Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

The victory gardens of yesteryear are coming back

The story behind the victory gardens is over half a century old. They were started during World War II when Americans grew their own veggie gardens to supplement fresh produce for the country.

Many farmers and young men went to foreign lands, and farms were depleted of that large labor force. So, women and children stepped up to the plate and started the victory gardens and war gardens of the 1940s.

Since all types of foods were rationed during that time, civilians were encouraged to grow their produce and supplement the family's needs, stretching their ration coupons and preventing possible hoarding of food.

The victory gardens gave Americans a feeling that they were doing something helpful and they

took pride in doing so to feed their families

These gardens were grown all over the United States, and women were particularly encouraged to plant victory gardens in their backyards, city rooftops, window boxes, schools, community gardens and empty city lots.

Anything could be grown in Victory Gardens from fruits, vegetables, herbs to the raising of poultry for meat and eggs. National garden clubs supported this gigantic horticultural movement throughout the country.

Communities were also encouraged to share their surplus, and communal street gardens became popular with neighbors all sharing in the growing of fresh foods.

The U.S. government asked its citizens to plant their gardens to help with food shortages, and they responded in tremendous numbers. Nearly 20 million families grew around 40% of the country's vegetables by 1944, and my mother and I did our share with potatoes, beets, corn, radish, cucumbers and fruit trees.

When I hear that there might be food shortages under the current pandemic and perishable foods and milk are being dumped, it concerns me.

Growing some of their own food has been with humans over the millennium with healthy, natural and non-chemical methods, and it's time to get back to basics.

Today, gardening has been resurrected to become a national tradition once again with people growing some of their own edibles in this time of needed healthy foods. Residents can think about how they can be part of this timely gardening network that so many gardeners enjoy today.

Make a plan, select a sunny site, gather the materials, start with good organic soils, plant the veggies, keep them well-watered and take photos to cherish down the road.

When a gardener has an abundant crop, they can store it by canning, dehydrating, pickling and freezing the harvest.

There is a current wave of more farm-to-table foods being grown for avant-garde restaurants and creative chefs, and residents can do the same for their home dining table. All types of vegetable, herbs and fresh produce can also be grown in containers of all sizes if they don't have a patch of dirt to grow in.

Plants can be grown in window boxes, or residents can make containers with recycled wood from an old fence that has been replaced.

Just think about all the wooden pallets that are lying around; build raised planters with a saw, nails and a hammer. Line the bottoms of these planters with hardware wire so no varmints from below can dig their way up and destroy the crops.

Container veggie gardens can be colorful, unique and add charm to a landscape setting and gardeners don't have to worry about gophers or ground squirrels destroying their endeavors.

So use those creative juices and, by all means, have fun with it, for the rewards of the challenge will be healthier, more nutritious and life-changing for the entire family.

The joy of growing food can give multiple emotional and spiritual benefits, so give it a chance.

Make it a family affair, with the joy of working together outside and sharing in the bounty. Residents need to grow healthy foods to have healthy children, so get them involved to produce wholesome and organic foods for a better life ahead.

Remember when Michele Obama pulled out the White House lawn and planted a garden? The goal was to get children embedded in a healthier lifestyle and reduce child obesity that is so high in this country.

Consider a neighborhood food bank, where John grows tomatoes, Karla grows string beans, Bob plants corn, Erin raises chickens for eggs, while Nancy grows potatoes. All that good food helps sustain one another. This connection with each other and the earth is a good thing about community that perhaps residents need to look at again today.

Have a weekly food share event on the street, start a newsletter and spread the word, for gardening can become contagious.

There is so much valuable information on the internet to discover many veggie choices along with plant compatible themes, and the use of flowers like marigolds to help ward off various bugs.

If there is to be a new normal, keep a safe social distance, practice all safety rules and be a part of the new wave for America, the community and homegrown food.

"He who plants a garden brings happiness for others to enjoy."

Roger Boddaert, aka "Maker of Natural Gardens, can help you lay out and get your project growing. He can be reached at 760-728-4297.

 

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