One unexpected (but happy!) consequence of our current social state: the resurgence of “victory gardens,” aka DIY vegetable and fruit plots. The idea is to plant enough produce to provide your own personal source of food so you don’t have to rely on external resources. Quick history refresher: These backyard plots get their name from the WWI and WWII eras when people were encouraged to help prevent a food shortage (and make sure there was enough food for our soldiers fighting overseas) by growing their own veggies. Thus, victory gardens were born.
While there’s zero reason to fear a food shortage nowadays, we did notice that modern-day “victory gardens” are cropping back up nonetheless. And unlike that lattice pie crust, handmade knit sweater or finishing The Complete Works of Shakespeare (no? just us?), planting a veggie, herb or fruit garden is actually a super-easy self-isolation accomplishment. All you need is a couple of hours (this weekend, perhaps?), the right supplies and a burning desire to get out of the house and soak in the sun and fresh air. Do we have your full attention yet?
Here’s how to plant your very own victory garden.
Step 1: Gather your tools and supplies
You’ll need a nutrient-rich soil like Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil that’s suitable for growing veggies, herbs or fruit. You’ll also need a few tools: gardening gloves, a spade, a shovel and a nearby hose. Of course, none of this can happen without the seeds or starter plants for whatever types of produce you want to grow. Might we suggest starting with tomatoes, herbs and leafy greens? If you’re a beginner, we highly recommend using starter plants, like Bonnie Plants, that just need to be transferred from their pots to your soil.
Step 2: Stake out your garden
Pick a flat, non-sloping area of your backyard that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight (though some herbs and veggies may need partial shade). An ideal bed is about eight feet by four feet so that you can bend down and tend to the growing plants without ever stepping foot on the soil, as The Washington Post’s recent article about victory gardens notes. (Or as they call them, “Stick it to the Virus Gardens.”)
Also, depending on the orientation of your garden, try to plant in east-west rows so the plants don’t shade each other from the sun. Your biggest plants should be located on the north and west sides of the garden so they don’t overshadow any of the little guys.
Step 3: Start with soil
First, dig up whatever sod is currently covering the ground, then till the soil underneath. Next, spread a three-inch layer of Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose In-Ground Soil on top of your plot, mixing it into the top six inches of native soil.
Step 4: Plant, plant, plant
Create a grid in your garden with rows for each type of plant. Each plant should have its own one-square-foot area, meaning your four-foot-wide by eight-foot-long garden can hold 32 plants, or four rows of eight tomatoes, etc.
Next, follow the planting directions on your seed packets or starter plant pots. Dig a hole to the recommended depth, dropping in the plant and covering its roots with the surrounding soil, if applicable. Give the plant or seed enough water so the soil is completely moist, then water once daily until the plant has grown to almost full-size.
We can already taste that delicious sliced tomato atop our Greek salad...