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Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Garden Victorious

For the first time in 15 years, we've planted a vegetable garden--what Steve calls our Victory Garden.

During World War II, when the country was called upon to make sacrifices (as opposed to going shopping), 20 million Americans planted gardens to help the war effort. They planted in backyards, empty lots, anywhere they could dig the dirt and plant seeds. They even put them on rooftops. As a result, 40 percent of the produce grown and consumed in America came from these Victory Gardens.

Our Victory Garden is more of a means to fight back at the corporate industrial food complex.

Our yard had been too shady for a garden, but last year we needed to take out a large silver maple on the south end of the house. After many days of wrestling with the remnants of the trunk and roots, we ended up with the perfect place for a garden. We purchased a tiller and, even though the soil looked decent, we amended it with composted manure. We fertilize with grass clippings and decomposed horse manure.

Some crops are planted in wide rows allowing for much greater yield from a small space and less weeding. We've harvested radishes, lettuce, and spinach so far and look forward to the rest: peapods, broccoli, brussels sprouts, raspberries (next year), celery, five types of tomatoes, including heirloom Brandywines, an unholy number of different types of peppers (thanks to daughter, Hannah), kohlrabi, shallots and purple onions, zucchini, butternut squash, beans, cauliflower and purple cabbage. We even have young hop plants started in there, but they'll need a lot more space in time. Sadly, no leeks this year.

I'll still frequent the farmers' market for leeks and other stuff I didn't plant (and because it's a happenin' place), but to have our own plot and to produce much of our own food feels like victory to me.

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