Feeling the urge to plant a vegetable garden?
During World War I and World War II, citizens were encouraged to plant victory gardens as part of the war effort so that more food could be sent overseas to the troops. Even the White House had a Victory Garden at the urging of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Because many of these Victory Gardeners were city-dwellers, the government created posters, fliers, and handbooks to help these citizens make good use of their patches of soil.
Gardening clearly takes more than just common sense. In the Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook (below), a comic strip gives a dozen examples of problems that neophytes might encounter!
New gardeners were encouraged to plan ahead, but not start too soon, pick a good location, consider crop height, and not to waste soil or seed.
Despite these challenges, by 1945 about 40% of the nation’s vegetables came from these gardens.
In Boston, some of the 49 acres used as Victory Gardens across the city survived in the Fenway area as the Richard D. Parker Memorial Victory Gardens, which are still in use today.
The National Archives in Seattle found these tips in a Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook—and they are still (mostly!) valid. Check back in August, and we’ll have some suggestions for ways to preserve your bounty!