I grew up in central California, near Fresno, the so-called "Fruit Basket" to our nation. My family owned 40 acres of navel oranges, the eatin' kind, not the juice kind.
Every spring, our trees blossomed and the fragrance would be overwhelming. In the late fall, our trees would be sporting a solid crop of orange. Our neighbors raised grapes, olives, apricots and that's just the folks down our street. Most everything vegetable and animal was grown where I lived. Cotton was a big commodity as well.
There were many times when our friends had too much of something, peaches or plums, and we were the beneficiaries of their generosity. We, in turn, returned the favor when our oranges were picked.
We also had a little garden, tended by my grandmother. She was the true gardener in our family. She would work the soil, add the nutrients and her passion for all things "earthy" was passed down to my two older brothers and me, to a lesser degree.
Nana grew the best tomatoes I have ever eaten and I believe she learned a lot of her gardening skills during WWII when she planted her "Victory" garden.
Back then, labor and transportation shortages made it difficult to harvest and move produce to market. According towww.livinghistoryfarm.com , folks were asked to ration all kinds of things like sugar, butter and milk, among other things.
I have heard many stories about rationing. For instance, when a young woman was to be married, all her friends would kick in their weekly sugar, butter or egg rations, so the bride-to-be would be able to make a wedding cake.
As a result of the shortages the government encouraged "Victory Gardens". With the state of our economy, I think we might see a return of "Victory Gardens" this summer.
I'm in the stages of planning one now. I'd also like to know if you are planning one and if so, what do you plan to put in it?
I'll be blogging about it and hope to show you the different stages of it. I'll also have Heidi Heiland, of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens, advising me as we go along.
Back in WWII, the government estimated that 20 million gardens were planted resulting in 9-10 million tons of fresh produce being harvested.
That goes a long ways to saving you bucks for your family and you'll have the satisfaction that you've grown your food with your own hands.
(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All rights reserved.)