghetti sauce and salsa are expensive! So make your own and store it for later. You can freeze it or preserve it by “canning”. Have an abundance of zucchini? Make zucchini bread or prep noodles and freeze them. What about the extra kale from your fall garden? Make kale chips and vacuum seal them for a yummy snack. I love cooking for guests six months after my garden is done and having them comment on how good my spaghetti or enchilada sauce is. Then I get to tell them I grew it!

We love to hear from you! Please share what you are planting in your victory garden. 

From all of us at IGG Software, be safe and be well!

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