Easy steps for a successful Victory Garden 2.0…(with recommendations from the 1943 Victory Garden Manual by James Burdett, adapted for today’s world.)
1. Know your growing zone!– Just enter your zip code here to find your zone.
2. Make a list of the items your family enjoys eating.– Determine how much produce your family can reasonably consume during key harvest times. How much zucchini will your family really need? Should you plant 2 plants or 4 plants?
– Decide if you have the resources to freeze or can excess produce (if so, then you can grow more!). NGB member Hoss Tools gives an idea on how to spread out the harvest.
– From this list, start to research specific varieties. Look to AAS Winners for varieties that have been trialed for garden performance meaning you will be a more successful gardener.
3. Decide which of these plants you will grow from seed or buy as transplants.– Now add “Days to harvest” to your list from step 2. These can be found on labels and seed packets. The longer the days to harvest, the longer the growing season you will need. Some vegetables needed to be started indoors or purchased as a transplant so you have enough time for harvesting before your first frost in the fall.
– Of your list of favorites, determine which crops can be grown early then replaced with summer crops then replaced again with fall crops. For example, planting peas in the spring, then tomatoes in the summer and back to peas for the fall.
– Also, from your list of favorites, determine which ones can be grown as companion plants. Learn more about companion plants from NGB members West Coast Seeds and Burpee.
– Make certain the location is in an area that gets plenty of sun for the crops you choose.
– NGB member Gardener’s Supply has an excellent online planning tool (that was not available to victory gardeners back in 1943!).
6. Follow suggested sowing and planting dates.– To find the dates easily, use this tool from NGB member Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
– In many areas, March is the perfect time for either starting seeds indoors or out.
– You will need to know the date of the last frost in your area so you will know when it is safe to plant your seeds and starter plants outside. Check for your last frost day with this handy tool from NGB member Bonnie Plants.
7. Want to get your garden started with starter plants? – Find many varieties available from your local garden retailer or online source.
8. Start Composting – As the gardening season goes on, you can use compost to top-dress your gardens.
9. Don’t forget to plan for pollinator-friendly flowers – This will ensure your vegetables are properly pollinated!
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