This is the third in a series of posts on James Crockett’s classic vegetable gardening book, Crockett’s Victory Garden (1977). The book was a followup to the PBS television series of the same title. (Look forward to the fourth and final post on this
crappy old book soon.)
According to that infallible source, “Victory Gardens”
also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herbgardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. They were used along with food stamps to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.
Putting aside the fact that this is a rather bad introduction to a poorly cited Wikipedia article, albeit with some interesting graphics of crappy old Victory Garden posters, you may ask why the folks at WGBH, Boston’s public television station, named a gardening show “Victory Garden.” With whom were we at war in the mid-1970s?
For those whose memories fail or youth betrays, the book’s Preface provides a clue:
The timing for the show seemed perfect. The nation was battling back from the oil-embargo and self-sufficiency was both practical and fashionable… .
Look at that first spike over there on the right at about 1974 — that meant war! And what better way to fight a war– against whom again?– than to plant your own Victory Garden?
I chuckle at this because I think a home vegetable garden is practical in peace- as well as war-time and I don’t give two hoots about fashion (just ask the girls). So it matters not to me what the global state of affairs with respect to war & peace is in 2015. In peaceable Mississippi, it’s time to plant lettuce. And start celery and tend to the irises and…
No. It is not March in Mississippi. But as I am turning seriously to gardening, I am turning to February and March in Crockett’s Victory Garden— a book organized “by the months of the year, because time and the weather are the critical factors in gardening”:
This book is based on the experience of the Victory Garden… outside Boston, Massachusetts.
But it doesn’t mean the information here won’t apply to you if you live in another part of the country. My purpose is not to teach local gardening but to teach the fundamentals, and these do not change from region to region.
[weather.gov screen shot as of about 11pm 1/26/15. s.n.o.w.]
What a wonderful book! Just now, looking for inspiration on how to wrap up this article, I came upon this in the chapter titled “JAN”:
This is also the time of year to lavish some attention on the houseplants, before the outdoor garden begins to clamor for all the gardener’s time.
Daughter C, Miss M, Mr. Big Food and I were talking about word choice at dinner this evening. “Clamoring gardens.” LOL.
This practical book on gardening– the only gardening book you’ll ever need— was published almost 40 years ago.
my purpose… is to teach the fundamentals
‘V’ is for Victory.