Most of my friends wouldn’t know where to begin if told to grow their own food. I of course have my horticulture comrades…but those engineers; oceanographers; teachers — they’re great at their professions and have wonderful skill sets — growing just isn’t one of them!
This is not an isolated example. For generations there have been those with green thumbs and those, well — without.
Growing your own food and gardening has gone in and out of fashion throughout history. Gardens have brought us means of survival such as those in Jewish ghettos in Europe in the 1930s and 40s and have also been a means of luxury and resort; such as the lush gardens of the Roman and Arabic cultures.
Even medieval fortresses often had kitchen gardens and fruit orchards within their enclosures.
Recently I came across an interesting time in gardening history. During World War I and II, many people started Victory Gardens (also ‘war gardens’ or ‘food for defense’). They were food producing plots planted at private residences and public parks aimed at reducing pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. These Victory Gardens were also considered a civil ‘morale booster’ in that gardeners would feel empowered by their contribution of labor.
During World War II, the city of Chicago alone started 1,500 of these large scale Victory Gardens and more than 250,000 people started their own home gardens. This was accomplished in only four years and a shocking 90% of these people had never gardened before! This is a prime example of when needed, we can all (regardless of experience or interest) make something nutritious sprout from the ground.
While you may be in the category with many of my friends — scared to even attempt to poke a seed into soil– I must encourage you to try what (at least some of) your ancestors have been doing for centuries.
If this is your first time growing your own food, it may be one of your most joyous experiments. And an experiment it may be! Great things are rarely discovered upon the first trial, so be open to trying multiple times and learning from your experiences.
Please share photos with us on Twitter (@OZCFarm) of your home grown food – or attempts — and happy growing!