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COVID-19 Gardens-2020

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Vegetable and fruit gardening 2020

cover-19-gardens

War Gardens and Victory Gardens of World War I and World War II

War Gardens also eventually called victory gardens of World War I and World War II, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences, public parks and it vacant lots, throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany.

In war time the governments encouraged people to plant war and victory gardens not only to supplement their rations but to boost morale. They were used along with rationing stamps, and cards to reduce pressure of the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens also were considered a "morale booster". The gardeners could feel empowered by the contributions of labor and rewarded by produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.

At first the gardens were referred to as war gardens, but then as it appeared we were beginning to win the war, they started to be referred to as "victory gardens".

Victory Gardens

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Victory Gardens of our past history

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Victory Gardens Remembered

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More Victory Gardens

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More Victory Gardens

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The World's food system largely failed the pandemic stress test

The worlds food system has undergone a stress test and lately failed it. The pandemic disputed global supply chains, induced panic buying, and cleared supermarket shelves. It left perfectly edible produce rotting in fields, and left farmers no choice but to gas, shoot, and bury their livestock, because slaughter plants were shut down.

Farmers continue to struggle with lost income. The pandemic disputed global supply chains, induced panic buying and cleared supermarket shelves.

It left perfectly edible produce rotting in fields, and left farmers no choice to either give away crops like Idaho Potatoes did in Iowa, or to plow their crops under.

There are results of bottlenecks disrupting the supply chain. This disruption created the loss of demand for some upstream of the bottleneck and created shortages for others downstream.

Farmers Forced To Dump their Milk

Because of the break in the supply chain, dairy farmers have been forced to dump gallons and gallons of milk down the drain. Because of the contracts they had with restaurants and schools, when they were no longer able to sell to them it disrupted their chain of income. After the milk is given by the dairy cow, it still has to be pasteurized and packaged, so therefore it ended up being dumped down the drain.

This left a true bottle neck, leaving the farmer with lost income and the consumer with a shortage of milk.

Farmers dumping milk down the drain

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Vegetables Rot in Farmers Fields as the food chain breaks down

Many vegetables ended up rotting in the farmers fields, as the food chain after COVID-19, broke out.

This in turn has effected the availability and prices in the grocery stores. One of the main contracts farmers had was with restaurants, schools and cafeterias. With that being suddenly interrupted by COVID-19, it was difficult for farmers and grocery stores to change avenues, and therefore the food chain ended up confused and disrupted.

Tomatoes rotting in the fields instead of going to market

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Squash Rotting in Farmers Field during COVID-19

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My Own Experience with My COVID-19 Garden

This year has certainly been an unusual one. Fortunately I always had a garden each year, because it was one of my passions. Something I enjoyed doing, something I found enjoyable and actually miraculous. There was always something that seemed majestic about seeing the renewal of life. It always seems to be something of a miracle that you could put a seed in the ground and a plant would grow, and produce fruit.

By the time I actually realized the severity of COVID-19, I found well I was a little late. I started looking on line for extra canning jars and seeds and plants. To my dismay, this is what I found written across most items listed in most people's catalogs. 'SOLD OUT' Well at first I felt great disappointment, but then I remembered I had ordered a lot of seeds last year, and I began looking for the bag and where I put it in my house.

To my delight I found all kinds of seeds in that little good bag of mine. True some were at least one year old and some even two years old. But I suppose my garden as seems every year was touched by an angel. I used these seeds and had just about a 90% germination rate.

We grew beautiful green peas, green beans, potatoes, strawberries, blackberries, and they now sit proudly in our freezer. Now we are in the process of canning tomatoes in a variety of different forms. You might say was are getting a bumper crop. Some of the tomatoes, I raised from seed, some I found at our local Lowe's. I even planted some sugar peas which my husband and I really don't care for. But it is the only peas my daughter in-law liked, so we grew them anyway, and called them Amy's peas and the said they were extremely tasty.

So this is our COVID 19 garden, and we still have the rest of our tomatoes to preserve, but our Lima Beans which we grew on Poles. Here's hoping we will enjoy them more then ever this winter. For as crazy as things have been who knows what the months to come will bring.

I will end this hub by posting one more picture of our COVID-19 garden, although there is much more to it, then I was able to show you, it certainly has produced far more then our wildest expectations.

More food in our COVD-19 Garden

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Comments

Susan (author) from Dover Delaware on October 27, 2020:

Our garden always has a little bit of shade around it. Every year I have a beautiful bountiful garden. My tomato plants are six feet tall, and we are still getting tomatoes. We can froze, sweet peas, carrots, green beans, lima beans and spinach. With the world being so uncertain, there is nothing like fresh vegetables. I live in Delaware and we are still getting tomatoes. Keep trying you will find the bountiful results.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 26, 2020:

We usually go to the NH woods for the summer so I haven't planted a vegetable garden in years. The pandemic made us stay in place, so I started my victory garden in June on my lanai in grow-bags. Unfortunately, the overly hot Florida summer burned out most of them but we got some peppers and tomatoes. Now that it's fall, I'm replanting with cabbage, more tomatoes, some yellow squash, and am hoping for better results.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 22, 2020:

That was a very smart idea. Covid 19 was devastating to certain sectors and it showed us all how very unprepared every country was for it.

I hadn't heard of war gardens, that's interesting. If we all just grew a few vegetables at home it could be beneficial to us in the coming months.

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 22, 2020:

Hi Susan, You have wonderful hubs. This one included. I have viewed the first two, hand pollinating cucumbers and tomatoes, but there is no where I can leave a comment. So I'll leave it here. We get tomatoes ok but I have the same problems with cucumbers, so next year I will try your method of hand pollinating the plants. Thanks for the information.

Arthur Russ from England on August 11, 2020:

A most interesting read: Yes I’m very familiar with the British Government’s ‘Digging for Victory’ slogan during the 2nd world war; a bit before my time, but vegetable gardening has since become an indelible part of the British culture. In the UK there are about 300,000 allotments (with 100,000 families on the waiting list) e.g. enough allotments for just over 1% of households in the UK. Since 1908 Local Governments have a legal obligation to provide allotments to their local residents; the average allotment is 250 square metres (300 square yards).

I used to have an allotment, but I found it was more land than I needed, so these days I grow all our own fruit and veg at the bottom of our back garden, plus a mini orchard at the bottom of our lawn. The land I use for growing fruit and veg (excluding the mini orchard) is just 33 square yards; but I find that sufficient to grow all our vegetables (except potatoes) to feed us 12 months of the year.

Yes, the pandemic certainly did cause panic buying, and emptied supermarket shelves, for the first month of the pandemic in the UK; and certainly it has caused some issues with food production in the UK, along the lines you describe: So for the first six week of the pandemic food was restricted e.g. just 3 tins or packets etc. of each item per customer.

However, in spite of all the issues, the UK Government and Supermarkets worked together to keep the supply chains open, and prices down; some of the measures taken to achieve this included:-

1. During the first six weeks, the Government and Supermarkets worked hard to keep the supply chains open, so that the Supermarkets could restock their shelves overnight. Then for the 1st hour they were open to NHS staff only, for the 2nd hour they were open to the elderly and disabled only; and then they opened for everyone else. Albeit, even with restricting how many items people could buy, the shelves would be empty by the end of the day, but restocked again first thing the following morning.

2. Part of the strategy to keep the supply chains open was co-operation between rival Supermarkets (pulling their resources). In this respect the different supermarkets shared (pooled) their staff, food and transport. This was particular noticeable with Home Deliveries.

3. Another strategy, to maximise ‘Social Distancing’, was the supermarkets stepping up their ‘home delivery’ service; and encouraging people to use ‘home delivery’ rather than in-shop shopping.

In recent years supermarkets in the UK have been offering a ‘home delivery’ service, sometimes for a modest delivery charge e.g. $7, sometimes free if you spend more than £50, and sometimes with a $7 delivery service but a generous discount e.g. 5% to 20% discount.

My wife has often used the home delivery service, when it worked out cheaper than physically visiting the supermarket e.g. discount voucher for shopping on-line or free delivery etc. and it’s a great way to shop because the computer app on the shopping website doesn’t just link into an individual supermarket but links into all the supermarkets at the same time; so that you can make a price comparison on-line as you shop, and then place your order with the supermarket that works out the cheapest.

Since the pandemic the UK supermarkets have ploughed more of their resources into ‘home delivery’ and encouraged people to buy on-line for ‘home delivery’ to help with ‘social distancing’; so since the lockdown in the UK on the 23rd March, we’ve done all our food shopping on-line. And with the supermarkets pooling (sharing) their resources, to help keep the supply chains open, it’s been quite an interesting experience e.g. although my wife might place her order with Sainsbury’s, the food would be delivered by a ‘hot dog’ vender (in his own van), and some of the products delivered would be ‘own brands’ from competitor supermarkets e.g. Tesco, Aldi, Lidl etc.

The above does help to mitigate for gaps in the supply chain, by supermarkets giving you substitutions from alternate sources; which on the whole is fine e.g. a tin of tomatoes is a tin of tomatoes regardless to their source. But the one exception was a batch of baked beans we had delivered a couple of weeks ago.

British baked beans are imported from the USA, except the baked beans the USA exports to the UK is a lot healthier than the baked beans sold in the USA e.g. baked beans sold in the USA contain 14 grams of sugar in a tin while the tins exported from the USA to the UK only contain 7 grams.

So I guess the American home market baked beans would be far too sweet for the British taste. However, the baked beans we had delivered a couple of weeks ago were from mainland Europe. The mainland European baked beans are from beans grown in Europe rather than in the USA, and contain even less sugar than the ones sold in Britain. So they are very bland in comparison, and don’t really make for good ‘beans on toast’ (a traditional British dish); so after trying one tin, my wife donated the rest of that batch to a local ‘food bank’. You can’t normally buy the European baked beans in the UK, the same as you can’t buy British baked beans in mainland Europe; which is why when we go on holiday in France or Belgium we take a supply of baked beans with us. I guess our supermarket substituted the normal British baked beans for European baked beans because of a disruption in the supply chain from the USA during the pandemic?

‘Beans on Toast’ is a ‘Traditional British Dish’ which we have at least once a week:-

American tries beans on toast for the first time ever: https://youtu.be/JHYIShxWHTY

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2020:

A COVID-19 garden sounds likes a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing the information about victory gardens and about your own garden. Growing plants can be very rewarding.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 26, 2020:

I loved growing my own vegetables. Now that I live in a small apartment with the tiniest of balconies and only a west window that faces the hottest part of the day and scorches the best of potted plants, I just have to do without growing things. I miss it. If only there were a place I could plant a small plot of veggies. Oh well. It is what it is.

Blessings,

Denise

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 24, 2020:

This was an extremely interesting article. I was unaware of war gardens / victory gardens. It is a shame that farmers had to let their crops rot in the field and milk flushed down the drain. We are living in a critical time in the world. I'm glad you found seeds to plant. I don't plant a garden, but I plant flowers which gives me much pleasure. Thanks for sharing.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 24, 2020:

I have noticed many more people turning to growing their own in recent months. This is an interesting and helpful article. Hopefully home growing will continue into the future.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 24, 2020:

Good for you that you turned this most unfortunate situation positive the best you could with your garden. It’s good that you were able to find seeds from past years.

Susan (author) from Dover Delaware on July 23, 2020:

Thank you. With so many supplies sold out, it appears that all over the world Covid-19 gardens took off quickly. My husband and I have been putting up vegetables for weeks. We planted a huge garden and then I ended up in the hospital for a week, for a obstructed bowel. I had life saving surgery, and a colostomy. Hoping for a reversal in six months, I have COPD. But I help what I can but my husband has been an angel keeping the garden going and also putting the vegetable up with a little instruction from me. Perhaps this is kind of like a victory gardens in itself. Victory of a shortage of food, because of the disruption of the food chain. Unfortunately it is not over yet, but we will hope for better times ahead.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 23, 2020:

This pandemic has hurt us in so many ways. I remember m mother talking about victory gardens for WWII. I always had a garden until the recent years where I can't handle it any more. This is a good, interesting article.