First of all, let me start off by saying that I am the last person you should take garden advice from because I have never had a green thumb. I have had some successes though so that’s part of what I’m going to base my garden efforts on this year along with what Gramma Izzie and Grandpa Eddie taught me and what my local gardening friends are teaching me. With COVID-19, one of my concerns is the food distribution chain being interrupted. That could look like farmers unable to plant fields due to illness or possibly not able to get seeds on time to get them in the ground so the crops have the correct growing season (resulting in smaller yields), workers unable to pick/harvest crops for multiple reasons, warehouses or distribution centers maybe not being able to have enough for the demand to send to stores, truckers being sick or just plain having to set for hours and hours to be loaded/unloaded, all the way to people hoarding food items as soon as they hit the stores. It’s not that farfetched of a thought.
Unfortunately, there is NOTHING I can do to control any part of that system. What I- and you – can do, however, is take some of the strain off of that system. If every person across the country did what he/she could to alleviate a possible food shortage in just his/her local area, think of the impact we could all make! In WWII, people everywhere had what was called a Victory Garden, and they grew what they could. It helped more food get to the troops, and it was an important wartime effort that every citizen could do. It’s something we can all do again, no matter where we live – even apartment dwellers can grow lettuce and carrots in a container in a sunny window! People with balconies can grow tomatoes and peppers and beans in containers! We can ALL do something, and then we can trade with our neighbors for what we couldn’t grow. If you grow too much, too much even to can or freeze it all, then give it to your neighbors, and if it’s still too much, give it to the local food bank or a local church or school to distribute. There’s a little church down the road in the village that built a small stand for excess garden produce, and that little village uses it constantly. It always makes me smile to see the veggies there and peoe stopping to grab a cucumber or tomato and leaving a zucchini, squash, etc.
With that said, Ted and I decided to put in a garden this year. We’re going to try our best to grow some food and take some pressure off the local stores and food distribution system. We had a bunch of trees cleared in the fall, and my hope is to put in a garden in that area.
With the stay at home order in place and people freaking out and buying bunches of seeds already here, getting seeds took some effort. I found and ordered from Ohio Heirloom Seeds, and I had the order in-hand in nine calendar days. Now I just have to figure out what to plant when and the best way to grow each thing. I am committed to growing organically as I do believe now, more than ever, our food and lives need to be as pesticide free as possible to help us avoid getting sick and taxing our hospitals even further.
I was planning to have just flowers in my seven small raised beds, but that’s out the window now. I know flowers help bring bees which are natural pollinators and needed, so I will do a small amount of flowers near the raised beds and in containers and in a row surrounding the garden. The raised beds are going to grow herbs, strawberries, and peas for now. I may use them for potatoes as the soil is quite loose so that would make growing the potatoes easy (in theory LOL).
For now, my friends who garden are telling me to get in the peas and potatoes asap so that’s my focus this week. I have some potato starts in pots in my kitchen, and I’m going to get those in the ground asap. I planted a container with peas, but I’m not hopeful that container will grow as the seeds were very old and some I found while hunting through my seed packs (very old – 2006!). I stuck them in potting soil anyway. If they grow, great – I’ll add them to the garden, and if not, no big deal as I ordered the new seeds and now have them.
Let’s all commit to having Victory Gardens this summer and see how much we can impact our communities! If you have garden experience, please share it in the comments below so that absolute beginners can follow it to increase our success! Good luck with your garden planning!