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MomTalk.com January 23, 2018:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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Victory Gardens 2009: Grow Vegetables in Your Own Backyard

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by Deb McLeod


Garden centers are packed this spring with people looking for vegetables and herbs to plant. Nothing new there, right? It's spring and that's the tradition for many people - head to the garden center to plan the yard for the year.


What makes this year unique is that many of the people who have begun shopping for their vegetable garden have never done this before.


The recession - and fears about the quality of the country's food supply - have led many people to think that taking a DIY approach is ideal. Hence, the popularity of vegetable gardens in so many yards this year.


According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are many rewards to having a vegetable garden in these tough times. Specifically, the USDA reports that $10 invested in garden materials reaps more than $1,000 in produce over the life of the garden.


But most of the shoppers in the garden center these days are new to gardening. If you're among them, consider these tips:


1. First, remember there might be failures. Your investment in plants doesn't have to be huge (look for buy one get one deals, or discounts on seeds), so the loss will be minimal. Be willing to accept that some failure might occur. Even the most seasoned gardeners will have years when their tomatoes or cucumbers just don't respond.


2. Pick vegetables that are easy to grow. Most people start with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini. If you want to grow some fruits, consider strawberries and melons. If you enjoy gardening and plan a garden next summer, you can add more complicated produce to your mix.


3. Consider uncommon objects to serve as your garden. If you are unsure about putting plants in the ground, or you rent your home and aren't allowed, get creative in finding containers for your gardening. You can plant a vegetable garden in an old child's sandbox or swimming pool. You can even build a wood box for your garden.


4. Don't assume that if you live in an apartment or don't have a yard that you can't garden. Many people have grown vegetables successfully in small amounts of space. You can grow herbs on your kitchen window sill. Think containers for your other items. Tomatoes and peppers, in particular, grow well in containers.


5. Have fun with it. Give the children their own special corner of the garden, and encourage them to "play in the dirt". You can even grow sections that are specific to a meal. Your pizza garden, for example, might include peppers, tomatoes, basil and oregano. Add some pumpkin seeds to the garden so in the fall the kids can harvest their own pumpkins.


During WWII, "Victor Gardens" were all about taking the pressure off the country's food supply and finding victory over the ravages of war. Your modern version could be about health, decreasing pressure on the food supply (some things never change) or victory over recession and uncertain times.



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