It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 weeks since we’ve been sheltering at home! That means we worked on our side yard and turned it into our wonderful secret climate victory garden that long ago.
There are 3 smart strategies for a successful climate victory garden I wanted to share with you. The first time I heard about Victory Gardens was from a Terrain email. I was looking for some garden accessories and they talked about starting one.
What is a victory garden anyways?
During WW1 and WW2, due to lack of resources, there were government endorsed campaigns for everyone to grow their own vegetables and fruit to reduce stress on the food supply. The benefits were real and the impact was far reaching. It not only provided a household an immediate means for food, it also boosted morale.This makes me wonder about my grandma and my mother’s love for gardening and planting fruit trees since they lived in that era.
I think it’s no coincidence they have resurfaced during the current time of crisis. This time though, we add the climate issues which frankly makes this idea even more important to consider, now coining them: climate victory gardens.
I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post that the secret garden, including the DIY garden containers, really empower my family and I to do our part for the environment. Not only that, we also have the pride and satisfaction to grow food for ourselves. It feels really good!
This is where the Anita Yokota MethodⓇ really shines! Let’s get digging and I’ll explain!
Strategy 1: Consider your mindset
Truth be told, I’ve attempted to start container gardening several times before. But I have to admit, I had the initial excitement but wasn’t committed enough to follow through.
This is where I encourage you to use the Anita Yokota Method. Instead of focusing on just the external reasons and tools for a home project, dig deep (yes, I went there) and look at your WHY for a victory garden. You may be asking, well isn’t saving the environment and rationing food enough?
Frankly, no. If the motivation is strictly external, the likelihood of followthrough is lower than if you can first identify the internal emotion driving your desire to start a climate victory garden.
For example, one of our family values isto connect with each other through nature so the victory garden falls right in line with that. We feel really good by staying true to these values and when we feel good, the neurotransmitters send messages to our brains that this is a good behavior to repeat. These feel-good signals encourage us to do more activities, creating a flywheel effect of good in the world, and good for our family.
This is a great example of an internal motivation that encouraged us to take on this project. Because we truly believe this from the inside, we are highly motivated to take it on externally. Not because it is a trend or the thing to do, but because a climate victory garden aligned perfectly with our core values as a family.
When you get a home project idea such as the victory garden, first confirm it aligns with a value you hold important, and that you’re in a good emotional place to take on the scope of the project. When you have made an informed decision, looked deep inside , and it is still a burning desire, then commit and buy all the things you need to set yourself up for success.
Pro tip: Wait to buy your garden tools, container, seeds, etc until you decide you are fully committed. Shopping for your items will serve as a fun start to the project once you decide you’re all-in and will reduce waste. Research and decide where the container will be located, what season you’re in and if this is the right time to start and then get to the fun part – seeing your plants come to life!
Strategy 2: Location and Seasons
Generally, the two seasons to start gardening are Fall and Spring. A very important factor is the zone where you live, determined by the USDA PlantHardiness Zone. It will help identify what vegetables and fruits grow well during the particular season you want to start. The tool is simply to use, enter your zip code in the top left hand search box to identify the average minimum winter temperatures in your area.
Pro tip: When you find a vegetable that is good to grow, make sure you note if they are cool or warm season vegetables. Remember, give yourself ample time to prepare and plant the seeds or plant so they can be harvested in the desired season.
Since we are currently experiencing Spring, here are some ideal vegetables and fruits to consider:
Radishes (Raphanus sativus): Radishes are root vegetables that may harvest in about 3-weeks time – perfect addition to your victory garden if you’re new to gardening because you’ll see results fast. When the roots are about 1 inch in diameter, pull one up to test if it’s ready.
I have asked some of my friends who have been long time container gardeners and they recommend radishes because they grow relatively fast and are easy to maintain.
Carrots (Daucus carota subsp. sativus): These are root vegetables that can take up to 75 days to mature. Although it will depend on the variety, you’ll usually know they are ready when the tops are about ¾ to 1 inch in diameter. You’ll want to loosely dig around them before pulling them out of the ground.
One day I was getting groceries before Covid-19 and a local nursery owner was standing next to me. He said carrots aren’t easy to grow in my zone, but it’s doable. I have amended the soil so I’m hoping for the best! Stay tuned for progress.
Green Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) : Not only does my family love eating green beans, they are annual vegetables that can be grown year round! I love this because we don’t have to fret over the ideal time to plant.
Green beans are also ideal for small spaces. They grow as vines so you can find a pole or buy a trellis and place inside a large pot. Voila, let the green beans climb up and grow.
Pro tip: The more green beans you pick, the more the plant will set!
Strategy 3: Start with Seedlings
One piece of important advice that I got from the local nursery grower was to start seedlings at home.
It is hard to control the perfect climate for the seeds to grow in the soil. So to set them up for success, it is best to grow them inside a hothouse environment.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of starting your own seedlings. Start small and grow a handful of varieties first so you can learn the ways.
Tips on growing seedlings:
- Buy containers that have holes in the bottom so you can water via a tray.
- Sow seeds in an evenly premoistured mix and cover container to hold in moisture. Avoid watering until you see a sprout. Be cautious not to over water – this a common mistake that leads to seedling disappointment,
- Place pots near a sunny window or under a plant light.
- Check on seedlings daily and turn seedlings so they don’t grow towards the light.
- Slowly introduce seedlings to outdoor sunlight.
My girls and I want to start some seedlings but that will definitely be another blog post! I hope you enjoyed learning more about climate victory gardens!
So happy to share ideas that empower us to make a difference together.