Monday, February 11, 2008
A Return to Victory (Gardens)
There's an interesting movement afoot just in time for spring. All across the grassroots network of eat local and "green" activism is a call for a return to the victory gardens that were once a community program during world wars. Call it the extremely local version of local food.
There are several programs to be found from "Victory Gardens" to "Food not Lawns" all about using your green space for food instead of care- and water-intensive grass.
I've been planning my own garden project, End the Curse of the Black Thumb, for a bit now. It is thusly named because, well, I kill every house plant that ever comes across our threshold. Every one. The idea of me gardening beyond my hard-to-kill herbs is pretty funny.
I'll be using the square-foot gardening method, mainly in containers, and I am going to make it an educational garden for my kiddo. So far, my garden is a few packets of seed and 4 square feet each of vermiculite and peat moss, a shovel, and an eye cast upon my husband's cherished compost pile. But, the starter seeds can go into containers right now indoors.
Honestly, when I visited the deserted garden center last weekend, I figured I jumped the gun. I did. But this whole garden thing is getting me through the depths of winter. Were it not for all the family birthdays to celebrate this month, I would have to argue that February is the cruelest month — at least for locavores.
So far, our little garden will just be growing a few heirlooms that we can't seem to get enough of at the farmers market; Roma beans, purple hull peas, black crowder peas, papa del rola peas, red Russian kale, Romanesco cauliflower, orange chiffon chard, lettuce mix, blue-green pumpkins and a few other heirloom winter squash, and these little ball-shaped carrots that are a French heirloom. And lots of strawberries! I chose primarily heirlooms because I love the unusual varieties and great flavors, but also because I want to do my part to support diversity.
I know many of you are gardeners, so any advice is welcome! I am starting small with just a few varieties, and hoping for the best.
Resources for Heirloom Seeds:
Kitchen Garden Seeds
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Seeds of Change
Seed Savers Exchange
Educational Garden Resources:
Links on School Gardens and Health
How to Garden:
Square Foot Gardening
Cornell Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners
Frost Dates and Hardiness Zones
Victory Garden Movement:
Revive Victory Gardens