a Victory Garden and Reunite with Humanity
by Barbara Minton
TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton
Now is the time to celebrate
the earth's awakening by planning a victory garden, and join the thousands
of people reuniting with nature while embracing healthy living. Victory
gardens were last seen at the end of the World War II, and today are making
a comeback because they have come to represent our fight to regain control
of our lives, our health and our independence. They represent re-dedication
to membership in humanity and the need to make sure all people have access
to high quality food. There is no better time than now to take out paper and
pencil and begin planning the placement, layout, and content of your garden.
By the time your plan is complete, the earth will be warmed enough for
The victory garden symbolizes a new awakening
World War II united people and allowed them to bring forth a resourcefulness
they didn’t know they had. During that time of crisis, people realized they
were living out a great saga in their lives, and in that saga they each had
a part to play. Today we are again facing a crisis, and the time has come
for a great re-awakening of vision and understanding. This time the battle
involves how to stay healthy and live genuine lives in a world where the
odds are increasingly stacked against us.
The victory garden is a dedication to the philosophy that no man is an
island. It represents the abandonment of the every man for himself mentality
that has been so detrimental to mankind. It embraces the notion that all
people must work together for the common good.
What is a victory garden?
The first victory gardens began toward the end of the Great Depression when
urban and suburban dwellers cleared strips of their backyards, vacant lots,
and any ground they could get their hands on to plant it with produce at a
time when food was scarce. Some backyard gardens provided fresh produce for
families, while others became community efforts. Some were dedicated to
feeding the soldiers. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different
kinds of produce and formed cooperatives. Many gardens were so bountiful
that there was plenty of produce for home canning in toxin free mason jars.
At the peak of the effort, nine to ten million tons of produce was grown, an
amount equal to all commercial production. In this effort children and
teenagers worked alongside their parents and neighbors.
gardens are back
Produce grown for commercial sale is produced in soil depleted of the
minerals and nutrients so necessary to support good health. Plants grown in
depleted soils are less healthy and able to resist pest attacks, so the use
of pesticides is more prevalent now than ever. Produce sold by big
agribusiness is often grown in foreign countries not subject to highly
controlled use of pesticides, and it spends extended periods of time in
shipment during which it loses valuable nutrients.
Victory gardens return control over what is eaten to the people who are
eating it. These gardens increase access to products that are fresh, vine
ripened and nutrient rich when eaten, as well as products grown using
organic farming techniquest. If people are involved in canning and
preserving, locally grown produce can be available all year round. Victory
gardens are ecologically friendly since their products do not require
shipping or packaging. Since people donate their labor to produce these
products, the cost becomes quite minimal, making access to high quality
produce readily available.
Victory gardens help those who have lost their jobs or had to take a lower
paying job, and who are trying to support their families. Victory gardens
allow communities to look after their own residents. Victory gardens assure
that no community member goes hungry or has to eat food that does not
Many people are concluding that the recent decades of vast accumulation of
material goods have failed to bring the happiness for which they had hoped.
Victory gardens provide us with a chance to get back to a more fundamental
view of ourselves and of all life. They are an avenue to providing the
physical, mental and emotional healing that comes with putting a seed into
the ground and seeing it germinate and grow. They provide the empowerment
that comes from making the change from passive consumer to empowered
How to plan a victory garden
There are very few things more enjoyable than eating food you have grown
yourself, picked and brought to your table. The only thing better is picking
it and eating it raw while you are still standing in the garden. Corn that
is picked, husked and eaten raw is the ultimate in a gourmet treat. Or try a
tomato while it is still warm from the day’s sun. You will experience flavor
you never knew existed.
All that is required for a garden is a small patch of land where the sun
shines, a shovel, some seeds, and a dedication to making it happen. A single
gardener should start with a spot about 5’x 8’. If it’s a community effort,
several backyards or a large piece of vacant land can be used.
If you are starting in the backyard, you will probably be digging up lawn, a
formidable task that’s worth the effort because ground where grass has been
growing for several years, especially if it has been cut with a mulching
mower, will have good, rich soil ready to produce a bumper crop.
When the grass has been cleared, dig up the dirt and break up the clods with
a pitchfork, or better yet, use your hands and feel the power of the earth
between your fingers. Then mound the dirt up into a few rows; narrow rows
for smaller vegetables like carrots, wider rows for larger ones like corn,
tomatoes or squash. Plant seeds according to package directions. For
seedlings, look at their tags. Seeds need to be kept moist and not allowed
to dry out until they have germinated and established their tap roots. The
key word here is moist, not soggy wet. After that, plants from seed and
seedlings should be watered only when the top layer of the soil has dried
To keep weeds out of your garden, you can add some commercial mulch
available from most garden centers, or use some leaves or hay to cover the
ground so weeds can’t germinate.
The one caveat to all this is to make sure there has been no pesticide
applied for three years to the grass you are digging up. This will allow for
any residue to percolate through the ground. If your plants die, chances are
chemicals on your lawn have not yet broken down, and you should move the
garden to another location.
When you find yourself really committing to your garden you can create
raised beds that are watered with drip tapes running down the middle. This
will assure maximum output from the work you put in.
Produce planted in freshly dug up lawn can probably get by without
fertilizer for the first year or two. It can only help if you add some,
though. The best organic fertilizer is probably liquid fish which can be
found at http://www.groworganic.com/fertilizers/organic-fertilizer/liquid-fish.html.
Composted manure works wonders too. Organic trace minerals from http://www.agrienergy.us/
will also enrich your soil.
People who juice fruits and vegetables have a wealth of organic material to
add to their gardens. Making juice in a juice machine grinds discarded
colored cellulose into particles fine enough to be added to the soil in the
spring. Larger leftovers will need to be composted before being added so as
not to rob the soil of the nitrogen needed to decompose them.
As far as deciding what to plant, go with what you and the people you plan
to feed like to eat. Lettuce, tomatoes, peas, green beans, peppers, carrots
and potatoes are usual favorites. A couple of good sources for organic seeds
are http://www.johnnyseeds.com/ and http://www.seedsofchange.com/. Once you
get started, be sure to save your seeds.
A new device on the market for keeping animals away from your produce is a
small solar box that shines a beam and makes animals feel like something is
watching them. It is called nite guard and is available from http://www.niteguard.com/.
There are an abundance of great gardening books out there. The Elliot
Coleman books offer a wealth of information for gardeners new and old. One
of his books is devoted to greenhouse growing, the ultimate for fresh
vegetables year round in cooler climates.
Of course you will want what you raise to be of the highest quality. Quality
can be measured with a device called a refractometer that measures the sugar
content, called brix. The higher the reading, the better the produce. Over
the last 50 years commercial farmers have depleted minerals in the soil
without replacing them. As a result, most supermarket vegetables have brix
readings somewhere around 5 or 6. An excellent reading would be around 12
for most vegetables.
Experience the healing power of nature
Much of the advice given in the previous section comes from a certified
organic farmer, Gary Cwach, who runs a 1000 acre spread in South Dakota.
He’s in 60's now. At 42 he had surgery for advanced prostate cancer followed
by prolonged radiation treatments. He got along fairly well for a while,
during which time he tried to change his conventional farm into an organic
farm. He gave up twice because of intense peer pressure. Then his cancer
returned in the form of advanced bone cancer of the spine. At this point he
made a full commitment to his vision for an organic farm. When he completed
the conversion, he discovered that in the process of healing his land, he
had also healed himself.
Victory gardens symbolize a new age
A victory garden reflects a new way of thinking, a new vision and
understanding about how to achieve happiness and security in life. It’s a
realization that we not only live in this world, but we help create it. We
can continue to consume food from foreign lands, compromised food with which
we have no intellectual or emotional relationship. Or we can make the
commitment to draw upon our own resources to become part of a higher form of
It’s time to end the old ways of thinking that have brought us so much
discontent, frustration and unhappiness. It’s time to take back control of
our lives in accordance with the laws of nature. It’s time to stop trying to
find value in material goods and value new ways of living, new survival
techniques and new experiences.
The victory garden is an overt manifestation of our commitment in this
process of evolution. It presents a challenge as well as a source of immense
hope. Whoever is able to create a victory garden will be an example of
success for others. In a time when poverty and famine threaten so many, the
victory garden demonstrates a new way the earth can be made more fruitful.
All it takes is a vision. We can become parasites on the planet, or we can
step up to a new enlightenment. The choice is ours.
As we contemplate our choice, or ready ourselves to approach nature and
mankind openly, we need to remember that this enlightenment is a dynamic
phenomenon that expresses living energies that are sweeping through our
society. The garden is just one facet of this renewal.
From our gardens we will learn the secrets of creation, secrets we can use
to create the world we want. It is an empowerment that brings the
realization that we no longer have to be controlled by the power of events,
but that by our power and resourcefulness we can control events.
Maybe you are thinking that you just don’t have a green thumb and a garden
would be a waste of time. But once you get your head in the right place, you
will begin to see that gardening is about the relationship we have with
plants and with nature. When we love and cherish them, they will return the
favor. Gardening is never really about techniques or the color of your
thumb. It’s about the content of your heart.
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