As part of the war effort during WWII, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter,
milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods. Labor and transportation shortages
made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government
turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant "Victory Gardens." They wanted
individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables. Nearly 20 million Americans
answered the call. They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops.
Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed
cooperatives, all in the name of patriotism.
Families were also encouraged to can their own vegetables to save commercial canned
goods for the troops. In 1943, families bought 315,000 pressure cookers (used in the
process of canning), compared to 66,000 in 1942.
When the war ended, so did the government promotion of victory gardens. Many people
stopping planting a garden in the spring of 1946, but agriculture had not yet geared up to
full production for grocery stores, so the country experienced food shortages in some
regions, especially in major cities.
If your vegetable gardening is limited by insufficient space or an unsuitable growing area,
consider the possibility of raising fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables in containers. A
window sill, a patio, a balcony or a doorstep will provide sufficient space for a productive
mini-garden. Do not feel discouraged if you do not get immediate success at the start, for
sometimes it takes a few seasons to find the correct medium for growing.
Herbs can be grown in a separate herb garden or mixed in with your existing flowers and
vegetables. If you choose to combine your herb garden with other plants, remember that
cooking herbs can be annual, biennial, or perennial. If you don’t have access to an
outdoor garden area, you can grow cooking herbs in planters or pots placed near a well-lit
window that is supplemented by a florescent light if necessary.
No matter what type of cooking herbs you decide to grow, you’ll increase your odds of
having a successful garden if you remember a few simple tips. If you plan to grow your
herbs in containers, choose clay pots instead of plastic since clay is more porous and will
make it easier to keep the soil moist. Although it is possible to grow cooking herbs in
partial sunlight, most gardeners recommended that your herbs receive four to six hours of
full sunlight per day. Fertilizer is generally not needed, since most cooking herbs grow
best under low or medium soil fertility conditions.
The success of any garden depends on a lot of factors like sunlight, water, soil and
patience. Always remember that the effort you put into your garden reaps the rewards of
healthy eating, saving on the cost of food and the personal satisfaction knowing that the
food you just provided for your family came from your own two hands.