Americans originally planted victory gardens during the first and second World Wars, when the U.S. government appealed to citizens to plant fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens in their own back yards, front lawns or rooftops. These gardens encouraged self-reliance and helped lower the prices of produce used to feed troops. If you are seeking ways to save money and help the environment, consider starting your own victory garden. You will have your favorite fresh produce at the ready and cut down the environmental costs of processing and transporting these items.
Determine your hardiness zone, soil type, and first and last frost dates. Contact your local cooperative extension office, where someone can advise you on performing a soil test and tell you the zone in which you live as well as frost dates. This information will help you choose fruits and vegetables that grow well in your region. It will also inform you of the best times to plant and harvest.
Weed the area where you want to plant a victory garden. Starting your crops in a weed-free spot will help you control weeds in the future. It will also help you to provide healthier soil for your plants, as weeds sap nutrients from the earth.
Start from seed. Not only are seeds far less expensive than small plants, but also you can start the seeds indoors for your victory garden long before the ground and weather are suitable. This can be especially helpful if the area in which you live has a limited growing season. Plant the seeds in small pots indoors, and once they have sprouted and the last freeze has passed, you can transplant them to your garden.
Build or buy a compost bin. Compost provides your produce garden with rich nutrients. It helps your soil take in and release water more readily as well, which will help your garden thrive. Composting also means less waste dumped into landfills. In addition, it is an organic way to fertilize your garden.
Aerate, water and weed the soil. Aerating and turning the soil regularly encourages root growth for strong, healthy plants. Make sure your plants are getting adequate irrigation. Remove weeds promptly so that they do not steal vital nutrients from the soil. These practices will help ensure your victory garden produces delicious, nourishing fruits, herbs and veggies.