Digging for climate victory

One of my nerdy pursuits is the home front in WW2. Why? No idea, it just fascinates me how people were made to change and adapt to such a harsh situation. Make do and mend came as a result of fabric shortages, not to mention there was a chance the local shop is now a pile of rubble. There was also Dig for victory! A lot of food was imported at this time and with supply lines often being targeted and cut off, rations were looking a little lean. Most farms were producing produce for the troops, so those at home were told under no unsure terms to dig up what ever ground you could get your hands on and start growing, sides of the road, ontop of Anderson shelters, people were breaking up concrete to use the soil under it. Public parks were turned into victory beds, even the whitehouse gardens were turned over to victory gardening.

A series of videos and pamphlets taught people how to garden because of course post people had no idea, food came from the shop right? Not only this but they were told what to grow, no use growing a whole block of onions, they needed to ensure they had food year round and enough vitamins and minerals to keep people going. There are actually stories of prize rose bushes being moved from manor houses and planted out in the woods because the families figured they would go back and get them when all the 'hype' was over. Of course rationing lasted well past the war and now on casual strolls through the forest you may come across a random rose bush. They recruited woman to be Landgirls. This beautiful landgirl is still proud of her war effort.

It really fascinates me to learn how they did it, of course a lot of the pesticides they recommended were really poisonous so please take the videos with a modern knowledge. I would really recommend watching them though, they are so fun and very educational for schools or home schoolers.

Winter Work In The Garden - Wartime Gardening 1943 WWII
The Original Victory Garden  - reimaged in color with modern gardeners subtitles which are fun to read
Victory Gardens, The Sequel -- New Urban AG, Scaling Locally Grown Food | Jeff Olson - a TED talk on victory gardens today
A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | Ron Finley - one of the best TED talks I have seen on feeding the people

After the war it was seen as a sign that you were very well off if you got rid of your victory garden and had grass or flowers instead. That's why a lot of councils say you cant have food growing in the front yard because they want the suburb to seem well off and manicured, strange how its a mentality which has carried over so long. There is no reason now that we should not grow our own food, its not only better for you and not pumped full of chemicals but its right outside your door! And frankly so much fun to grow. The idea is starting to come back, with climate change a new term has been coined, Dig for Climate Victory. Did you know that having plants in your garden can lower the temp around your home by up to 3 degrees. Having fake turf raises it by 2 degrees not to mention the carbon dioxide, packaging and travel we save by growing our own.

Food security is something a lot of people take for granted, but there is no need at all for this to be an issue, just plant food. Plant an apple tree, plant potatoes. Most of these are very self sufficient and need very little tending from you. Just plant and water occasionally.

After the horrid weather in Canberra this year I had little hope for my little garden. My worms died in the heat, the smoke killed any hope I had of planting, when it finally cleared I planted and we were hit with a massive hail storm. But with the rain that hit a few weeks later my smashed plants actually started to recover. all 4 zucchini sprung back (that's a lot of zucchini if they mature), one squash and randomly two corn have sprouted in the middle of the paving...I don't know how.

Encouraged by this I got a new packet of worms and bought some onions, peas and cauliflower (pretty much all I can plant this time of year in Canberra). I planted as many peas as I could fit and scattered a few of the others around in the gaps. Then I went back to my seed stash and sorted out all the old ones. Cough, admission here, about half were more than 5yrs old lol. I believe they are good for a year or so after their plant by date but 5yrs is pushing it. feeling bad though I emptied them all into a jar and ill scatter them next year and see if anything grows...who knows?

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