Monday, May 11, 2009

War and Peas

Judging by the number of Victory Gardens sprouting up around the country, we are a nation at war! It's the latest fad and a direct response to the prickly economic situation we're going through right now. There's a whole lot of good things to say about these gardens and newbie gardeners, and hopefully, they'll keep at it after better times return.

The first victory gardens grew during the dark days of World War II and the Extension Service was the guiding hand behind them. Fresh foods were tough to come by, if you lived in the city, and many items, including sugar and butter, were rationed. It was all to support the war effort. Growing your own garden gave you a chance to do something good for your family, do your part, and also teach your children some honest values.

After the peace, came prosperity, and with prosperity came complacence. Rural folks continued to garden, but many city folks turned to the new supermarkets that were coming onto the scene. Some urbanites continued to wield trowels and hoes and plant seeds, and these folks kept the dream alive.

Today, we've rediscovered our roots, so to speak. What was old is now new again, and even the White House has its victory garden. Let's hope these gardens continue, once good times return. Our connection to the earth is fundamental and is what sustains us. Working with the soil, nurturing and harvesting, give us a chance to reconnect with the rhythm of life.

Garden on, America!


  1. I hope you're right and we continue to "grow our own." We'll all be healthier.

    Interesting note: during the early days of WWII in Great Britain, food was rationed before clothing. Also, the British had a interesting dish called "Woolton Pie," a low-cost dish filled with bland vegetables and peppery sausage. Vanilla cake was sweetened with carrots.


  2. Great post! Loved the title. :) And the subject is very interesting, too. We're about to plant some tomatoes (we've gotten a little behind this year. I'm in NC, so it's definitely time.

  3. Another nice job, Karen. Here's to the day when we don't need to garden for victory, but simply for fun and sustenance.

    Best Regards, Galen

  4. Great title, Karen. And the essay follows through. You are such a fine writer. Yes, our connection to the Earth is fundamental. Hopefully we'll keep getting better at taking care of it.

  5. Love the title! A good post title adds so much.

  6. Yes, lovely title and an interesting article. I love gardening, and sometimes long for the days before marketing my book when I had all the time in the world to putter around my garden.

    alan chin
    writer, Island Song

  7. Another great blog and very catchy title

    NA Sharpe

  8. Love the title, though I don't like either. We have some very nice victory gardens here too. I feel sad walking in them, thinking about the cost of war and the lost of young men and women.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

  9. Someday, I'd like to have a little garden again, even if I can't grow anything more than weeds. My hubby grows collard greens, and we actually have an artichoke plant that I haven't managed to kill off. Still, I long for homegrown tomatoes.


  10. Since I'm a former Illinois farm kid, I love gardens. The only time I didn't have one was the eleven years I lived in Florida. But now, here I am in Colorado, with a shorter growing season and a thistle infestation. I dug thistles all last summer. It was good exercise but not very successful otherwise. The thistles are back. I guess the next step is a plywood floor and raised frames. Thistles won't grow through plywood, will they?


  11. Hi, in our neighborhood, only two of us have planted gardens. Everybody has a lot of space so there is no reason not to have a garden. We have planted blueberrys, lettuce, tomatoes and assorted herbs so far. Keep up your excellent blog. Best to you and your family!

  12. finally a trend which I hope stays forever, vegetable gardens are practical but gardening also makes you appreciate the smaller things in life and draws you closer to the land. Here is to War and peas and I hope Peace and peas.


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~ I'm the author of Headwind: The Intrepid Adventures of OSS Agent Katrin Nissen. If you're a WWII buff, you'll like it here!