A victory garden is not only a fun project with kids, but it also serves as a food garden for your family to use during hard times, to save money, or to just have more control over your food source! We’ll also cover victory garden history, so this makes a great companion gardening lesson.
Have you ever heard of a victory garden?
Get ready because not only is this a fun family project, but it allows your kids to learn more about history!
So, let’s start at the beginning…
VICTORY GARDEN DEFINITION
What is a Victory Garden?
Victory Gardens were government initiatives that encouraged Americans to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs during World War I and World War II. This allowed people to have food during times that transportation and supplies were hard to come by.
Victory gardens are also called war gardens and food gardens for defense.
They were planted on both public land and at private residences during this time.
Why did the government encourage Americans to grow food in Victory Gardens during WW1?
Victory Gardens were first promoted during World War I. Because of labor and transportation shortages during the war, food needed to be rationed. Americans were encouraged to grow their own food in order to ensure that they had food of their own, but also could help with food for those serving in the war.
What were Victory Gardens in WW2?
Victory Gardens World War 2 served the same purpose in Second World War as in WWI: to feed people during food shortages when commercial food supplies were diverted to the military and allies.
According to History.com:
“In 1942, roughly 15 million families planted victory gardens; by 1944, an estimated 20 million victory gardens produced roughly 8 million tons of food—which was the equivalent of more than 40 percent of all the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States.”
From a 1943 government publication for Victory Garden WW2 called Victory Gardens:
IN TIMES OF WAR the country’s food supply for civilians may be smaller even though total production is greatly increased. The burdens of World War II are already creating serious food-production, distribution, and preservation problems. Labor and machinery shortages interfere with production; overloaded railroads and restricted motor transport interfere with distribution; and inadequate supplies of labor, steel, and tin demand that civilians depend less on foods canned in tin.
There is now real need for civilians to relieve the burden on commercial food sources, transportation, and preservation by growing all food that is practical at home and preserving, storing, and using it over as much of the year as possible.
FUN LEARNING TIP: Head over the USDA.gov to see actual Victory Garden ads, victory garden posters, and aids used during the World Wars.
How did planting Victory Gardens raise morale during World War II?
The victory gardens during both World Wars were said to boost morale because it gave Americans control over their own food (and lessened anxiety) and also gave them a sense of contributing and helping during the war.
Victory gardens helped to:
- Boost morale
- Assist with food shortages
- Ease the load of commercial farmers
- Express patriotism
Why should you grow a Victory Garden?
There are many reasons to grow a Victory garden like:
- Better control over your food during shortages and emergency times
- Creates a healthier diet and lifestyle (gardening is great exercise!)
- Helps to teach kids the growing cycle from seed to plant to table
- Reduces your carbon footprint
Don’t miss how to plant a victory garden below. KEEP SCROLLING!
Great Children’s Books to Pair with Your Victory Garden Lessons
What Foods Were Grown In Victory Gardens?
What vegetables were grown in Victory Gardens?
The most popular vegetables grown in Victory Gardens included:
- Swiss chard
ALSO CHECK OUT:
Inspired by the WWI and WW2 Victory Garden?
Get started gardening your own!
HOW TO GROW A VICTORY GARDEN
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR AREA’S GROWING SEASON
Every area has a different Growing Zone and “Hardiness.”
Understanding your Growing Zone will help you pick the right fruits, vegetables, and herbs for Victory Garden.
You can check the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Map HERE.
2. ORGANIZE YOUR VICTORY GARDEN PLANS.
Where will you plant your garden?
How big will it be? (If it’s your first garden, start small!)
CHOOSE YOUR GARDEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
What do you want to plant in your Victory Garden?
(Be sure to plant only things you will actually eat!)
Don’t forget to include things that kids usually love like watermelon, carrots, and strawberries!
Or, better yet, ask your kids what they want to plant and discuss why/why not those things won’t work in your garden/growing zone. (It’s OK to use the internet as your “cheatsheet” to figure all of this out!)
Now, plan how they will go in your garden.
This is a fun stage to get the kids involved!
Draw your garden on a piece of paper. Do some online research about how your chosen plants grow, if they need full sun, what NOT to plant them next to, etc.
If you already have your seed packets, check out the back and follow the directions for it.
The Farmer’s Almanac has a great companion growing guide that tells you what grows well together.
3. CREATE YOUR GARDEN PLOT
Time to get dirty!
You’ll need to dig up an area in your yard and prepare your soil for gardening.
If this is your first time gardening, this is a great soil guide to get you started.
4. PLANT YOUR VICTORY GARDEN!
Now, have some fun planting your Victory Garden.
Be sure to follow your “map” and notes that you created during the planning stage.
Don’t forget to follow the directions on your seed packets!
You can also start your seeds indoors and then transplant them in your garden once they sprout!
How do you start a garden without a yard?
If you don’t have a yard (and you live in an apartment or elsewhere that doesn’t allow you space to plant in the ground), no worries!
You can actually do indoor window gardening using planters/containers, class jars, or even plastic bottles. You can grow herbs and vegetables on a window sill or easily on your balcony using a container garden!
These are great window sill gardens or container gardens to do with your kids:
WHAT WILL YOU PLANT IN YOUR VICTORY GARDEN?