Published during the time period of WWII by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Victory Garden handbook was written for the benefit of Americans, most of whom were short on food and supplies because of the war. Americans were strongly encouraged to grow their own ‘Victory Garden’ to supplement their food supply.
It’s an interesting read. It’s short, and to the point. It might be useful preparedness information.
Victory Garden Handbook
Excerpts from parts of the handbook. I found a PDF copy and will link it below.
“The Victory Garden Handbook offers some suggestions to those who are leading the great drive for Victory Gardens, and points out certain things to watch for – common errors which waste seed, fertilizer, land and labor, and therefore must be most carefully avoided in wartime.”
“As a nation, we have always taken food pretty much for granted. Not the farmers, of course. Food is the stuff life is made of, to a farmer. But the rest of us haven’t always understood that. We have always had the idea in mind that there was plenty of food, if we just had the money to buy it. Now we are learning that a nation or a group of nations is no stronger than its food supply. We have stopped taking food for granted.”
The Opportunities of a Victory Garden
On the farm. Every farm where weather and water supplies permit, can produce the family’s entire year’s supply of vegetables, both fresh and processed, and also as much fruit as possible.
In town and suburbun back yards. Families who have sufficient open sunny space and fertile ground can grow a large supply of vegetables for their own use.
In community gardens. People living in metropolitan areas seldom have enough suitable ground at home for a garden. But supervised community projects with space allotted to each garden have proven successful. Preferably they should be within walking distance or a short bus or street car ride. In some towns and cities, groups have arranged with a nearby farmer for the use of an acre or so of good land to use as a community garden, paying in either crops or cash. As part of the bargain, the farmer plows and drags the soil.
In school gardens. Rural and city schools can have gardens planned and managed on a scale that will provide a large part of the fresh and processed vegetables for school lunches.
Good Gardens Aren’t Luck – They’re Planned
Making a garden is something like making a bridge. You have to know where to start and where to finish. You have to figure out in advance what the traffic load will be, and the best way to accomodate it.
Most new gardeners don’t realize that it is possible to figure just ho much of everything to plant to supply the family – through the garden growing season – and in some preserved form for the rest of the year. Not only is this possible, buy by studying charts such as those further along in this handbook, it is fairly easy.
Most beginners are amazed to learn that there are not one or two but six good methods of preserving vegetables and fruits.
- Tomatoes and fruits can be canned with ordinary cooking utensils.
- Nearly all vegetables can be canned with the aid of a pressure cooker.
- Root vegetables, pumpkins, squash, apples and pears can be stored in the cellar or underground.
- Fruits, corn, beans, peas and okra can be dried
- Pickles and sauerkraut can be made at home.
- Almost every vegetable and fruit can be preserved in a home or warehouse freezing locker.
Preserving Vegetables and Fruits
What Some Vegetables Can Contribute To The Year’s Food Supply
Make four servings each day.
1. Leafy, Green, and Yellow Vegetables.
Serve one from this group each day. Eat 3½ pounds per week per person (½ pound per day, 182 pounds per year) fresh or its equivalent in canned, dried, stored, or frozen vegetables. Can 25 quarts. Store 45 pounds.
Beans, Snap (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (1½-2 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Beans, Lima (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (3-4 qts. in pod)
Beet Greens (25 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2-3 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Broccoli (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Freeze)
Chard (100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2-3 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Collards (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Dry, Freeze)
Kale (75 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Dry, Freeze)
Lettuce (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Fresh)
Spinach (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2-3 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Turnip Greens (50 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Dry, Freeze)
Peas (40 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Carrots (100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2½ lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Squash, Yellow flesh (100 fruits Yield /100 ft. Row) (4 lbs. in shell)
2. Tomatoes, Cabbage.
Serve one of these each day. Eat 2 pounds per week per person (~¼ pound per day, 104 pounds per year). Can 25 quarts tomatoes or juice. Store or kraut 25 pounds of cabbage.
Tomatoes (200 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (3 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Cabbage (raw) or Kraut (100-175 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Store or kraut)
3. Other Vegetables.
Serve one from this group each day. Eat 3 pounds per week per person (~½ pound per day, 156 pounds per year). Can or freeze 15 quarts. Store 40 pounds.
Corn (100 ears Yield /100 ft. Row) (10-12 small or 5-6 large to can 1 qt.)
Beets (100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (2½-3 lbs. to can 1 qt.)
Onions (50-100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Store)
Parsnips (100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Store)
Turnips (100 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row) (Store)
Chinese Cabbage (80 heads /100 ft. Row) (Store)
4. White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.
Serve one of these each day. Eat 3½ pounds per week per person (½ pound per day, 182 pounds per year). Store 140 pounds.
White or Sweet Potatoes (200 lbs. Yield /100 ft. Row)
5. Dried Peas, Beans, Lima Beans, Soybeans.
Serve one from this group three times a week. Eat 6 ounces per person per week (20 pounds per year). Store 14 pounds.
Adapted from Victory Garden Leader’s Handbook, US Department of Agriculture, mid 1940’s