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I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
Gardening is already a popular hobby, but the pandemic has revived an interest in growing plants. Many of us plant parents turned to gardening to keep busy, improve our mental health, and even grow food as we were forced to spend more time at home. Similar to this occurrence is the Victory Gardens of the past. In this episode, Maggie Stuckey joins us to review the history of Victory Gardens and their surprising role in society throughout the last hundred years. We also explore why people are so drawn to plants in tough times!
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
Wartime efforts promoted victory gardens during World War I. Americans were encouraged to grow their food so that more resources could be sent overseas. The concept was revived during World War II when victory gardens were responsible for producing an estimated 40% of the country’s vegetables.
In addition to supporting the war effort, victory gardens had other benefits. They helped alleviate food shortages and provided a sense of community and patriotism. Victory gardens also encouraged self-sufficiency, which was especially important during times of economic hardship!
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a resurgence of interest in victory gardens. As people spend more time at home, many of us have turned to gardening.
Victory gardens are easy to grow because they can be any size and fit any home. Container gardening, in particular, is becoming more popular. People can grow vegetables and herbs in containers on balconies, patios, and even windowsills.
Victory gardens also provide a sense of empowerment during uncertain times. Gardeners can take control of their food supply and reduce their dependence on others. Additionally, growing these gardens can also bring pride and accomplishment as they see their labor bear fruit.
Container gardening has become a popular choice for those with limited space or access to traditional gardening methods. In her recent book, The Container Victory Garden: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Groceries, Maggie provides valuable insights and guidance for anyone interested in this method of gardening.
As she points out, containers offer the opportunity to cultivate fresh produce and herbs right at your doorstep. She recommends starting with three containers, and offers a simple yet diverse selection of crops:
With these choices, beginner gardeners can enjoy a journey that spans multiple seasons, savoring the joys of fresh ingredients and the pride of nurturing their own sustenance.
Rather than being viewed as mere decorative items, Maggie highlights the ability of edible flowers to add magic to culinary creations. Edible flowers not only bring vibrancy and beauty to dishes but also offer unexpected flavors.
Pansies, violas, and other edible flowers are not only visually appealing but also serve as pollinators, thus promoting the overall health and productivity of a garden!
During our conversation, Maggie and I discussed how gardening can significantly affect people and communities.
Gardening is more than just growing food — it can offer us hope, peace, and a sense of belonging. It’s definitely an excellent way to make a positive impact on this planet. This hobby of ours can also encourage various acts of kindness, like sharing your food with neighbors, giving herbs and flowers as gifts, and promoting community!
Whether you call it a war garden, a victory garden, or a pandemic garden, the idea of growing your own food has a rich history. Victory gardens have provided food, community, and patriotism during times of war and economic hardship.
Today, victory gardens are more significant than ever as people try to become more self-sufficient and ensure a steady supply of fresh produce. With the right tools and techniques, you can start your own victory garden!
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