Top 10 Best Crops for Your Victory Garden


Victory gardens are seeing a revival for the first time since WW2. Learn to feed your family in hard times with these 10 best crops for your victory garden. #victorygarden #victorygardening #bestcropsforavictorygarden #survivalgarden #howtogrowavictorygardnVictory gardens gained popularity in both WW1 and WW2 when American and Canadian citizens were encouraged to grow as much of their own food as possible so that commercially grown food could be sent to troops and allies fighting overseas.

Today, victory gardens are once again gaining popularity as the world learns to cope with the new reality of the global coronavirus pandemic, and the impact that may have (and has already had) on our food supply, on the economy and on our waning ability to leave home to get food from the grocery store whenever we feel like it.

More and more people are waking up to the fact that we just can’t count on grocery store shelves always being stocked with whatever we need whenever we need it. 

After decades of being spoiled for choice and having an abundance of food available to us at all times, for the first time in generations, we’re learning how fragile our system really is and how risky it can be to be 100% dependent on this system to provide for us in times of need.

Now, for those of us who already grow gardens, I’d argue we’re already a few steps ahead of the general populace. But still, when we’re faced with the very real possibility of food shortages and supply chain problems in the near future, it can make even the hardiest homesteader rethink their garden plan for the season.

After all, if we’re going to really have to depend on our gardens for sustenance, it makes sense to dedicate the vast majority of our garden space to crops that can truly sustain us all year long.

While it can be fun to experiment with new and different crops in the garden each year, the focus of a victory garden should be on growing as much food and producing as many calories as possible in the space you have, as well as choosing crops that can be easily preserved to eat throughout the winter too.

In this period of uncertainty, we always have to be thinking a few steps (or a few seasons) ahead, so that no matter what the future brings, we’ll be as ready as we can possibly be to ride it out and keep ourselves and our families safe, healthy and well fed.

 

So, what are the best crops to grow in a victory garden??

The first rule of growing food is to GROW WHAT YOUR FAMILY LIKES TO EAT!!!

There’s really no point in dedicating valuable garden space to crops that nobody in your household actually wants to eat. 

Start by making a list of your favourite vegetables; The ones you and your family tend to eat on a regular basis.

Next, you’ll want to dedicate space to the crops that will give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak. If you’re limited on space, try to avoid crops that take up a lot of space and/or resources for little return.

For example, things like artichokes and Romanesco broccoli take up a lot of space in the garden but do not produce large harvests. These are the types of novelty crops that are fun to try, but aren’t necessarily the best choices for maximizing food production, unless of course you REALLY love eating these foods and have ample space to grow them.

Instead, focus on vegetables and varieties that produce large harvests, can be grown densely and/or can be vertically grown, in order to get the most amount of food possible for the space you have. 

Also, grow crops that are versatile and can be stored well to ensure good eating right through the winter months.

During the world wars, citizens were encouraged to convert their yards as well as empty spaces and vacant lots around their communities into victory gardens because the focus was really on producing as much food as possible on home soil. This should be the focus of your victory garden too.

 

Top 10 best crops for your victory garden

While you shouldn’t take this list as the definitive guide to victory gardening, the following crops are great candidates for victory gardens because they tend to produce high yields of nutrient and calorie-dense food, require less space (and in some cases less time to harvest) than other common garden crops, preserve well and are versatile staples in most home kitchens.

 

1. Potatoes

Potatoes have been a staple “survival crop” for millennia. They’re calorie-dense, carbohydrate-rich and high in essential nutrients like fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. They’re also easy to grow and can be grown in the ground, in raised beds, containers, grow bags… even garbage cans.

Potatoes will give you more calories per square foot than just about any other crop. They also store well in cold storage and are extremely versatile and can be turned into everything from hash brown and French fries to mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, gnocchi and potato pies and pancakes. They’re truly a must-have in any victory garden.

 

2. Tomatoes

No garden is complete without tomatoes! Even if you’re not a huge fresh tomato fan, growing a good paste tomato variety means you can make your own tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and even sun-dried tomatoes at home. Not to mention, with a few added ingredients that can almost all be grown at home, you can make your own salsa, BBQ sauce, ketchup and other condiments too.

Tomatoes can be preserved in a variety of ways from canning to fermenting to freezing to dehydrating. They’re one of the most versatile crops you can grow and are high in both nutrients and flavour, which is super important if you need to rely almost entirely off of what you’re growing at home.

–> Learn how to grow tomatoes from seed.

 

3. Beans

All kinds of beans are good options for a victory garden because they’re high in protein, fibre and vitamins and minerals and are relatively calorie-dense too.

While any type of beans work well in a survival garden, green pole beans and shelling bean varieties like black beans, broad beans (fava beans) and pinto beans are especially good options.

Pole beans are great because they can be grown vertically so you can get a large harvest in very little space. They can also be pressure canned and eaten throughout the winter, and are a versatile vegetable that goes well with everything from roast dinner to stir fry.

Shelling beans are a fantastic candidate for the victory garden because the shelled beans can be dried and stored easily without any special equipment. Shelling beans are the quintessential “rice and beans” style beans that most people think of when they think of high-calorie, high-protein survival foods that can see them through any crisis.

 

4. Corn

While we often think of sweet corn when we talk about corn nowadays, but if you’re focused on growing crops for survival and sustenance, you might want to consider growing field corn varieties like dent corn, flint corn and flour corn.

These types of field corn varieties differ from sweet corn because rather than being eaten fresh on the cob, they are dried and turned into cornmeal and corn flour, which can be made into everything from cornbread to corn tortillas and corn chips. It can also be used to make animal feed.

Corn is a great option for a grain that can be grown at home in a relatively small space, especially compared to other cereal grains like oats, wheat and barley.

 

5. Squash

Both summer and winter squash varieties are good options for any victory garden because they’re high-yielding crops that produce a lot of food for very little effort. But winter squash like pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash (to name a few) are especially good crops to grow because they’re high in vitamins, they’re prolific growers and they produce a lot of food per fruit (think of how much flesh you get from a single pumpkin). But most of all, winter squash store extremely well for an exceptionally long time with pretty much zero effort.

While it’s possible to can pumpkin and squash or freeze the flesh or pumpkin purée, thick-skinned winter squash will store well in cold storage or even on your pantry shelves for months on end without any special treatment. In fact, we still have spaghetti squash sitting on our shelves right now that was harvested back in September… A full six months ago!

–> Learn how to grow pumpkins (and all winter squash) from seed.

 

6. Carrots

Carrots are another solid staple crop in any home garden. They’re high in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin A, they’re a pretty easy to grow crop that produces high yields in a fairly small plot of land and they’re cold-tolerant and can survive light frosts in the garden.

Carrots store well in cold storage, especially when they’re buried in sand. Alternatively, they can be left out in the garden in more temperate climates and pulled out of the soil whenever you’re ready to eat them!

–> Learn how to Grow Carrots From Seed

 

7. Cabbage

While cabbage isn’t the most calorically-dense crop, it is a nutritionally-dense crop that actually retains most of its nutrients even when cooked. Plus, it can be fermented and made into sauerkraut or kimchi which only makes it even more nutritious!

Fermented cabbage stores well in the fridge or in cold storage, but cabbage is a great storage crop on its own and can be stored whole in cold storage for several months. It’s also a cold-hardy vegetable that keeps going in the garden well into the winter months.

 

8. Kale

Green leafy vegetables are extremely high in a wide variety of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, iron, calcium, folate, magnesium, fibre and potassium, to name a few. But some leafy greens like lettuce don’t store well, so you’re better off to choose a hardy alternative like kale.

Kale is a high-yielding plant that provides fresh greens all through the summer and fall and it’s also a very cold-hardy crop that will last in the garden right through the winter in many places. Alternatively, it can be blanched and frozen or dehydrated and turned into homemade kale chips.

 

9. Garlic

Garlic is a must-have in any victory garden. While it’s not a calorie-dense crop, garlic is extremely high in essential nutrients and has medicinal properties such as being antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial. Not to mention, it’s extremely flavourful and super versatile in the home kitchen.

 

Related: How to Grow, Cure & Store Garlic At Home

 

10. Herbs

While herbs aren’t necessarily a staple crop like beans or potatoes, growing a variety or herbs in your victory garden will provide you with both food and medicine, and will add flavour to all your home-cooked meals.

Rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano and basil are must-haves in any home garden, but there are many more herbs you might want to consider for your victory garden, especially if store-bought herbs and spices become harder to find. Check out these 13 culinary and medicinal herbs for your home garden.

 

Grow your own for victory!

At the end of the day, there are so many more vegetables (and fruits, nuts, herbs, etc.) you might want to consider adding to your victory garden, and I definitely encourage you to not stop at this list! However, if you’re limited on space, these 10 staple crops will definitely help  see you through hard times.

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

 

 

 

 


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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What’s your favourite food preservation method??

For Angi Schneider of @schneiderpeeps, the answer is pressure canning, hands-down.

The fact is, there are many ways to preserve food, and each of them has its place and serves its purpose. But the only preservation method that allows you to preserve full meals that are ready to eat straight out of the jar is pressure canning.

Water bath canning allows you to preserve high acid foods like fruits, pickles, jams and jellies.

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Whether it’s a busy weeknight and you have no time to cook, you’ve got unexpected company or you find yourself in the middle of an emergency or power outage, having jars of healthy, homemade food –including full meals– on hand always comes in handy.

Angi and I sat down to chat about the many benefits of pressure canning, and about her brand new book Pressure Canning For Beginners And Beyond in an interview for the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine (out now).

To read the full interview and/or to check out Angi’s new cookbook (which includes some seriously drool-worthy canning recipes like Chicken Marsala, Beef Street Tacos, Maple Ginger Glazed Carrots and French Onion Soup), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe and get your first issue free!

For a limited time, you can also become a member and get full access to our entire library of issues for just $7.99/year. Link in bio to get all the goods:)

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Let me know in the comments below!👇
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For the past week or so, I’ve been sharing a new morning routine I've been committing to...

It's the simple act of lighting a candle to start each day.

In this age of unnatural blue light emanating from our screens, fluorescent and even LED lighting from overhead lights and lamps, it can be quite a shock to the system to go from sleeping in complete darkness to flipping on the bright lights and checking email on your smartphone first thing in the a.m.

By simply lighting a candle and allowing your eyes a minute or two to adjust before turning on the lights or checking a screen, you have the power to create a much calmer and more peaceful start to your day, and that has lasting effects that can and will stay with you all day long.

I know I’m not the only one who can benefit from this simple but powerful morning ritual, so I decided to start a challenge to encourage others to do the same.

If you'd like to participate, grab a candle and a pack of matches (or a lighter) and commit to lighting a candle to start your day for as many days as you can during the month of October.

Every time you share a photo of your candle/morning ritual on Instagram posts or stories and tag me @thehouseandhomestead and use the hashtag #candlelitmorning, you'll be entered to win a naturally-scented candle of your choice from Plant Therapy!

This being said, I know that good quality candles aren't exactly cheap, but you can save a tone of money by learning how to make your own!

If you're interested in learning how to make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils at home, I'm currently offering my DIY Scented Soy Candles Masterclass for FREE as part of the Handmade Holiday Giveaway, hosted by my friend and fellow Vancouver Islander Diana Bouchard of @wanderinghoofranch

Other limited-time freebies include:

* Exclusive homestead holiday recipes
* Free knitting and crochet patterns
* Free homemade cocktail mixers course
* Cute printable gift tags and more!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out everything that's included in the Handmade Holiday Giveaway.

And don't forget to join in the #candlelitmorning challenge right here on Instagram!
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Sometimes I don’t post photos because I can’t think of a brilliant, thought-provoking caption to go with each one.

But then again, sometimes a photo speaks for itself:)

This weekend reminded me how important it is to be present, both with ourselves and with the ones we love. This weekend I was reminded of what I’m truly grateful for. 🧡

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In the interview, Allyson shares that “on average three-year-olds can identify 100 different brand logos, and that increases to 300-400 by age 10.” If that’s not reason enough to turn off the TV and get outside, I don’t know what is!

“Whatever children are exposed to, they are able to soak it up like sponges, but they aren’t getting that exposure to nature,” she says.

Catch the full interview in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Subscribe for free to read your first issue free or become a member to get this issue plus access to our entire library of past issues for just $7.99/year!

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#homeschool #homeschooling #naturebasedlearning #naturebasededucation #wildandfreechildren #freerangekids
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🛠 “Even the simplest tools can empower people to do great things.”
- Biz Stone

The other day I asked you what the most valuable asset is on your homestead, and I shared that mine is my dear husband @thehumblehandyman

Everyone who knows him knows he can build and repair just about anything. It’s a true talent, but he’s also spent years learning and sharpening his skills.

But talent and skills are only half of the equation; You’ve gotta have the right tools for the job!

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Which of these tools do you already have?

Which ones are next on your list to invest in??

What are your go-to tools to use around your house and homestead??? (Duct tape totally counts 😉)

Let me know in the comments below! 👇

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🪓 What’s the most valuable asset on your homestead?

For me, it’s this guy right here.

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When our burner crapped out on our stove in the middle of a canning project last week, I had no idea how to fix it and was ready to buy a brand new stove, but luckily Ryan came home with all of his tools just a couple days later and fixed it for a fraction of the cost of buying a new stove.

When we were getting chickens, he built our chicken coop. When I wanted to put in new garden beds, he built them. Deck? Done! Firewood? Chopped! Bathroom? Remodelled! Car broken down? Fixed! (Did I mention he’s a trained mechanic too?)

If you don’t have your own handyman at home though, you can still learn the skills you need to become more self-sufficient when it comes to tackling new building projects and repairing and maintaining things at home.

I’m thrilled to announce that @thehumblehandyman now has his own regular feature in each issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, where he’ll share simple steps you can take to increase your self-sufficiency by learning how to DIY all sorts of projects around your house and homestead.

In his debut feature, he shares 5 simple steps you can take this fall to help you prepare your house and homestead for the coming winter, all of which could save you time, money and effort during the season of rest.

Check out the full article in the Fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, available now!

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Did you know you can now buy pumpkin spice ramen noodles, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice macaroni and cheese, pumpkin spice sausages and even pumpkin spice dog treats?

It’s not exactly a stretch to say that we’ve taken the whole pumpkin spice craze a little bit too far.

But our obsession with pumpkin spice speaks to something much deeper than the flavour itself. (Let’s be honest, pumpkin spice ramen noodles sound gag-worthy).

The reason we tend to love pumpkin spice so much is because it triggers feelings of comfort and nostalgia; Memories of days spent with family at the pumpkin patch or around the Thanksgiving table. In short, pumpkin spice triggers our emotions as much as it tantalizes our taste buds.

But let’s be real, pumpkin spice Pringles ain’t it.

If you’re feeling all the fall vibes and craving a little pumpkin spice in your life right now, stick to the tried and true pumpkin spice latte, but ditch the expensive (and highly processed) commercial PSLs and make your own pumpkin spice syrup (with real pumpkin!) at home for a fraction of the cost! Keep it on hand to add to your coffees, teas and steamed milk beverages all Autumn long.

It’s super easy to make and will put pumpkin spice macaroni squarely in its place (and keep it there!)

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab the recipe or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

#pumpkinspice #psl #pumpkinspicelatte #fallvibes #fromscratch
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I’ve been feeling pulled to slow down and retreat into my home lately; To turn off the news and social media and focus on the tangible things like lighting the wood stove, preserving the mountains of food still coming out of the garden, and slowly stirring a pot of soup as it cooks on the stovetop.

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I know I’m not the only one feeling pulled toward hearth and home. This is a heavy time for all of us. No one person is meant to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders, but I've heard from so many people lately who say that's exactly how they've been feeling.

If you read my post from a few days ago, you know I’ve been feeling like that too, but luckily, I've learned how to soothe my soul in difficult times.

And so that's what I've been doing lately...

I've been focusing on the tangible things that I can control, like cooking meals and preserving food.

I've been lingering a little longer in the morning, taking time to sit by the river or sip my coffee in front of the wood stove before hurrying on with my day.

And I've been making a conscious effort to turn off the noise of the outside world and give my family and my own emotional health my full attention.

If you've also been feeling that pull to turn off all of the noise and immerse yourself in more nourishing, productive activities, I want to tell you about a collection of resources that will help you do just that.

The Simple Living Collective’s Autumn Issue includes seasonal guides, tutorials, e-books, recipes and more to help you slow down and reconnect with what matters this season.

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* Find new ways to celebrate old traditions, and create new seasonal traditions with your family

* Discover new seasonal recipes and crafts to do on your own or with your kids

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If this sounds like it’s exactly what you're in need of right now, check out the Simple Living Collective and get the Autumn Issue for just $25. But this issue is only available until tomorrow, so don't wait…

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to grab it now before it disappears 🍁
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I laid in bed the other night and couldn’t sleep.

I know that probably doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, especially considering the collective stress we’ve all been through over the past year and a half. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me.

I used to have really bad anxiety, and I made a conscious effort to learn how to manage it in (mostly) healthy, natural ways. I practice a lot of gratitude every day, and overall I’ve learned to deal with stress, anxiety and negative thoughts pretty well.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all. Aside from dealing with personal issues like our ongoing infertility/pregnancy loss journey and the every day stresses we all face, the bigger things have been feeling bigger and heavier lately; The mandates, the politics, the pushback, the arguments and attacks online, the divisiveness, and the seemingly never-ending pandemic that every single one of us is still dealing with in some capacity.

I’ve been seeing more and more calls to “choose a side.” I’ve witnessed my own close friends on both sides of the debate hurling insults at each other, defending their ground, and refusing to listen to each other’s valid points and concerns.

I’ve even witnessed a widening crack in the homesteading community, despite the fact that so many of our core values and beliefs align and are unique to us.

Despite the division, I would still argue that ALL of us have much more in common than not, and to see the divide continuing to deepen has started to get under my skin lately.

(Continued in comments…)
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