Victory Gardens return with World War C

Old well greenhouse banner sign

By Lea Ann Butcher
CLARINGTON, Ohio – Because we are essentially in a war against COVID-19, what better time for Victory Gardens to make a comeback? Not only is gardening a form of exercise and education, it also provides security when it comes to feeding your family.
Victory Gardens, first known as “war gardens,” got their start in 1917 during World War I when food production had fallen dramatically due to many farmers being recruited to the military and farmlands being destroyed by the conflict. These gardens were primarily for growing vegetables, fruits or herbs and served to supplement rations, boost morale and unite the home front.
Although the world is considerably different today, we are seeing many of the same trends that make having a garden nearly essential. Fresh produce is flying off of the grocery store shelves faster than the clerks can stock them as many people panic buy in fear of running out of food in the not-too-distant future.

Old Well Greenhouse

Seedlings growing in Old Well Greenhouse in Clarington

“Having or starting a garden right now with all this craziness is a good idea because you don’t have to question what you’ve grown. When you buy at a store you have to ask yourself where it came from and who all has touched it before it got to you,” Trina Heslep of Old Well Greenhouse in Clarington, Ohio, said. She owns the plant business with her husband, Bill.
Old Well Greenhouse is set to open for the season during the last week of April, Heslep said. Giving them time to make sure everything has grown prop erly before it goes out for sale. It also stops people from starting too early and potentially killing their plants before the final frost.
But, if you absolutely must start now, Heslep said you can get your plot ready before planting your cold-weather veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and onion sets.
“The soil in our area (Ohio Valley) is pretty good as it is. However, a lot of people will add peat moss if they find there is too much clay. That will help to give the soil more air,” Heslep explained.
A compost pile will further enhance the soil once planting begins. Heslep advised to start one with left-over table scraps. She specifically stated to not put meat into the pile, only left over veggies and such things as grass clippings and leaves. When the copost is ready ­– it takes a while to break down into a usable form – just mix the compost into your soil when it’s time to plant.
“You can fit a lot of stuff into an 8x10 plot, but even if you wanted to add just one vegetable plant into your flower bed, you’d be surprised how much you can get from it,” she said.

More seedlings growing in Old Well Greenhouse in Clarington

More seedlings growing in Old Well Greenhouse in Clarington

Gardening can be relaxing and even if you don’t have the greenest thumb, it is a great learning tool. For elementary school children, working in a garden can reinforce mathematical concepts of measurement and addition and subtraction. It also helps them to build motor skills and work ethic.
“I think if kids are investing their own time into it, it becomes more interesting. If they are more interested in it, they are more likely to try it (eating veggies),” Heslep added.
If you’re looking for a reason to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, to reconnect with the earth that sustains life, or simply to get your kids to eat more veggies; start a victory garden! When this is all over, you can showcase your hardwork and possibly win a prize at a local harvest festival!
Old Well Greenhouse will have a large variety of four pack vegetables for sale in addition to their beautiful flowers. Heslep said they are busy growing everything from tomato and pepper plants to watermelons, squashes, zucchini, cantaloupe and even cucumbers, to name a few.
“Gardening can be hard for a beginner. I learned from my grandparents and it always stuck with me. But if anyone finds it difficult or has questions they can give us a call and we will talk them through it,” Heslep offered.
A plethora of helpful information can be found online, especially on the Ohio State University and West Virginia University Extension Service websites. A simple internet search will also yield valuable results.
Old Well Greenhouse is located at 491 Market Street in Clarington. The phone number is 740-458-1742. Make your garden plans today and stop by the greenhouse when they open at the end of the month.

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