77ºF

Similar to wartime Victory Gardens Americans are growing pandemic gardens, here’s a few tips to get started

UF/IFAS extension office provides online resources, diagnoses

Americans are starting pandemic victory gardens to help manage stress and grow their own food during the coronavirus outbreak. The UF/IFAS Extension has resources to help you get started. (Image: Emilee Speck/WKMG)
Americans are starting pandemic victory gardens to help manage stress and grow their own food during the coronavirus outbreak. The UF/IFAS Extension has resources to help you get started. (Image: Emilee Speck/WKMG) (WKMG 2020)

ORLANDO, Fla. – During World War I and II Americans were encouraged to plant vegetables and fruits where they could to provide for themselves and troops serving on the front lines, while there is no indication the U.S. is short on food supply due to the coronavirus pandemic many Americans are taking to their yards-- or windowsills-- again as an outlet during quarantine or to avoid trips to picked-over grocery stores.

The victory garden concept started during World War I and returned during World War II to help feed troops overseas and boost morale at home. For no other reason than a little stress relief and having the pride of eating their homegrown tomatoes, people are starting pandemic victory gardens, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

UF reports page views for vegetable gardening on the UF/IFAS Extension publishing library went up more than 500% for the six-week period that ended April 27 compared to the same time last year.

Food sustainability agent for UF/IFAS Extension Collier County Jessica Ryals said when people encounter economic challenges, including unemployment due to COVID-19, they often grow food at home. The UF/IFAS Extension agents saw an increase in request for home-grown food tips during the 2008 recession, according to Ryals.

If your interested in starting a raised garden bed, doing some small-scale gardening or even raising chickens UF/IFAS has the resources you need right now. Normally, you could pop into your local extension office to have them diagnose a plant or answer questions but due to the pandemic agents with UF/IFAS Extension statewide launched a website to inform consumers how to grow produce in their yard, or homes.

Wendy Wilber, UF/IFAS statewide master gardener coordinator, is leading the project.

“This is a one-stop online resource for Floridians who want to get growing edibles in their landscapes,” Wilber said. “It is being launched now to support folks as they are safer at home with the COVID-19 crisis. They have time on their hands, and they are thinking that they should grow edibles to supplement their groceries. It also helps relieve stress.”

Here are a couple links from the UF/IFAS Extension to bookmark as you start your homegrown journey:


About the Author: