Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can You Dig It?

Digitized World War II poster from the University of North Texas Libraries database

It's crazy cold outside this week, and the snow blew back in this morning. But my first order of seeds finally arrived today, and I am all excited about getting a garden going this year.

I'm even more excited because of a bit of blog news I picked up over at Eat Close to Home, a local foods blog by an Ann Arbor, MI, resident (take note, Tina!) -- practically next door, as the blogosphere goes!

Many of us have been getting nostalgic over the past few years about Victory Gardens, noting the differences between this war (not to mention the increasing crisis in climate change) and World War II and how none of us are being asked to sacrifice anything. And while we might go about it in our own separate ways, there hasn't been a major movement.

Maybe now that will happen, because Pattie over at FoodShed Planet has sent out a call to action in her Victory Garden Drive. To quote Pattie's enthusiastic call:

Declare victory against lack of control over the quality of your food! Join hands and hoes across our FoodShed Planet to create and inspire new organic gardens. Goal: 2 MILLION new organic gardens in 2008! Spread the manure--and spread the word!

Emily at Eat Close to Home has taken that a step further, offering personalized garden advice to the first five people who requested it on her blog, and she's working regular posts on gardening advice into her writing.

I don't have any claim to being a Master Gardener, like one of my food heroes, but I'm going to pick up the challenge, too:

--I'm going to plant my organic Victory Garden this year on a friend's property, and while I don't expect to provide all of my own food, I'm hoping my crops will be an excellent supplement to what I find at the farmers' market, giving me some foods that I haven't been able to find locally so far (like dried beans and more Asian greens). I'll be sharing that garden with My Dear Papa as well as with the friends in question, so I hope there's plenty to go around!

--And while I don't have extensive knowledge to draw on, I'm willing to TAKE FIVE and offer to the first five people who have not gardened before (or very little) what gardening advice I can give. I probably can't go as far as to visit and help you lay out your organic garden, being without a car, but I will do what I can. If you're interested, drop your request in the comments, and I will do what I can to encourage and support you!

I hope you'll join me this year in planting a Victory Garden and taking back some control over what we eat. It's bound to be an exciting adventure.

And spread the word! We need more gardeners in this world!



At 1/23/2008 2:43 PM, Blogger Bri said...

I'm so thrilled that a new Victory Garden movement is starting. I don't have an opportunity to have much of one right now, but I strongly believe in them. It really is amazing that we have been forced to make unreasonable sacrifices (health care, children's programs, dependence on foreign oil) but haven't been encouraged to make reasonable ones (consume less, get out of debt, take responsibility for where our food comes from). It's wonderful that you are supporting this effort, and I will do what I can where I live.

At 1/23/2008 2:51 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

That's the great things about blogs and the communities we develop online... they're not a replacement for in-person communities, but they can bring together like-minded people and encourage them to make a difference in their own real-life, real-time communities.

If anything, try potting a new herb! :-)

At 1/23/2008 8:52 PM, Blogger Alyssa said...

I'm right there with you. And I will definitely take any gardening advice you have to offer as my mom has a self-admitted brown thumb and my dad has no interest in things domestic generally. (he does the grocery shopping now but I think it's under duress). I have my first garden now that we own a house and I'm totally overwhelmed by the thought of seeds, so I"m working on seeing what grows this year (the previous owner seems to have been quite the gardener) and only planting things that don't come from seeds, though i might try leafy greens this spring. any suggestions? (my backyard is on the north side, but is fairly sunny on the back half of the yard, the front is south side, but fairly shaded).

At 1/24/2008 7:23 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Great, Alyssa! I was hoping you'd pipe up! :-) Do definitely work with the back half of your yard, if you can, as plenty of sun is key.

What's the layout of that area like? Sloping? Flat? Good drainage? Has the soil been worked before? All of those are things you'll need to consider before preparing the garden bed and deciding what all to plant. (Drop me an email and we can discuss it further!)

As for growing from seeds, I've generally had good success with lettuce, spinach, kale, carrots, radishes, beans (bush and pole), cucumbers, zucchini, dill, and nasturtiums. So that gives you plenty of ideas, I hope!

At 1/24/2008 9:08 PM, Blogger Alyssa said...

I'll definitely email you, and I'll do you one better than describing, I'll send a picture of my back garden.

At 1/25/2008 7:40 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Got it, Alyssa! We'll talk! :-)

At 1/25/2008 2:07 PM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Good for you on starting your garden, Jennifer. I've been hearing lots lately about people sharing their yards for gardeners who don't have their own terroir. Our goal is to finally organize our garden and plant it so that it produces more and is more pleasing to the eye. I heartily support the Victory Garden drive.

At 1/25/2008 2:13 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I'm very excited about it, Ed, especially since I think my friends are willing also to put in a compost bin. And I'm also glad that I'll be able to share the garden space with my folks, too, as they are also apartment-dwellers with no real outdoor space.

Good luck with the garden re-organization... I will look forward to seeing it on your site!


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