It’s finally happening. Victory Gardens are making a resurgence. Here’s a peek at what I’ll be growing in my second year of victory gardening. Will you be digging for victory, too?
MY LITTLE VICTORY GARDEN
In February 2020, I wrote about why victory gardens should make a comeback.
While I view self-sufficiency as a virtue, when you grow your own food, you’re connecting with your food, getting exercise, and declining to support industrial farming practices.
I had a feeling a victory garden resurgence was coming, but I didn’t know that it would be so soon or that it would be sparked by an illness.
2019 was my real first year of gardening, so naturally, I made a bunch of mistakes.
Still, I wanted to expand the garden, which is precisely what I did. My patch is more than double the size for the growing season ahead.
In true victory garden style, the goal is to make my land as productive as I possibly can.
To augment garden yields, I’ll also be growing with containers and converting one of my flower beds into a lettuce bed.
Ready to see what I’m planting?
WHAT I’M PLANTING IN MY VICTORY GARDEN VIDEO
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THE MOST POPULAR VICTORY GARDEN VEGETABLES
Before we dive into what I’m planting, let’s rewind back in time and see what folks used to grow in their victory gardens during wartime.
With most everyone short on time, energy, and resources there was an emphasis on crops that were easy to grow. These included…
WHAT I’M PLANTING VEGETABLE-WISE
If I had enough space and cold storage, I would plant all of the veggies listed above.
In any case, I will be planting…
I adore tomatoes. The ones sold in grocery stores are a pale comparison to a warm tomato that’s freshly plucked from the vine.
Homegrown tomatoes don’t get sprayed with a gross waxy coating and you get to decide how long they stay on the vine.
I’m growing several varieties this year: Tiny Tim, Rainbow, Roma, Beefsteak and Cherry tomatoes.
My main goal is to grow and can enough so I won’t need to buy canned tomatoes throughout the year.
We’ll see how that works out!
I started a couple of Black Beauty eggplant seedlings along with my tomatoes last week.
I’ve never grown eggplant before, but I love grilling them for vegetarian gyros.
It’s also super easy to make a hummus-like spread with roasted eggplant called baba ghanoush.
If I get a big enough crop, there will also be a can or two of spicy pickled eggplant in my future. Yum!
Peas are one of those crops that do well with succession planting, which is a technique that maximizes the growing season with a second planting.
I have sugar snap peas leftover from last year, but I’d also like to plant green peas if I can get my hands on a seed packet.
For some reason, I associate cabbage with victory gardens.
It seems like the ultimate crop because it can be used in so many ways.
This will be my first year growing cabbages and I am looking forward to what this means for my fermentation station.
If everything goes well, there will be lots of homemade sauerkraut, that’s for sure!
Another candidate for succession planting, beans are one crop that did well in my garden last year. I didn’t grow enough to preserve any, but I served beans at practically every meal.
Oh, the taste of summer!
Like last year, I will be favouring green and yellow bush beans, but next year I want to experiment with pole beans and maybe even fava beans.
As much as I love beets, I will only be growing Detroit Reds this year.
The exciting thing about beets is that they can be pickled, used to make kvass (a fermented, probiotic-rich tonic), turned into beet salads, or shredded for this gorgeous Victory Borscht. What do you like doing with beets?
When I grow my own cucumbers this year, I won’t be tempted to buy plastic-wrapped cucumbers or anything coated in wax.
Not that this happens very often because cucumbers have gotten prohibitively expensive over the last year.
I’ll be growing pickling cucumbers to make, well, pickles, and a large variety that will let me experiment with cucumber recipes such as salsa, relish and sorbet.
My Red Russian kale did extraordinarily well last year, so I can confirm that it’s easy to grow.
It makes a delicious alternative to romaine lettuce in Caesar salads and if you massage it with some lemon juice and salt, it’s scrumptious topped on a pizza.
I can’t get enough zucchini on my plate in the summer, but after a while, you have more zucchini than you know what to do with.
You bake it into loaves of zucchini bread, muffins and cakes. You freeze it. Spiralize it. Turn it into salsa, or stick a couple in your neighbour’s mailbox.
I got caught off guard last year when I discovered swiss chard growing in my herb garden.
It turns out it’s a biennial, which means it goes to seed in its second year, meaning I didn’t get very much out of my surprise chard.
I’ll be growing more this year and letting a couple of the best plants go to seed next year.
I need to figure out how that works.
There’s always so much to learn when it comes to gardening!
Lettuce is supposed to be easy to grow, but I failed miserably at it last year.
I’m trying again with a few different varieties and am digging a special bed just for them.
I will also be staggering the plantings by 10-14 days so the lettuce won’t be ready for picking at the same time.
My mouth is watering just thinking about tender garden greens!
SPINACH & ARUGULA
My husband is getting involved with our victory garden this year, bless his soul.
When I asked him if there was anything he wanted us to grow, he said spinach, which is a high-demand vegetable.
I’m indulging him and giving the spinach bed extra fertilizer. As for arugula, I love this peppery green and hope that it grows in abundance for me!
The way I figure, if my mom can grow squash, so can I. She gave me seeds from her butternut squash a couple of years ago, so hopefully, I’ll be rich in squash come fall.
My favourite squash is amber cup, but again, my growing space is limited.
Potatoes are more of an experiment than anything.
My husband and I will be converting a garbage can into a potato-growing container.
If it works, I will be frantically looking for ways to preserve potatoes since I don’t have a cool spot to stash away a wealth of tubers.
WHAT I’M PLANTING IN THE HERB GARDEN
Tucked away in the corner of my yard is the herb bed.
Currently, there’s second-year parsley growing, along with oregano, lemon thyme, mint and chives.
When it’s warm enough, I will be bringing the rosemary I brought in for the winter back out.
There’s an English lavender plant that’s a bit of an outcast, as it’s not in the same bed as the herbs.
As for annuals I will be digging in basil, dill, and summer savoury.
I also started extra chives because I can’t get enough of their light allium taste!
My favourite part about growing herbs is drying them for the spice cupboard so that I can season my food with them all winter long.
WHAT I’M PLANTING FRUIT-WISE
I don’t have a huge property. Shoot, I don’t even have half an acre, so fruit trees are out of the question. Besides, fruit trees are planted with an eye on the long-term.
Instead, what I’m planting are currant bushes.
Last year I put in a raspberry bush out front, so the currants will be lined up with it. If I can get my hands on them, I’ll be digging in white, red, and black currants. They’re excellent in jams and my little one adores them in their raw, tart state.
Additionally, I’ll be growing a couple of strawberry plants in pots.
I have a friend who’s growing her strawberries in PVC pipes that are hanging from her pergola. It looks like such a neat setup and I wish I was handier to manage McGyvering something like that!
Lastly, there’s the rhubarb I dug in last year. I was concerned I would never see again when it disappeared on me, but lo and behold, I spotted it shooting up this past weekend!
WHAT I’M PLANTING FLOWER-WISE
I didn’t place a huge emphasis on flowers last year. I grew crackerjack marigolds as a companion plant and geraniums out front.
At the beginning of the season, I sowed a few packets of wildflower seeds to attract pollinators and dug in gladiolas.
I was juggling with working from home while staying at home with my little one, so my flower beds got neglected.
This year I’m being more intentional with my approach.
Here’s what I’m planting:
This is a companion plant in that it attracts aphids, whiteflies and thrips.
This is good because these common garden pests will be reeled in by the calendula and leave everything else alone.
Moreover, calendula is edible and beloved by herbalists.
I know very little about herbalism, but I do know it can be turned into salves to treat burns and rashes; teas for sore throats; and oils and ointments.
This striking coneflower is another companion plant and is valued for its cold-soothing properties.
Not only does it attract pollinators, but it can be used to make teas, oils and tinctures.
These little jewel-like flowers are also companion plants.
They are perfect for growing around tall crops and Brussel sprouts, squash, kale, and other hardy crops.
Nasturtiums are often referred to as living mulch because they provide ground cover.
These flowers also attract some pests and can be used in salads.
I have this shady spot in my backyard that was neglected last year.
I planted the rhubarb over there, but then it got choked out by weeds.
The rhubarb is already making a strong comeback, but I’ll be cleaning up the area and sowing wildflower seeds to attract pollinators.
I also plan on using it as a cut flower garden. There’s nothing quite like a sweet bouquet of flowers to put on your bedside table!
THANK YOU FOR POPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
Are you planning on digging a victory garden this year? If so, what are you planting? Are you a newbie like I am, or have you been doing this for a while? I hope you’ll stop by and say hi in the comments below!
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Love and gratitude,