Victory Gardens

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. They were used along with Rationing Stamps and Cards to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.

In March 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the US National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. Food production had fallen dramatically during World War I, especially in Europe, where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack and others conceived the idea that the supply of food could be greatly increased without the use of land and manpower already engaged in agriculture, and without the significant use of transportation facilities needed for the war effort. The campaign promoted the cultivation of available private and public lands, resulting in over five million gardens in the USA[2] and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.

President Woodrow Wilson said that “Food will win the war.” To support the home garden effort, a United States School Garden Army was launched through the Bureau of Education, and funded by the War Department at Wilson’s direction.

In 1946, with the war over, many British residents did not plant victory gardens, in expectation of greater availability of food. However, shortages remained in the United Kingdom, and rationing remained in place for at least some food items until 1954.

Land at the centre of the Sutton Garden Suburb in Sutton, London was first put to use as a victory garden during World War II; before then it had been used as a recreation ground with tennis courts. The land continued to be used as allotments by local residents for more than 50 years until they were evicted by the then landowner in 1997. The land has since fallen into disuse.[13]

The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens of Boston, Massachusetts and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota remain active as the last surviving public examples from World War II. Most plots in the Fenway Victory Gardens now feature flowers instead of vegetables while the Dowling Community Garden retains its focus on vegetables.

Since the turn of the 21st century, interest in victory gardens has grown. A campaign promoting such gardens has sprung up in the form of new victory gardens in public spaces, victory garden websites and blogs, as well as petitions to renew a national campaign for the victory garden and to encourage the re-establishment of a victory garden on the White House lawn. In March 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted an 1,100-square-foot (100 m2) “Kitchen Garden” on the White House lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s, to raise awareness about healthy food

House Plants That Purify the Air

Projects like installing new carpet and painting walls can release chemicals that pollute indoor air. Luckily, some houseplants moonlight as efficient purifiers. For the best results, put as many plants as you can care for in the rooms you use most, says environmental scientist Dr. Bill Wolverton. That means you’ll want at least two plants (in 10- to 12-inch pots) per 100 square feet of space; if you’re in the middle of major renovations, aim for more plants. One tip: Be sure not to overwater, as too much soil moisture can lead to mold growth.

English Ivy:

This hearty, climbing vine thrives in small spaces. It also fares well in rooms with few windows or little sunlight.

How it Helps: Its dense foliage excels at absorbing formaldehyde—the most prevalent indoor pollutant, says Wolverton—which shows up in wood floorboard resins and synthetic carpet dyes.

Peace Lily:

 Among the few air purifiers that flower, the peace lily adapts well to low light but requires weekly watering and is poisonous to pets.

Peace Lilly rids the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also sucks up acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners.

Lady Palm:

An easy-to-grow, tree-like species, the lady palm may take a while to start shooting upward. But once it does, its fan-like patterned leaves will add charm to any spot.

Lady Palm targets ammonia, an enemy of the respiratory system and a major ingredient in cleaners, textiles, and dyes.

Boston Fern:

Boston fern features feather-like leaves and curved fronds that are well suited to indoor hanging baskets. It’s considered one of the most efficient air purifiers, but it can prove a bit difficult to maintain because of its need for constant moisture and humidity.

This fern works especially well in removing formaldehyde, which is found in some glues, as well as pressed wood products, including cabinetry, plywood paneling, and furniture.

Snake Plant:

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this sharp-leafed plant thrives in low light. At night it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen (a reversal of the process most plants undergo). Pot a couple and put them in your bedroom for a slight oxygen boost while you sleep.

A Snake Plant, In addition to helping lower carbon dioxide, the snake plant rids air of formaldehyde and benzene.

Golden Pothos:

 This fast-growing vine has a reputation for flexibility. You can pot it with something to support it, plant it in a hanging basket, or train it to climb a trellis. Dark green leaves with golden streaks and marbling make it an eye-catching addition to a home or office.

Golden Pothos tackles formaldehyde, but golden pothos also targets carbon monoxide and benzene. Consider placing one in your mudroom or entryway, where car exhaust fumes heavy in formaldehyde are most likely to sneak indoors from the garage.

Wax Begonia:

Place in an area with abundant sunlight and this semiwoody succulent will produce pretty clusters of flat white, pink, or red flowers during the summer.

The Wax Begonia plant is a heavy hitter in filtering out benzene and chemicals produced by toluene, a liquid found in some waxes and adhesives, according to a University of Georgia study conducted last year.

Red Edge Dracaena:

While this slow-growing shrub can get quite tall (up to 15 feet), it’s relatively compact and will make the most out of whatever floor space you can offer it. For best results, keep one in a room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight, and water occasionally. Its red-trimmed leaves will deliver a dose of unexpected color.

This plant takes care of gases released by xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, which can be introduced by lacquers, varnishes, and sealers.

Spider Plant:

A good option for beginning gardeners, the spider plant reproduces quickly, growing long, grassy leaves as well as hanging stems, which eventually sprout plantlets—hence its arachnid-inspired name.

Place a spider plant on a pedestal or in a hanging basket close to a sunlit window and you’ll benefit from fewer airborne formaldehyde and benzene molecules.