Monday, February 16, 2009

Victory Garden Challenge

Over the past couple of weeks we have been spending time with our local Master Gardeners groups here in Hamilton County. Each year we visit the group presenting an herb program. And each year we come away renewed by their passion and vigor for gardening. This year the group is sponsoring several community gardens throughout the Hamilton County area. One in particular at the Chattanooga Food Bank is going to be extremely useful and from the discussion of their plan a very beautiful garden.

As my readers already know I am a pretty passionate gardener and it seems that now more than ever (and I won't spoil this post with talk about the economic situation) I see a need for more vegetable gardens to be planted for my family and for the community at large. Our grandparents had a name for those gardens. Victory gardens. Back during WWII people were asked to grow more of their own food so that that tin that vegetables were packaged in could be used in the war effort. People were scrimping and going without anyway so growing their own vegetables and then harvesting and preserving those vegetables were extremely important.

Last summer we had a small garden here in the backyard. It was more of an experiment to see if there was enough time to handle yet something else in the schedule along with whether there was enough sun to produce the tomatoes and peppers, fennel, basil, squash, cukes and lettuce. I found that there was indeed enough time in the schedule and plan to add another 500 square feet of beds this year. I even heard Pat mention she was going to add on to her 30x60 bed this spring as well. I think 50 tomato plants went into her garden last year. My plan with the raised beds is to grow tomatoes in one bed, lettuce in another, potatoes in another and so on. Leaving enough room between the beds to scrape away the grass and layer with mulch to keep the mud down will keep us from having to weed wack or mow around the beds. I will start blogging the operation once beds start going in. I am hoping the Master Gardeners will let me know how their projects are going or even email me some pictures of their new gardens.

So, back to the challenge as this blog was titled. I challenge anyone who wants to save a few dollars on their grocery bill, get some exercise, get their children away from the T.V. and video games to foresake some of their back yard, side yard or even front yard (which ever gets the most sun) and put in a Victory Garden. I would love to hear your comments on your plans, successes and yes, even the failures. Tell your story. Talk to your neighbors and see if they would like to build a garden for the whole neighborhood. Use a vacant lot or a portion of ajoining lots if you really like your neighbors. The great thing about gardens is the friends you will make, the food you will grow and share.

And for those of you who live in the Hamilton County, TN area, join us at the Chattanooga Market. We will have some wonderful herbs and vegetable plants to get you started.

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