Growing New Things: Victory Gardens After The Covid Pandemic

By Nikki Tilley | May 27, 2021
Image by ZoiaKostina
by Nikki Tilley
May 27, 2021

Victory Gardens during the World War era were simply average vegetable gardens grown by average citizens. Coming in various shapes and sizes, they were grown on farms, rooftops, and in in backyards and containers. They weren’t much different than the edible gardens we still grow today. In fact, as we were all hit with the Covid pandemic last year, Victory Gardens made a comeback, this time as a way to fill time during quarantine while providing low cost, healthy food.

I have always tried to include edibles in the garden, even if it’s only a few things in a container. Some years I grow a lot, others just a little. Covid hasn’t changed that, but it did change what I grow – and why.

Exploring and Growing New Things

With Covid lurking around every corner, it became important for me to grow other types of produce, since going into stores of any kind was out of the question. I didn’t even feel comfortable stopping by roadside produce stands. I’ve taken favorably to curbside pickup of my groceries during this time, but there’s just some things on my list I don’t trust having others choose for me – my fruit or veggies.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to pick out a proper melon and let’s not even get started on bananas. I like mine firm and somewhat green, not half mushy. Things like this and other crops that I wouldn’t ordinarily grow, I’ll now try my hand at. The bananas, however, must wait until I feel comfortable enough to return to the store and choose my favorites since I don’t live in a region where I can grow my own fruit. I do have a hardy banana plant that is gorgeous, but alas, it doesn’t fruit. If ever it did, that would be a victory! Gardening, overall, hasn’t changed that much though.

I still grow all the usuals – tomatoes are a must have. Can’t forget peppers, though lately mine haven’t favored well. Always include cucumbers, squash and potatoes. Usually have onions and garlic handy, leaf lettuce too. I love me some kale, so that’s mixed in the ornamental garden somewhere. Hubby enjoys his radishes, so I like to grow a few of those. And I always have culinary herbs scattered throughout the garden:

There’s strawberries and blueberries growing every season. We have a cherry tree and mulberry.  

Since Covid I’ve added a few more things”¦ beans, pumpkins (mostly for the dog cause she loves them), beets for my husband (I hate them but willing to try the greens), broccoli, spinach, rhubarb, and Brussels sprouts which I have discovered are way better fresh picked. I’m adding more lessor known herbs for their medicinal properties and taking advantage of the benefits provided by many of my ornamentals, like echinacea and roses. I’ve even done the same for some of the weeds I would normally be cursing and fighting each season. I’ve learned to embrace them for their usefulness rather than fighting their presence. For instance, I’m leaving much of the chickweed now and harvesting this edible weed instead. Dandelions have always been welcome but now I’m also enjoying the benefits of plantain, purslane and woodsorrel.

All in all, I’d say that my concept of victory gardening has changed. I may still be growing vegetables (and fruit) but I’ve learned more about other edibles and herbal remedies too. Back in the day our ancestors relied on these plants not only for food but for their health”¦ Fast forward to today and Covid has certainly made us all think more about that.

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  • Jeannine
    Comment added July 16, 2021Reply

    I had recently been talking about victory gardens. It was nice to run across you article. I enjoyed it and hope you are enjoying all you new additions. I to have been learning to learn to use and eat my weeds. Such an excellent skill that has been lost. I have not worried to much on Covid being young and way back in the country but I think people should take your thoughts more seriously and with respect. These gardens can be small and used for many different reasons. Inflation crosses my mind because our food prices here are soaring, another, pandemic, storms, God forbid a war, and other possibilities. I hope you, your husband, and dog are doing well. May the Good Lord bless you all this year.

  • Jan
    Comment added July 9, 2021Reply

    I think what was meant by out of the question may have been a personal thing. My huaband has maybe been in a grocery store a handfull of times since this has all started but for very good reason as his imune system is compomised with CLL.The dog and him were in isolation for about 7 months!!!!! Thankfully vacinated now and still coming to terms with not feeling comfortable in crowds. Be thoughtfull with other peoples discomfort and we will all learn to move on one day at a time and at our own personal speed.

  • Gerry
    Comment added July 6, 2021Reply

    I don't know what part of the States you live but "going to store to get food" is not "out of the question" during the entire plandemic and I live in a super stupid restrictive Democrat state. Yet the only valuable point you make is growing your own food tastes better and are cheaper. Growing food is an essential survival skill but not everyone has the space, money, resources and knowhow to do it so some of them need to buy and not everyone can grow everything that's why they shop. I have land I grow food but I still buy from store. Hope your state is opened up for people to freely grocery shopping.

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