franklinjoseph's blog: How to grow a Victory Garden

Posted on Aug 5, 2019 12:45 AM

It doesn't matter if you have a yard or just a patio, anyone can grow their own fresh fruits or Vegetables all you need is a container and you are ready to start.

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So, Ready? Set? Grow!

Whether you have a tiny patio or a huge lot, anyone can grow fresh organic vegetables for their family.

Victory gardens are sprouting up everywhere, even in empty lots…

People are doing what is sometimes called Guerilla gardening. This is where a group of people get together and simply start a garden in a vacant lot somewhere or even sometimes in the yard at the house next door if it is vacant and expected to be so for quite some time.

Vegetables are grown in containers so that they can be moved (in theory at least) in the case that the lot is sold.


But for most of us, this is a bit more than we want to do or risk with our gardens.

If you have a small space that you can dedicate to a garden, you CAN have your own Victory Garden

Raised Bed gardens, are becoming the way to go in gardening, especially if you have clay or otherwise poor soil. A raised bed garden is simply a garden that is grown above the soil base. You do NOT need something to contain this kind of gardening although most people use a frame of some sort. The key is to keep the beds only as wide as you can reach in from both sides. You do not want to walk on the beds as this compresses the soil and damages the beneficial life hidden beneath the soil.

How to grow a Victory garden?

Raised bed victory gardens are popping up everywhere these days, even in vacant lots!
Raised bed gardening is quickly becoming all the new rage, but what is it exactly?

During WWI and WWII we had the Victory Garden and every red-blooded American Wife or woman had a Victory garden growing in the back yard. This way the produce from Americas Farmers could go to the war effort and the food produced at home could be spread around the community so that everyone was fed.

With these tough economic times we are seeing a rapid resurgence of the traditional Victory Garden but in a new non-traditional way… The Raised bed gardens are quickly becoming the Victory Garden of Today.

You do not need allot of room to grow a Victory Garden, you can even do it in Containers or Pots on your patio or porch.

But for the purpose of this article we will be focusing more on the Raised Bed gardens that are being seen as the Modern Day Victory Garden.

This used to be called Square Foot Gardening and is much the same.

Most beds will be 3-4 ft wide and as long as you wish to make them. They do not need a rigid support wall like I am discussing, you can simply lay down the chicken wire and then start piling compost and soil on top of the wire to create your own Victory Garden.

The reason for the beds being 3-4 ft wide is so that you can reach the middle from either side and not have to walk in your garden and disturb the soil.

What are some of the things that you may need to build your Victory Garden?

Scrap materials to make a frame
Potting or planting mix
Grass clippings
Coffee grounds
Shredded paper
Small whole chicken wire

No boring wind rows here,

Get creative when designing the shape of your garden, make it the focal point to your yard Decide on where you will put your Victory Garden and the Dimensions you will want it to be.

Stake out the area or otherwise define it then give it a second look to ensure that it is exactly how you will want it to be.

You do not have to set your Victory Garden up in boring rows, you can design your Victory Garden in such a way to make it uniquely Yours.

Chicken wire prevents gophers and other burrowing pests from eating your vegetables from the root up

Once you have the area or shape of your Victory Garden defined you can then lay out your chicken wire.

The purpose of the chicken wire is to prevent gophers, moles and ground squirrels from gaining access to the roots of your precious vegetables and eating them up before you get the chance to serve them to your family.

Get Creative

Use anything you happen to have at hand, even a child's pool can make a wonderful Victory Garden.
If you are going to use a frame for your Victory garden, now is the time to do so.
Get creative; you can use old shelving (wood or metal) a bookcase, some 4×4′s or even corrugated aluminum to frame your unique garden design. When you assemble your frame you should be sure to secure the corners in such a way that the pressure and weight of the soil will not burst it at the seams.

What a wonderful reuse of a bed frame!

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Here in the photo above, both the chicken wire and the cardboard is already down for a wonderful weed block. Lay down several layers of newspaper or cardboard over your chicken wire to give a wonderful foundation for your Victory Garden. The deeper you can make this layer the better for the soil and the roots of your plants.

This thick layer of cardboard makes for a great weed block and… as it decomposes it adds wonderful nutrients to the soil, earthworms and other microbes will then feed on cardboard and in turn enrich your soil.

Your Victory garden does not have to be in boring rows, you can design anything you choose!

Once everything is in place it is time to fill in your frame for the Victory Garden
Start filling in the frame or base to your Victory Garden using shredded paper, aged steer or horse manure, compost, straw, potting mix, etc. Just be sure to place this in layers, no need to break out that roto tiller…you are building a habitat for beneficial organisms to create a wonderfully rich soil habitat!

These raised bed Victory Garden boxes have a trellis on one end for growing climbers

Don't worry if your Victory Garden soil level is not too deep the first year, you will continue to add to it year after year, eventually, the area will be filled in with wonderful soil for growing plants.

Adding a trellis of some sort will give climbers like cucumbers, peas and even things such as cantaloupe and Watermelon a place to stay off the ground. Of course, you will need to make a sling for cantaloupe and watermelon to prevent them from dragging the climbers down and killing the vine.

This is a wonderful way to support heavy climbers and tomatoes

Once you have at least 6 inches of soil in your base or defined area, you can plant, so don't worry if your Victory Garden is not really filled up to the top of the planter the first year you start.

A compost pile or bin is a must if you want to grow organic fruits and vegetables for your family.

This can be as simple as a pile or as complex as a compost tumbler If you have not already started on you should plan on starting a compost pile so that you will have plenty of organic material cooking to make awesome soil next year.
Personally, instead of a compost bin or pile, I have dedicated worm bins. I feed my family's organic material to the worms and harvest the resultant compost (or vermapost) and use it for my Victory garden.

A compost pile or bin from the average yard trimmings and family foot waste can provide more than enough rich organic compost for your soil or your garden, year after year

You can use anything can make your frame,
Don't worry if it isn't filled this year.

Victory gardening just gets better and better every year Once you have your Victory Garden planted for the first year, you can sit back and enjoy watching your vegetables grow.

Consider an Herb spiral as a focal point to your Victory Garden.

Herb spirals take into consideration the water and shade needs of various herbs. The herbs that like full sun and drier soil are planted at the top of the spiral. Then you need to take into consideration the shade and water needs of your other herbs and plant them accordingly. Those that like the full sun are planted on the south or sun side of the spiral and so on.

In the fall when it is time to harvest your Victory Garden, you can begin building the soil again for next years gardening. Lay down several layers of cardboard or shredded paper and then follow with layers of organic material, compost, aged steer manure, etc.

For an effective weed block, you can keep the area covered with black plastic to keep the weeds out and help the organic material underneath properly cook and compost to give you a richer healthier soil base next year.

About 1-2 months before planning your next years Victory Garden make sure to place several layers of newspaper or cardboard down and water your garden thoroughly making sure that the cardboard is well soaked this will bring up the earthworms and beneficial microbes that help protect your precious vegetables

This will give time for the beneficial micro-organisms to multiply and assist your plants to be healthier and grow faster than they did last year.
Tips & Warnings

During the fall and winter months, you want to water your Victory Garden bed at least once or twice a month. Give it a good soak and then leave it alone till the next watering.
Continue to add organic material to your Victory garden throughout the winter so that it has plenty of time to compost and cook. This will give your plants a healthier start next spring.
Do not over water your Victory Garden
Do not walk on your Victory Garden, each step on the garden kills beneficial microorganisms that are improving your soil.

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