Download the Victory Garden Handbook, circa 1943

bomb crater, victory garden in London

They started during times of war when there was not enough food. Planted in lawns and in backyards. This one was planted in a bomb crater. A Victory Garden planted in a bomb crater in London. 

When a parking lot was bombed in London during World War II they planted a garden. When there was not enough food in America because the farmers were off at war, Uncle Sam told them to plant and Americans had food. Growing veggies in times of crises is not a new idea, as so-called Victory Gardens have been around ever since World War I.

victory garden posters

Victory Gardens were popular in both world wars; and the produce grown in them not only helped to supplement war time food shortages for families, but were a great morale booster as well. And we dug up an amazing old handbook for those who might want to follow the 1943 US Government plan. 

victory garden handbook

“This is War Work” – caption from inside the Victory Gardens Handbook, circa 1943. You should check out the design. Fabulous.

The concept of home gardens has carried on to the present time, with both individual household garden plots as well as community garden projects such as the one I have been involved in for over a year now.

In my small 8×5 foot plot I grew large quantities of tomatoes, peppers, string beans, eggplant and other veggies like lettuce, kohlrabi and herbs like mint, lemon grass, parsley and thyme. You can also do this on your windowsill or at home, and here is a great list of medicinal herbs to start with

grow healing herbs at home

Flowering echinacea, for all times.

In fact, so much was produced last summer in my little plot that a lot of veggies were given away to family, friends and even neighbors.

This small plot is now producing winter varieties conducive to the milder winter climate found in Israel. These include kale, Swiss chard, various herbs, carrots, cabbage and broccoli. 

With the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) world pandemic crises now ravaging most countries, securing ample food supplies is turning out to be as serious as contracting the virus itself. As supplies of fresh vegetable produce become difficult to obtain, largely due to disruptions in supply lines, having a small Victory Garden is again making a lot of sense as it did for our grandparents during WWII. 

victory garden plan

There is only one small problem, however. The continual increase of people becoming infected by the virus and the resulting stay-at-home directives by governmental authorities is now preventing amateur farmers from working their garden plots; especially at a time when these fresh organic veggies and herbs are needed most.  

Hopefully, the self-quarantine orders will ease soon, so we can plant our Spring and Summer crops. As I experienced last year, there’s nothing better and healthier than freshly picked garden veggies from one’s own plot. The rewards speak for themselves, as it did for our grandparents more than 70 years ago. In the meanwhile, if you can, dig in and get growing the old fashioned way. 

victory garden handbook 1943

Download the Victory Garden Handbook here (links to PDF).

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