Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
I read today that there has been an increase in the sale of seeds, plants, chickens and Bibles. All things I love. I lived in old Midland when my boys were young in a home that was built in 1939. I would wonder from time to time what all that house had seen through the years, specifically if there were Victory Gardens in that neighborhood. I did try to research it but to no avail.
One of our kids has decided his family needs a garden in these uncertain times. He called and wanted to know how, what and where to plant. As a Master Gardener I am always excited when one of the kids or their spouse takes an interest in what I love. Where do I even begin to explain?
Just start with the basics. Pick out a spot that gets full, or nearly full, sun. You will need ready access to water so a faucet is essential. By September pulling that hose all over the yard will get old. Clear the weeds and grass from the spot that will become your garden plot. Start small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Gardening is quite a bit of work, but it’s rewarding work. Getting outside, breathing fresh air and getting exercise will change your outlook on life. Next, loosen and turn the soil. You probably have a good idea of what you want to plant. Don’t plant anything that your family doesn’t like to eat. Some vegetable plants are high producers like zucchini and jalapenos. Just two of those plants may be enough for your family. Tomatoes can be high producers as well.
It is important to decide what you are going to do with the vegetables you will grow. You can only eat so many during the summer so decide if you will be canning or freezing the extra produce. Your neighbors will appreciate you sharing but only for so long. Canning requires the purchase of equipment which will need to figure in to your decision.
During WWII the government put out a chart entitled Victory Garden for a Family of Five. That chart is available on the local Master Gardener website: westtexasgardening.org.
The Texas A&M website has great information about canning and freezing as does the government website. When canning it is very important to follow the guidelines set out. Check with our local Agrilife agents who are more than willing to help.
Once again our country is coming together wanting to grow their own food. Remember that lots of things inspired us about our parents and grandparents generation. If our grandparents could do it, we can too!
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.