victory garden

svarga6180October 28, 2011

I think that Victory Gardens exclude nature. The gardens are beautiful, but they don't allow for nature to evolve.

I have let most all of the original weeds stay, except for burdocks.

I have let rabbits, woodchucks, possums and other critters stay, and none of them eat much of my food production.

The goldenrod and other weeds provide flower for the bees, which live in a total of four bee trees on my property.

There are all kinds of butterflys and the place is thriving with life!

So, you need a good mix of nature with all that you do for your own pleasure and production.


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Some of you have asked how long I have been in NYS. I was born here in NYS. My great grandparents came here in the horse and buggy days from Hungary, just before 1900. My name is Hungarian, although it may sound similar to a Spanish name.

I live here on a farm and have been a farmer and gardener for over thirty years. I believe that my methods of growing are best for attracting and keeping bees and other beneficial insects.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Does NYS mean new york state? Because if you were born there, it says something about the school system in New york. Do you understand what a 'victory garden' is? It is actually a vegetable garden that people grew during world war two. To support the war effort, people were encouraged to plant gardens to help amend the food supply.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 7:37PM
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This statement should have been posted on the Organic Gardening Forum. But, here it is and it brings a few thoughts to mind. Actually, I am transported back to the days of WWII, turning on the radio every weekday morning before school and listening to my Dad's daily 15 minute program on horticulture, landscaping and Victory gardening. With his coaching gardeners in New England were able to grow successful Victory gardens which supplemented our heavily rationed diets.

BTW, I agree with the thoughts the poster has expressed. The best vegetable gardens I grew were small, rototilled patches in an unused field where I allowed the weeds to grow naturally around each square. Experienced none to minimal insect or disease problems using this method. But not everyone has the luxury of land that can lie fallow and revert to nature. That's just the way it is. So one works with the available situation. There is more than one way to grow a vegetable plant.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:51PM
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I think maybe the OP was referring to the TV program, Victory Garden, which is not the same as the victory gardens of the WW II garden efforts.

I got that the description was akin to natural or native gardening.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 10:28PM
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If by victory garden, you mean banishing all weeds...then I agree with you, a few weeds make all the difference. We have some beautiful little daisy weeds that grow everywhere. I leave a few of those and some other weeds with little yellow flowers (especially in the back of the garden) to bring in lady bugs. The little daisy weeds also keep deer out of my roses.

Adding bee balm, lavender and other herbs can also bring in beneficial well as hummingbirds. The 'happiest' gardens, IMHO, are the ones with birds, bees, butterflies, a few toads...and even a barn kitty or two, who think they're being very helpful! :)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Nandina this thread is making me feel better about my own weedy veggie garden, which is being put to bed today because of the impending foot of snow they are predicting. My mom remembers victory gardens fondly also - in addition to recycling every piece of tin foil, even the gum wrappers.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 10:44AM
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Hi Again:

I was referring to the TV program that comes on PBS.

On the program, the so call Victory Gardens are pretty much totally man made gardens.

I let all my many different kinds of weeds grow to there tallest height and flower out, except for anything that I consider invasive.

Bees or butterflys need a whole lot of flowering throughout the total growing season to survive and be willing to stay in your area.

I mow a single path in a circle around the garden.
Along side the path, in between the weeds are patches of things I've planted.

Use the same mowed path every year.

If you're starting with a weed patch, don't just go in and wipe everything out to make a garden. Dump a pile of soil here and there and plant your things into a raised bed. Let the natural growth stay.

I realize many of you live in restricted areas, where zoning makes you keep everything mowed. Maybe your town planning department would let you vote for exceptions.

The most enjoyment I get out of all this is to carry my pictorial book-about weeds through the garden, and identify all the different kinds of weeds. What a learning experience this is for especially children.

I will get back here in a couple of days to respond to any more questions that you have.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Ok I finally understand what is being discussed here, I think. The one weed I've always had to battle to have room to grow what I want is grass, so I've never felt like I was depriving wildlife by changing out grass for flowers and veggies. I've always been a huge fan of the tiny flowers that are in older lawns, though. The ones I've found here that I liked got transplanted into beds. And I mow around clumps of spiderwort (Tradescantia) that dominate one corner of the lawn.

The term victory garden refers to a type of garden, edibles. I don't know how many people from that camp will agree with these ideas since space is usually what limits how much they can grow. But I think your comments are aimed at anyone starting from scratch for any type of gardening?

Do you have any pics you can share? Maybe you just have better weeds? It's nice to hear from someone who truly enjoys their property. If your methods are bringing enjoyment to you and your family, and the wildlife, it sounds like you've found what you like and what works well for you. Kudos!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Well, I think it's time for people to rethink the tradition that weeds are the enemy and must be pulled or poisoned at any cost. That is pretty much what I am trying to say.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Hmm... In general I agree with you, but your statement is very vague and I don't think it properly expresses your sentiments. But you do have a great point in saying, "Hey some of these weeds make really pretty flowers and the wildlife really dig them," and, "It's my yard and I like to have these plants growing here; I will decide what is a weed to me." Applause!

The exclusion of unwanted plants on one's property is definitely tradition, and non-negotiable for almost everyone. Deciding to like the wildflowers that showed up is one thing, but as you said yourself, "...except for anything that I consider invasive." The definition of weeds varies depending on current fashion, priorities, location on the globe, and many other factors. Until lawnmowers were common and inexpensive, lawns were uncommon and around buildings was packed bare earth, swept often. Currently, in the US, weeds are most commonly defined by entities such as agriculture, golfing, and the government entities responsible for maintaining parks and forests. They tell people which plants are weeds and how to kill them, so people follow the plan. This is an interesting phenomenon when we consider the dandelions which were brought to this continent as a food source and now there are packages one can buy for the specific reason of killing this plant. Since most of the currently-defined-as-weeds-in-most-places plants are also too vigorous, unattractive, short enough to be unappreciated, or have some other undesirable attribute that causes most gardeners to agree with the definition, it's unlikely that vast numbers of people could suddenly start welcoming current weeds. A lot of them genuinely are enemies to most people's priorities when the "weeds" take over the space where they want something else growing.

The poisoning of weeds with fabricated chemical concoctions is a fairly new idea, not in practice long enough to be called a tradition, IMO, but not likely to end. Hopefully there will develop safer, smarter, more natural ways to do it more precisely when truly necessary. I don't own/use any of that stuff, but, for example... if I moved into a new place and discovered a huge poison ivy vine, I would want to make sure something killed it to the roots. Anything less dangerous than that I will handle manually or, as in the case of the berry vines along 1 side of my fence, just let them grow and enjoy the 47 berries for 3 days each spring instead of getting all torn up battling them. Makes a great sauce!

There are other factors involved sometimes in mowing and weeding, too. Although I like some of the weeds I pull, they're great stuff for the compost and I can't have stuff growing densely enough that snakes would want to live there. It's also why although most people around here could care less what is growing in the lawn, it gets mowed often to keep it short enough to see a snake and to not be an attractive home for them. Although I did as much of it as I...

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:14PM
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I feel that if you want a garden that is more friendly for wildlife, it would be important to have less walkways and have them be very narrow. Animals are only compfortable if they can find a quick place to hide.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Svarga- Actually, I have wide grass paths (anywhere from 3' to 8') and the wildlife don't seem to mind, at all. In fact, in my kitchen garden, which has the widest paths, the deer actually walk though the garden...on the paths. Much better, than if they walked through the beds. Since I add lots of deer resistant annuals and perennials/shrubs, they don't seem all that interested in the plants, themselves.

Purpleinopp makes a great point about mowing some areas. We find that it allows some of the beneficial bugs a place to get to smaller plants/flowers that they need. They also like alyssum and some other 'garden' flowers, so I try to always include those, too.

If you have the room, I think allowing a 'natural area' of native weeds and shrubs is a wonderful way to bring beneficials into the garden. If you want it to look nicer, grow some perennials in front and that will bring in even more wildlife. Bee balm is wonderful for bringing in bees and hummingbirds, so that might be a good choice, along with daisies, coneflowers, and some annuals.

Here's a picture of our fairy garden (which the nieces and nephews love) and this path is about 3' to 4' wide. The hummingbirds really enjoy this garden, too. The red flowers, by the chair, are the bee balm :) From Lavender's Garden

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:39PM
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I don't understand the necessity of weeds for wild life. There are plenty of plants to choose from that wild life like. Besides that most plants we have today are nothing more than hybridized weeds, and some have not been hybridized at all. They are just not called weeds anymore because we chose to plant them.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 6:12AM
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