Organic Victory Gardens in the Time of COVID-19 –

Posted: April 10, 2020 at 2:50 am

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Being stuck in our homes, with limited access to personal outdoor space, can be challenging. While most grocery stores are stocked with the items we need to eat, its a good idea to plan ahead and think about what you could grow if you had your own garden patch. It is not a new concept for citizens to turn to the home garden in times of hardship.

The United States has a long history of creating home gardens when there is economic instability. As part of the World War II war effort, the government rationed foods. Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant Victory Gardens. They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables. Americans planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives. By 1943, the nearly 20 million Victory Gardens across the country were growing 40 percent of the nations food! In addition to self-sufficiency in times of crisis, victory gardens have other benefits.

Plants capture greenhouse gasses naturally through photosynthesis, the process by which light energy is turned into plant food. This ability to capture greenhouse gases is why many experts believe regenerative agriculture, also known as carbon farming, could play an important role in fighting climate change. Eric Toensmeier, author of the Carbon Farming Solution estimates that his own tiny carbon-rich backyard garden, about a tenth of an acre, can offset the carbon emissions of one American adult per year.

Backyard garden

My family has a 1/3 of an acre backyard in mid-town Tulsa. On our relatively small, organic plot we can grow enough tomatoes to supply us with yummy, summer salads and canned sauce all winter. We grow enough greens to munch on all spring, enough chili peppers to have hot sauce year-round, and enough flowers to keep us with a steady stream of bouquets through spring, summer and fall. We have berry bushes we enjoy in the early summer and fresh herbs to add to our meats and stews. Each plant I grow in my garden feels like a victory. It is so satisfying to grow and harvest your own food!

Not only is planting an organic victory garden a great way to save money and combat climate change, it is also a wonderful activity to do with your children! To learn more about starting a garden check out this TulsaKids blog post. There is so much to learn when you plant a garden; here are a few of the life lessons I have noticed in my 20 years of growing organic gardens and teaching children to garden.

Planting joy

Thankfully plant nurseries are still considered essential business and there are so many great local ones to support! Most will let you order your plants and soil over the phone and bring it to your car. To get started with your organic victory garden get tips and advice from Tulsa Master Gardeners online resource.

My Favorite local plant nurseries are listed below.

Groggs Green Barn

Stringers Nursery

Riddle Plant Farm

Southwoods Plant Nursery

Here is a chart from the OSU extension office on the best vegetables to grow in April. Here is a link to the best flowers to grow in Oklahoma.

Go forth and plant an organic victory garden, it is a hopeful and viable act in these hard times!

Blanket Flower

Margaritte Arthrell-Knezek is a naturalist, writer and community educator committed to teaching the skills of sustainability and instructing children and adults on how to connect with the natural world that surrounds them daily. Arthrell-Knezek hails from New Haven, Connecticut where she began her work in the arts and environmental activism in 1997.

She graduated from The Evergreen State College In Olympia WA, 2010, with a bachelors degree in multi-media art and sustainability studies. She has traveled the world and landed in Tulsa, OK, where she is the Executive Director and Lead Educator of Under The Canopy LLC. Margaritte is a parent to two awesome children and wife to Mykey Arthrell-Knezek.

You can learn more about the programs she teaches atwww.underthecanopy.orgShe is a regular contributor to and also keeps a personal blog about parenting in all its real and messy forms calledTap the Root. She was also publishedin Hilary Franks 2019 book, Weird Parenting Wins.

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Organic Victory Gardens in the Time of COVID-19 -

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April 10th, 2020 at 2:50 am

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