Today my DIY is taking a slightly different direction.  Still a total DIY but with an outdoor flair.  I love gardening, vegetable gardening to be specific. And, I have an idea to share.  More of a movement to start.  A “grass roots” effort if you will.  Lol. (See what I did there? I’m a 2nd grade teacher, I warned you I tend to go for corny.) I’m calling it Victory Garden 2020.  Let me explain.

Do you know what a “Victory Garden” is?

I have been a gardener since childhood.  My dad built my first garden for me in our backyard when I was about 12 years old. There was a great show on PBS about gardening called The Victory Garden.  Wondering about the name I learned from my dad that Victory Gardens were popular during World War I and II as a way of contributing to the war efforts and helping to provide food to themselves and others so that farmland and manufacturing facilities could be used to help provide food to our servicemen and our allies.

I know, the teacher in me is coming out, lol.  Stay with me, I promise it will be worth it.   Citizens all over our country began planting victory gardens and it was considered an act of patriotism to do so.  What a simple, yet amazing way to unite people and communities all over the nation. Sounds a lot like something we could use a big dose of right now doesn’t it???

Little Finger Carrots from my garden.

Guess What?

Good news!  It may be happening right here, right now in your own town or neighborhood.   Did you know that during the Coronavirus lockdown one of the biggest spikes in online shopping was in the gardening/plants market???  Ok, so I guess it’s not really my movement to start.  Haha. Guess we have one thing to thank ‘Rona for.  The “war” against Covid19 started another surge of Victory Gardens.  To me the represent our victory over this pandemic.

My garden near the end of the season.

Read more about the “green surge”.   Many families started gardens or tending to indoor plants and finding purpose and hope during this historically grim pandemic.  Connecting with nature is good for the soul and your mental health

Plant Popularity is Everywhere!

All over Instagram you can follow people like Shannon from Living with Lady who have learned to cultivate, root and propagate plants during their time at home. She is one of my absolute fave’s! One of my besties even started a butterfly garden like no other! Literally this is becoming the Victory Gardens of 2020! I love finding a silver lining in all this chaos.  

Grow Some History

Gardening not only grows fruit, veggies and pretty flowers.  It also grows history.  Gardening and I have a long history together. (Almost as long as crafting)  That first garden my dad built is where I grew my first homegrown, vine ripened tomatoes. The best tomatoes I have tasted came from that garden!  Tomatoes were my favorite vegetable (I know, they are technically fruit).  I still love them but have grown to love every single veggie I have ever tried! And I have tried growing just about every kind you can imagine! 

Unusual and Unique

You can take that to the bank!

Did you know there are even seed banks that help us protect biodiversity and preserve heirloom varieties? That means they are non-GMO which is a topic for another post.   

The tradition continues

The tradition continues at every home I have ever had. My husband is great about building them for me. Our daughters also got involved at an early age and loved seeing their efforts pay off in such a tangible and rewarding way.  By producing something you can eat and enjoy!  

Not only are they both still gardeners, but I also think it was part of what made them have an open mind about eating lots of different foods.  They were always eager to try vegetables and a variety of foods that most kids shy away from.  They would sit on the swingset in our backyard munching on broccoli florets or cherry tomatoes picked by their tiny hands one at a time.  

Choose your level of commitment…

Gardening can be as simple or elaborate as you choose to make it.  I’ve done simple seeds in dirt filled cups, to raised wooden beds (thanks honey) to the more elaborate, upcycled water bottle planters made by some AWESOME classroom dads!!! Because, of course I want my second graders to love growing things as much as I do.  I not only want to teach them about science and history, I want them to experience it and live it!  

Huge “thank you” shout out to a couple of my classroom dads for bringing my “upcycling” garden project to life for my class kiddos . We never got to plant it due to Corona and going remote just as it got finished. Fingers crossed for next year!

My Newest Addition

That brings me to my latest garden project, the EarthTower Vertical Garden.  When these showed up on my doorstep as a surprise from my hubby I was ecstatic!  This is a genuine review on something I love, not paid for in any way. But I have included some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!  Read my full privacy and disclosure policy here.  

Easy Peasy

Immediately I got to work assembling the first tower and it was pouring rain.  That’s what porches are for right?  It was incredibly easy and I did it all by myself so you don’t even have to have an extra set of hands.  It only took about 30 minutes using my cordless drill. The directions were super clear and easy to follow.   The tower is about 4 ft. tall, four sided and takes up about 2 square feet of space.  

Assembled and ready to plant.

Once the rain stopped we went to work filling the towers with our planting medium.  We used a mixture of 3 parts sphagnum moss and one part vermiculite.  This differs slightly from what Earth Tower recommends because we had trouble finding perlite during the Corona chaos. They suggest using a total of about 5 cubic feet of planting medium. That’s about 150 quarts if you are buying small bags of material. All the info can be found in the directions and on their website. See the process below. 

Come visit me on YouTube!

Now for the fun part…

Now for the fun part, what to plant? We just relandscaped our front yard and I thought it would be a great way to add some color and visual interest to our new look.  Living in Florida means extreme heat so we looked for plants that can endure the Florida summers.  It’s been in the mid 90’s for the last two weeks straight and this is only June! Basically, what I am telling you is to customize your choices to your climate.

We chose a bunch of different types of flowers from the Purslane classification (related to the common moss rose/Portulaca plants) They come in so many beautiful colors, bloom constantly, are almost impossible to kill, and get this…they are EDIBLE!  They have a sort of fresh, tangy taste that works well in salad.  

Weeds are in the eye of the beholder.

Lots of you from other climates will call these weeds.  Not here Felicia!  Even the most common type of grass in Florida is technically a weed.  It is what it is when you live in sweltering, oppressive, heat! Lol.  Dusty Miller (Silver Ragwort) was added along with some Alyssum, Petunias, and Golden Marguerites.  We then filled in various spots with herbs like Sage, Thyme, Tarragon and Oregano.  Now that’s what I call pulling double duty, pretty and practical! When it’s time to water we just lift the cap and fill the internal reservoir with water.  

These would make great beginner gardens for those of you convinced you don’t have a green thumb.  Trust me we all have our wins and losses when trying to play mother nature.  The best part is once you do the initial investment of time and money the upkeep part doesn’t require much of either.   Write to me and let me know your history with gardening or plants.  Were you a Corona plant connoisseur?  Share some plant lady love with the tribe.  

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