I have seen an increasing number of home grown fruit and vegetable gardens. Every time I open a magazine, the newspaper or flip on the T.V., I’m hearing about another garden. What brought it to my attention was the nagging feeling that I needed to run to Home Depot to buy some 2×4’s and build a garden. Why on earth do I have this urge to build a garden, I thought? Never in my life have I had a garden or desired to have one. But as I see and hear more about them I’m beginning to think this is a trend that isn’t going to go away. With many families struggling to make ends meet and the rising costs of food, doesn’t it make sense to partake in this bygone tradition?
Is gardening a thing of the past?
During World War I and especially World War II, many Americans were willing to spend time each week gardening out of patriotism and solidarity with the troops. The government launched a nationwide campaign in the 1940s, much like the well-known “Uncle Sam Wants You” military recruiting posters, to remind citizens that gardening was an all-American way to contribute to the war effort. Household victory gardens reduced everyday demand for food at a time when the supply was strained by the needs of soldiers fighting overseas in Europe and the Pacific. Gardening was a way to win the war from the home front.
On March 20th, first lady Michelle Obama hosted the groundbreaking for a White House kitchen garden on the South Lawn. The 1,100-square-foot garden will include 55 kinds of vegetables, including peppers, spinach and, yes, arugula. (The selection is a wish list put together by White House chefs.) There will also be berries, herbs and two hives for honey that will be tended by a White House carpenter who is also a beekeeper. The chefs will use the produce to feed the first family, as well as for state dinners and other official events.
You may not have the White House staff to help you along your unfamiliar path of gardening, but there are several websites that can help. For starters look to the majors like Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living. Also, look at Smith and Hawkin for supplies. Its worth the effort to try. You may find yourself a new hobby and your kids will love it!