V is for Victory!

Victory Gardens seem to be making a comeback due to COVID-19. Victory Gardens first emerged during World War I but rose in popularity during World War II as the nation faced possible food shortages. Gardens were planted in yards, empty lots, school grounds, and even on the White House lawn! The Victory Gardeners ended up producing over 40% of the produce consumed in the United States in 1944.

Now, in 2020, as people have had a hard time finding certain staples at their local grocery store, we have a renewed desire to grow our own food.

Luckily, other than soil, sun and water, it doesn’t take much to start a garden. Some plants can even be grown in containers if you have limited outdoor space where you live.

First, you’ll want to plan your garden. A good rule of thumb is to plant what you like to eat. You’ll also want to figure out when to plant. The U.S. is divided into agricultural zones – Binghamton is located in Zone 5b. This helps you make sure you aren’t planting too early or too late. You should also decide whether you are using containers, raised beds, or planting an in-ground garden.

Next, select your site. You’ll want to pick a spot with good sun and good soil. Bad soil can be helped by adding organic matter or some compost.

Then, you’re ready to plant! Some plants, like squash, melons, and pumpkins, love to be grown directly from seed. Others, like pepper, tomato, and eggplants prefer to be started indoors and then transplanted outside. If you did not start your own plants indoors, there are several vendors selling plant starts at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market.

Once you’ve planted you’ll tend to your garden by watering, fertilizing, and weeding as necessary. Then, enjoy the produce that you’ve grown!

Here are some great resources to help get you started:

Cornell Garden-Based Learning – gardening and seed-starting

Vines Community Gardens – rent a garden bed

Vines Build A Garden Program – at-home garden beds & supplies for those who are eligible

Stecher-Traung Lithograph Corporation, 1939-45