Victory Gardens

During World War II, people were encouraged to plant gardens to help sustain a restrictive food supply brought on by the war. Vegetable and herb gardens were cultivated in back and front yards, empty lots and apartment building rooftops, balconies and window sills. Major cities commandeered a portion of public parks to grow vegetables as an advertisement of support for the troops. The government, as well as Agricultural corporations such as Good Housekeeping, Beech-nut, Simon & Schuster, House and Garden Magazine, produced and distributed basic gardening booklets. In addition, a film titled Victory Garden on how to plant and care for a victory garden was made available. Topics included soil health, how to plant, when and what to plant, and how to tend to the plants and pest control issues.

The food raised was shared between the gardeners’ families, friends and neighbors. Any surplus was canned for a later time. Victory Gardens produced up to 40% of all consumed food. The gardens contained vegetables such as beans, beets, carrots, peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, chard, onions, cucumbers, parsley, squash, corn, parsnips, leeks, turnips, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, endive, and rutabagas.

When World War II ended, the government dropped the campaign for planting a victory garden. However, there was a serious disadvantage in severing the program too quickly. In the summer of 1946, the agriculture industry still had not come back up to full production, which in turn created a food shortage. Fortunately for some, they continued to plant their gardens earlier that spring and were able to get through the difficult times.