Today, the wife and I started planning our Victory Garden. Between buying everything we needed, preparing the soil, repairing the pipe I broke, and planting our plants, it took about eight hours. We decided to do this for a couple reasons: we needed to do something with our backyard, since it’s been just sitting there for the past year or so; we thought it would be nice to grow some of our own food so we could eat more healthy and save some money. And I have one other motivation that I don’t think Wifey shares, and it goes to reason I’m calling it a Victory Garden, growing our own food increases our household’s resiliency.
Why am I calling it a Victory Garden?
First, a brief history lesson. During both World Wars, the government encouraged people to grow their own food in an effort to reduce the demand on the food supply. These gardens were called Victory Gardens. During the wars, many things that we take for granted were being rationed, including food. By supplementing their rations, people were able to have more to eat and eat healthier. Additionally, these gardens were thought of as a moral booster, as people felt like they were contributing directly to the war effort.
In the 1970s, Victory Gardens once again became popular, even spawning a PBS show The Victory Garden, due to the Arab Oil Embargo. Once again, people were able to supplement their food supply with home-grown produce since there was a shortage of many different goods, not just oil. This is more more closely related to my motivation for building a Victory Garden.
In today’s world, our lives run on a just-in-time delivery system that is incredibly efficient. Nearly everything we buy, whether it’s through the internet or in a store, gets to the store just before we go to buy it. There simply isn’t much reserve of any given item. Either something is being produced, being transported, or being sold and used. Nowhere in there are goods sitting in a warehouse waiting to be demanded.
When this system is working, it works wonderfully. Everybody gets what they need, and the producers, distributors and sellers make more money than they would otherwise. However, this system is very fragile, and if it stops working for any length of time, people stop getting what they need. We have replaced resiliency with efficiency. Not necessarily a bad thing, but if that system ever stops working, we’re all going to be in a world of hurt.
By growing our own food, we’ll always have something to eat if for some reason, there are food shortages and we can’t get what we need at the grocery store.
Planting our new Victory Garden
We have a 30 foot long retaining wall running along one side of our yard, with a small, 15 inch wide planter in front of it. We decided to use this area for the first phase of our Victory Garden. Our plan was to till the soil, add in a bit more, higher quality dirt, and then plant a handful of different crops down its length.
Thankfully, I was allowed to buy a Pulaski. Normally, Pulaskis are thought of as fire fighting tools. They are very efficient when it comes to clearing brush and building a firebreak. For the same reason, they are useful for clearing plants and roots in a garden, which was exactly the job I needed to do. So now I have a new garden tool that can double as a survival tool if the need ever arises.
One downside to using the Pulaski is that I broke an irrigation line. I thought I was digging out a root, but I quickly found out that a section of my sprinkler system wasn’t buried as deeply as most of it was. The Pulaski is very good at digging and cutting, and quickly went right through the pipe.
Thankfully, Home Depot is right around the corner. I went down, picked up a pipe cutter, a length of pipe, some connectors and some PVC cement. With some quick measuring and a couple swift cuts, I had that broken pipe repaired in no time. I even got to add another new tool to my toolbox, so I’ll be able to mend any other pipes I might break in the future.
The Final Victory Garden
Once we repaired the broken irrigation line, we filled in the planter with some new soil, smoothed everything out, and started planting. We bought three each of tomato, cucumber and bell peppers, along with various herbs and garlic. I also planted some corn from seeds. We were mainly going for tall or climbing plants to grow along that back wall. Phase 2 of the Victory Garden will involve constructing a raised planter bed so we can grow more low-lying plants. We’re thinking some berries, squash, zucchini, and carrots. Whatever we think we’ll actually eat.