What are Victory Gardens in 2020 and is this how we should start gardening in the current year?

Some of us remember stories of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents engaging in the war effort in World War I or World War II by growing vegetables and herbs in their Victory Gardens. What are Victory Gardens?

Since so many people are new to gardening, is this model we can use in 2020 to begin our gardening journey in these uncertain times?

In this special episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast and Small Scale Gardening Podcast, I have assembled a panel of gardeners, farmers and homesteaders who have grown food for a living and to prepare for tough times.

Through our combined experience, we provide some background information on Victory Gardens and quickly pivot to how to start gardening in the current year.  We discuss how to start planning to garden, discuss space saving techniques that gardeners should consider and provide a list of vegetables that new gardener should consider growing in 2020.


Panel of Homesteaders, Farmers and Gardeners

Freeman Family Farm

To help in this discussion, I assembled a panel of experts from California, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota to discuss how to start gardening in these uncertain times.  The following men were on the Small Scale Gardening Panel of Experts:

Doneil Freeman – Freeman Family Farms in Colorado

Jason Gary – Gray Area Farms in Colorado; Regenerative Road Trip Facebook Page and Regenerative Road Trip YouTube ChannelExplore Stuff

Adam Rapier Rapier Ranch in Colorado

Michael Jordan – A Bee Friendly Company (Professional Beekeeper) in Wyoming and IPUG Facebook Group

Tom Domres – Host of Small Scale Life, Small Scale Gardening; backyard gardener

Most of the expert panel is pictured above at Freeman Family Farm in Colorado in 2018.  Doneil is working on his hives, Michael has the big smile on his face (as he is a happy friar), next is Rob (not on the podcast) and Adam is to the right of the picture.  Of course, I took this picture!  Jason did not make this event due to family obligations.

We had a great experience at Freeman Family Farm, and it was great to work with the bees and see Doneil’s Wicking Bed Garden (pictured below)!  You can hear a Small Scale Life Podcast Episode about Doneil’s Wicking Beds by clicking this text.

Regenerative Agriculture; homesteading; permaculture; bees; beekeeping; small business; CSA; podcast; Small Scale Life 

History of Victory Gardens


Looking at history, one thing is clear: when times get tough, people get gardening!  During World War I and World War II, people in America and around the world started victory gardens in their yards and in their communities to provide food for their families, neighbors and armed forces.

A new foe is here, and people are once again faced with rationing and shortages “on the home front.”  What is the response from Americans and people around the world?

Return to the Land! Return to the Garden!

While many would look back at the Victory Gardens as a model for Americans to come together, build community and feed themselves in times of war, Michael Jordan and Jason Gray correctly stated that this is a different time.  Our foe is different. We cannot gather and work together in a community Victory Garden; we need something new.

Modern Victory Gardens: Container Gardens

Julie and Savannah, Container Gardening, Mothers Day 2019

Many of you are starting your garden for the first time.  There are a lot of things to think about before you start growing plants. You might be thinking about removing a section of your lawn, tilling the ground and starting a massive garden to feed the neighborhood.

Your garden does not have to be this complicated! There are proven methods and techniques we can use to conserve space and successfully grow food. One of those providen methods is container gardening.  You can really make a small space shine by using containers like the ones pictured above in Julie and Savannah’s hands.  This picture is from Mother’s Day 2019, and it was Savannah’s first time gardening!

Container gardening is perfect when you are trying to grow food in small spaces such as your balconies, on your patio, or even on your driveway in your apartment, condominium, townhome, rental home or own property.

I will provide a lot more detail on HOW to successfully start a container garden in a separate article.

Topics Discussed – Modern Victory Gardens

How to Extend my Garden Season, Big Self-Watering Basin 

In this episode, the panel briefly discusses victory gardens of the past before pivoting to the how to start gardening.  We discuss the following topics

  • Introduction
  • History of Victory Gardens
  • How to Garden: Where to Start
    • Succession Planting
  • Container Gardening
  • Grow What You Eat – List of Vegetables to Consider Growing
  • Planning Your Garden/Food Planning
  • Gardening Techniques
    • Succession Planting
    • Seasonal Gardening
    • Companion Gardening
  • Trade Skills
    • Canning
    • Dehydrating
    • Making Pastas
    • Making Breads
    • Cooking
  • Homeschooling Ideas
  • Close


FREE Seed Starting Guide

Free Seed Starting Guide, Gardening

If you recently purchased a bunch of seed packets and don’t know where to start, I have something just for you. I published a FREE SEED STARTING GUIDE to provide step-by-step instructions on how I start my seeds.  This is in a secure Google Drive that I am calling “The Seed Vault” where I will be placing more reports and guides in the future.

In addition, I provide a “must have list” and “would be nice to have (but not requirred list)” of materials for you as well.  You can use these lists to go shopping (online or at a store) and get the gear you need to successfully start seeds.

But wait, there’s more!

I am including two FREE BONUSES for you as well.  The first bonus is the “Ideas and Inspiration Guide” that shows you how different members of the Small Scale Life Facebook Community start their seeds (lights, set-ups, and shelving). This is a separate document that is available for you to download.

The second bonus is subscribing to the Small Scale Life Newsletter. This is a chance for you to get caught up on what is happening at Small Scale Life and Small Scale Gardening. In addition, you will get first crack at new guides and reports that will be placed in The Seed Vault in the future.

Click this text and sign up today to get your Free Seed Starting Guide, Ideas and Inspiration and future updates from the Small Scale Life and Small Scale Gardening Universe!

Listen to this Episode!

Victory Gardens, Container Gardens

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Special Thanks

For Small Scale Life Podcasts, I would like to thank Sean at Osi and the Jupiter for the intro song "Harvest."  Sean wrote this specifically for us, and I really enjoy all of his work.  You can find more Osi and the Jupiter at their Bandcamp site: https://osifolk.bandcamp.com/

I would also like to thank Austin Quinn at Vlog Vibes for the intro and outro music. For more information abut Austin and Vlog Vibes, please see the Vlog Vibes YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY80LeqtJf-YBzJy2TWKpDw