It’s funny how being a successful professional landscaper in NYC for the past 20 years has meant that I’ve had no time to devote to my own garden. With a ban on all non-essential work in New York, I’m finding myself with a lot of free time on my hands, time in which planting a vegetable garden not only sounds enjoyable but practical, as well. Thank you COVID-19 for giving me the gift of rediscovering the fresh air, sunshine, dirt on my hands back-to-basics feeling of planting a vegetable garden, a garden to feed my family, a garden to feed my soul.
A few years ago, my husband gave me a beautiful tin can filled with heirloom vegetable seeds, enough seeds to feed a family or maybe even a small army. Labeled a “Victory Garden” seed medley, the lovely tin sat on a shelf, completely forgotten about until now.
Victory Gardens, also called “war gardens,” were originally planted during World Wars I and II to help reduce the pressure on public food supply during these times of crisis.
How fitting that in an age of biological warfare, we are going back to our roots to rediscover these old ways of surviving and connecting with the land. Growing our own food means fewer trips to the grocery store risking possible contamination, a chance to save money, and also having a project the whole family can get involved in together.
How considerate it was of COVID-19 to come in early spring, the perfect time for preparing a garden. It’s time we emptied out the compost bin, tilled the soil, created our fortifications against the wilderness of rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and deer – all vying for the tasty morsels we put out.
How do farmers do it, fighting this endless battle against nature? We bring out the deer sprays, the fake owls, the bird netting, in hopes that we might save at least a few strawberries for ourselves.
This is the perfect time to start planting cool season crops like peas, beans, lettuce, spinach, beets, strawberries, and carrots. We set up a table near a south window yesterday and filled it with starter pots full of vegetable seeds.
Once all danger of frost has past, in May here on Long Island, we can start planting the warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, zucchini, and cantaloupes. I’m even thinking of purchasing a simple plastic greenhouse, a place to grow plants where they will be safe from all the pests.
I’m looking forward to watching the little pea tendrils shooting up as they search hungrily for sunlight. There is something about watching seedlings grow that gives us hope in the face of uncertainty. Even if there can be no work, no social contact with friends, no more weekends out to restaurants or movies, at least there is one thing that seems certain – a garden to grow and nourish a family.
#gardening #victorygarden #seeds #greenthumb #growyourown #workfromhome #nuorish #heirloomseeds #garden #vegetablegarden