Whether you live in the country, the suburbs, or in a downtown loft, you can plant a victory garden to give you fresh produce all season. In the past, our ancestors depended on their gardens and livestock for food. Buying everything at a grocery store was out of the question.
During World War II, when some food items were rationed, folks showed their patriotism and grew victory gardens. From herbs to fruits, to any kind of vegetable imaginable, these gardens kept the nation busy outside and put food in their pantry.
The recent farm-to-table movement was commonplace for past generations. There were few worries about pesticides, and GMOs had not been invented yet. Each season brought a bountiful harvest as fruits of the families’ labor were gathered from their gardens and fields.
Are you frustrated with seeing mediocre produce on the supermarket shelves? Many of these items are shipped in from overseas, where inspection may be dubious. You may also be concerned with dangerous pesticides and genetically modified produce.
Why not plant a victory garden with your family? When you plant healthy veggies, fruits, and herbs, you can be sure that it’s organic. There’s nothing like preparing a meal with produce fresh from your garden.
Planting Your Victory Garden Masterpiece
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t have a big plot for a garden in the country. Did you know that you can grow a victory garden in the city on a deck or small terrace? Try these 15 healthy plants that are easy to grow in your victory garden this season.
It’s hard to believe that many people in 16th century Europe thought that tomatoes were poisonous since it’s in the same family as deadly nightshade. Fortunately, they followed suit with the rest of the world, and the tomato has been treasured ever since.
Tomato plants come in varieties for any size garden. If you have more space, then you can grow tomatoes in bushes, or ones that vine around stakes. You can also grow cherry or other small bush varieties in pots on your patio.
Use your tomato harvest to make delicious homemade salsa, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, juice, or just freshly sliced. Most tomato varieties have a long season, so you will have more than enough to share. Tomato plants crave sunshine, and they need to be watered regularly.
This venerable member of the gourd family was favored by the Ancient Egyptians, who poked them with reeds to drink their refreshing juice. Cucumbers are loaded with vitamins and minerals and can be used as a beauty treatment for your skin.
If you enjoy these yummy fruits, they are simple to raise and harvest. Like tomatoes, they are available in vining or small bush varieties. Slice them up for refreshing salads or preserve them with your favorite pickle recipes.
Here is another tasty relative of gourds that your family will love to grow in your victory garden. Zucchinis are renowned for their solid flesh that is delicious when steamed, stir-fried, or added to a veggie soup.
If you want to sneak an extra veggie portion into your kids’ meal, then this is the one to use. It takes on the flavor profile of whatever it’s mixed with. Zucchini is easy to grow and usually produce bumper crops. You may have so many that you can keep the neighborhood supplied. Use some of your harvests to make iconic Italian soups or French dishes like ratatouille.
Would you believe that the “Queen of Berries” isn’t really a berry after all? Strawberries are an aggregate fruit, which has one internal seed. Regardless of their botanical nature, this luscious red fruit is an American staple.
Plant them in your home garden in a square patch or in terra cotta pots that bear their name. Imagine going outside a picking a basket of sun-kissed berries for pies, preserves, or to cut up over shortcake. They are a sweet treat that you can feel good about your children eating.
Are you bored with the bland bags of chopped salad greens from the grocery store? Taste what you’ve been missing and grow lettuce in your yard or patio pots. It is one of the easiest veggies to grow, and it requires minimal care.
You can choose from the countless head or leaf varieties. Another great reason to grow this delicious green is that you can re-sow it for several harvests during the season. Build your favorite salads or use them to dress sandwiches for healthy meals.
Peas are a delicious legume that is in the bean family. Kids love them because they can eat them fresh from the vine. Since peas bloom from vines, you can grow them attractively on lattices, poles, or up string tied from a pot to a porch rail.
Use tender sweet peas in stir-fries or fresh in salads. You can also shell them from the pod and steam them for the perfect side dish. Peas are also a nutritious addition to soups and stews.
Rabbits aren’t the only ones who love to crunch on these tasty root vegetables. Not only can you grow the usual orange variety, but also red, purple, and even white carrots. They are easy enough for children to raise during harvest.
You should plant carrots in rows in your home garden, or even in a small flower bed. Some smaller carrots can be planted in rectangular pots on your terrace or porch. They add the perfect crunch to salads and are loaded with Vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Why spend a fortune on herbs at the grocery store when you can quickly grow them at home? Growing herbs has been a favorite past time for centuries. Rosemary, a woody Middle Eastern herb, makes an attractive potted plant you can grow inside or outside.
9. Sweet Basil
Where would your favorite Italian dishes be without plenty of sweet basil? This aromatic herb flourishes in your garden or pots and will keep multiplying as you clip it. Once you see how simple it is to grow, you may consider adding other tasty varieties.
The smell and taste of this popular mint are instantly recognizable and have been used in confections and home remedies since ancient times. Peppermint grows quickly and abundantly, so it’s best raised in containers, so it doesn’t crowd out other plants.
Whether you like the scalding hot ones or the mild banana varieties, peppers have a cult following that goes back to the ancient Mesa Americans. They come in a kaleidoscope of colors and sizes.
If you are raising a home garden for children, it’s best to stick with the milder peppers. Spice it up a little for the adults with easy-to-raise jalapenos, hot banana, or habaneros. Eat them fresh or preserve them as pickles.
You needn’t have acres of land to grow a plentiful harvest of corn. A small backyard victory garden is perfect for raising a few stalks of your favorite corn variety. Your kids would enjoy planting popcorn or colorful ornamental varieties in the garden.
Corn is scrumptiously roasted on the cob or sliced off into kernels. Use your homegrown corn in soup, stews, or even zesty salsa. Sweet corn is also simple to preserve by canning or freezing.
Little green onions are the darling crop of spring. They are some of the first veggies to be harvested for tasty salads. Plant onion starts in rows and watch them grow to maturity before you know.
You can also raise larger varieties such as red, yellow, or sweet white onions. Other tasty crops in the onion family include shallots, ramps, and chives. While you’re at it, consider growing garlic, another darling of home gardens.
If you have any gardening experience, then you know that potatoes are grown in mounds, often having a large patch of their own. Did you also know that you can grow your favorite potato varieties in large plastic bins?
Drill drainage holes in inexpensive plastic bins and add quality soil and fertilizer. Plant your seed potatoes in the dirt and keep them weeded and watered. After you see the potato vines sprout, you can dig out a whole bag of potatoes from each bin.
Don’t pay those high prices for pumpkins in the fall. Instead, help your kids grow a pumpkin patch at home. Pumpkins are planted in mid-summer and require a lot of growing space. However, smaller varieties can easily be raised in your backyard.
Pumpkins come in many colors and sizes and are perfect for pies, roasted seeds, and for grinning Jack o’ lanterns during Halloween. Some are as small as tomatoes, while others can weigh hundreds of pounds. They provide a lot of vitamins and fiber to your diet.
Final Thoughts on Joining the Victory Garden Trend
Keep your family busy and healthy this year and plant a garden. Consider raising these and any other tasty fruits or vegetables you love. Not only are you kind to Mother Earth, but you are spending quality time with your family.