Green lush garden

What is a victory garden? Should you start one?

While self-isolating, chances are you’re looking out your window and thinking about all of the amazing things you can do with all of your free time (that is, if you’re not still going to work as an essential worker) since you’re no longer visiting stores or going out on the weekend. One way that you can pass the time is through gardening. If you have any interest in gardening, you may be wanting to try your hand at a so-called “victory garden”.

You’ve probably heard of the “victory garden” on social media, given many people are participating. Between that and bread making, it seems it’s a popular go-to activity, likely because it is a hands-on activity that can educate yourself and you can do it with children, too. But what exactly is a victory garden? Well, a victory garden, sometimes called a war garden or just a food garden, is a garden full of more than just the standard flower-fare. Victory gardens often contain herbs, vegetables, and other useful items. Victory gardens were first seen all over the world during war times that would both help to boost rations (you wouldn’t need to rely on shops when you’re growing your own food) and morale. It’s amazing what a little outside time in the sunshine can do to improve your mood!

Why would you start a victory garden, you may wonder. During the age of this pandemic, nowhere is truly safe, and we’re shrouded in a lot of uncertainty. Taking into your hands a small greenhouse full of edible plants can help you learn, keep your mind occupied, and give you a grip on something that you can tangibly control in a realistic fashion. Plus, victory gardens just look great. Imagine walking into your own little greenhouse surrounded by your edible beauties that you grew, pulling out a chair, and having a cup of tea in this calming and peaceful space!

Now, we understand that not everyone has room or money for a greenhouse, so let’s talk about some varieties of victory gardens that anyone can participate in.

The Windowsill Garden

Yellow windowbox with burgundy flowers in it, mounted against a blue wall
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

If you have a window that opens, you may be interested in installing a flower box. As long a your window gets some sun and isn’t completely shadowed by your building, you can enjoy the benefits of a window victory garden with a modest window box. Many people grow herbs from starters or even from seed in flower boxes, and there’s a lot of success to be had in a windowsill garden. Do a lot of cooking with herbs? All you have to do is reach out the window to get some fresh ones!

The Inside Garden

Seedings popping out of some peat pots
Image by J Garget from Pixabay

Not everyone lives on a plot of land that they have any sort of say over. Some may not even be allowed to hang anything from their windows. But, never fear, you can start a victory garden right from the comfort of your home. As long as you have a dedicated spot, some sunlight (or a grow light will work too!), and have adequate protection against nibbling pets (especially cats) you can start a small inside garden. Most people opt to grow herbs in their inside garden, but others enjoy mushrooms or other small growers. You may not be able to grow tomatoes inside, but you can certainly start some basil or rosemary.

The Deckbox Garden

Have a small deck area by your back door? If you have a railing, you can purchase a railing sitting box to place your victory garden in. Of course, you can also grow on the deck itself, but if you don’t have a lot of room for foot traffic, you may want to opt for the railing instead. Due to the limitations of the size of the boxes, you may want to stick to herbs, but we’ve seen some successes with tomatoes as well. Having your victory garden on the deck is a convenient spot — need something? Just go out the back door and grab it!

The Raised Garden

Vegetables and herbs inside of a wicker basket
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

If you’re allowed some space outside, or you own your home, you can likely start a raised garden bed. The benefit to a raised garden bed is that you won’t need to kneel down or bend over as much as if it were on the ground, less animals are likely to get to your plants, and you can control more of what kind of social comes in and out of your garden area. Choosing a location for your raised garden is important, so ensure that you’re not choosing an area that is 100% shade throughout the day (plants like tomatoes need a lot of sunlight!), isn’t difficult for you to access daily, and isn’t overrun with impossible to remove weeds like Japanese knotweed. Some weeds are OK, but keep in mind certain invasive types of weeds will grow straight through your raised garden, no matter how much weed fabric you put down prior. You may also want to consider if you have a lot of wildlife in your area that it may be a good idea to cover it with netting to ensure no grazers come by and destroy your plants (bunnies and deer are notorious for this! We’ve even had beavers strip the bark off of our apple trees).

The Full-Blown Greenhouse Garden

Looking through a window of a greenhouse at the plants inside
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes, so picking out a small, modest greenhouse that will fit your needs is actually less expensive than you think. You can purchase a small 4×4 foot raised greenhouse with storage capacity beneath it for as little as $229. You can even purchase larger, plastic greenhouses that can be collapsed and removed in the winter time for as little as $270. What kind of things do you want to do in your greenhouse? How many plants are you planning to put in it? Do you want to use your greenhouse for any sort of entertaining or backyard respite from nipping bugs? These things will determine what kind of style greenhouse and size you should consider. For example, a sunbubble geometric greenhouse is certainly cute for both plants and entertaining, but can be poorly vented and may require some adjustments on your part. It’s also not rated for snow, so you’d need to collapse it every year. Take all of these ideas into consideration if you’re planning to start a victory garden in a greenhouse!

Are you going to start a victory garden this year? Let us know in the comments below about what you’re choosing to do and how!

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