If, like us, you’re dreaming about things getting back to ‘normal’, think again. It won’t be the same ol’ normal but a new one, and in that spirit, perhaps we all need to look at life a little differently.
For instance, I’m bemoaning the fact that we didn’t put in a winter-to-spring vegetable garden last year. By the end of summer 2019, we were tired, the soil was too, and we took a pass. Now, I’m like a kid at Christmas when I score a delivery window for fresh produce from the store.
With that in mind, I changed the vegetable garden plan this year. Usually we direct seed a little bit of this and that, plus buy some plants at the local garden center. (Remember wandering around a garden center with no plan other than to see what grabs you? I miss that…)
This year, we’re thinking more about sustaining our produce habit than personal ease. I gave up seed starting a few years back because we were always traveling for part of the spring sprouting months and I had no way to reliably water and care for seedlings for key weeks. This year, I’m at it again.
The other change we’re making is starting what we need versus buying plants. Things change daily here in Oregon. One day, the garden center is curbside and delivery only. The next day, you can come in but limited people, limited help, and no wandering. The next day, they may be closed.
I bought seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, all of which we planned to buy. I expanded our direct seed options too. More on all that in a later post, though…
History of Victory Gardens
During World Wars I and II, people turned their private and public spaces into food-producing gardens. Also called ‘war gardens’ and ‘food gardens for defense’, they sprang up in front yards in place of lawns, on the sides of roads to make use of medians, and on public spaces from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to the Commons in Boston.
People came together to tend these gardens for their own use and for their communities’ benefit, to the tune of 41% of the produce required during World War II. Gardening was a uniting activity, something many had moved away from as the U.S. left the farm and urbanized. From it grew a whole new interest in gardening in all its forms, one that I remember vividly as a child, from my parents and grandparents and their reliance on their patches in the backyard.
Is this World War III?
While the previous world wars were fights between divided countries, this one’s different. This is a worldwide war against a common enemy we can’t see with our naked eyes, one we can’t identify by color of skin or religious beliefs, a predator due to surpass the total body count of all humankind wars, sad to say.
What’s different it – THIS WAR UNITES ALL OF US. Or at least is should. If we don’t all do our part, one in 100 of the people each of us knows dies. That number could be higher if we’re flagrant about flaunting our special-little-snowflake status and thinking we can do what we want. I won’t share what I think about people who do that, because I’m guessing you know and share my view.
What’s Different This Time
Perhaps the greatest difference between past Victory Gardens and the ones we need this year is how community comes together. We can’t congregate and till the soil together. Seed sharing requires social distancing. We can’t stand shoulder to shoulder, staring at a bug or sprout and discuss what it is or why it’s growing as it does.
But WE CAN UNITE by planting a victory garden. We’ll all benefit in special ways, from being outdoors in air fresher than any we’ve seen for decades, setting out seeds and plants that will produce riches to keep us healthier, and perhaps, just perhaps, help many deal with the boredom of suddenly having their go-go-busyness lives in pause mode.
Start a seed. Buy a plant (safely, of course) and watch it grow. Find a new way to prepare the bounty it gives you. Your body, Mother Earth and your mental health will thank you.
#VictoryGarden2020 – pass it on!