How To Start a Victory Garden and Pandemic Pantry

It’s easier and cheaper than you might think.

Three vintage propaganda posters from the US and the UK | Pubic Domain

What is a Victory Garden?

Victory gardens were a morale-boosting effort undertaken by everyday families across the US, UK, Canada, and Australia during WWI and WWII. The idea was to free up industrial farms to grow food for soldiers and have families grow their own food in their yards and in public spaces. This effort, combined with ration cards and stamps, helped ensure that troops could be nourished while fighting foreign soil.

  • If you were to meal plan for a whole month, what kinds of meals would you want to cook?

How to calculate how much food you need to grow?

It can seem daunting to figure out how to plot out your garden, especially if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry, it’s pretty easy now that online calculators can help you get the exact plan you need.

  • Install row cover to protect crops from insect and wind damage and mitigate soil dryness while in a drought.
  • Replace any broken tools and gloves.
  • Set up rain barrels under the roof of our house to collect rainwater to use in the gardens during the dryest parts of summer.

What if you don’t have a yard to plant?

All of this might sound great, but what if you live somewhere that doesn’t have a yard you can plant a garden? No problem! There are tons of fabulous indoor garden plans you can check out like these here:

  • Build a DIY container garden in the sunniest windows in your house.
  • Join a community garden where you can plant in a public space for a small fee or free. Ask your local town or city office where to find one.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor with a plantable outdoor space if you can grow some food in exchange for a portion of what you grow.

Canning, freezing, drying, and root cellars.

Once you’ve got your garden all planned, planted, and you’re looking at an upcoming harvest, you should probably consider what to do with all the beautiful food you’ll have.

Building Your Pandemic Pantry

Photo by Nadia Pimenova on Unsplash

Medicine chest

This might seem like an oddity to include but during the roughest parts of the pandemic, many shelves emptied, leaving us feeling woefully ill prepared.

  • Over the counter medicines
  • One extra prescription refill such as inhalers
  • Thermometer, oximeter, hot water bottle, reusable ice pack bags, booger snorker (kids are gross.)
  • Extra tampons and pads.

Freezer

We purchased all of our meat through a local farmer. This is a great arrangement because we can ask for specific amounts of meat to fit our needs. We also know where our food comes from and have developed a relationship with the people who feed us.

  • 3 months supply of chicken (whole, cuts)
  • 3 month supply of pork in various cuts
  • Frozen soups, ravioli, wraps, pizza dough, pepperoni, bags of shredded cheese, butter, one dozen eggs for baking, blueberries, strawberries, and English muffins (my kids love these).
  • Frozen tomato paste and tomato sauce from the garden.
  • Frozen pesto and herb-infused butter from the garden.

Dry Goods

We do a ton of cooking and baking at our house so everything on the dry goods list has to be something that I can use in multiple recipes. Otherwise, precious shelf space in my tiny galley kitchen gets used up for things we’ll never eat. It’s a great idea to think about what you eat the most of and buy that.

  • Canned soups, beans, and tomatoes (diced, crushed, and whole.)
  • Canned from the garden: squash, carrots, beets, zucchini relish, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pasta sauce, homemade soups, chicken stock, vegetable stock, peas, green beans, corn, and dilly beans.

Root Cellar

We have a rudimentary root cellar where we store only a few items at a time. Each year, we store apples, carrots, squash, and potatoes there because it is cool and dry and keeps the food safe and fresh.

Bulk Items Purchased Online

One trick I learned if you shop on Amazon is to put something in your shopping cart then hit “Save for later” and you’ll get notifications for when the price drops.

  • Case of pizza sauce (12 cans)
  • Case of refried beans (12 cans)
  • Granola bars, protein bars, peanuts, and tetra packs of milk for my kids.

RESOURCES

Canning 101 with the Ball Company

Parenting, Science, and History Essay Hustler | Book Writer | Rabid Reader | Rep’d by Folio Literary Management | Follow me on Twitter, FB, IG @housewifeplus

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