World War II victory garden on display at fairgrounds

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 11 September 2017 at 12:06 am


Photos by Kristina Gabalski

KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers hosted a tour of their WWII Victory Garden on Saturday as part of the 2017 Orleans County Heritage Festival.

Master Gardeners say the plantings were inspired by original copies of 1942 informational leaflets on Victory Gardens distributed by Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The Master Gardner Victory Garden, which is located on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds just outside the Education Building, includes vegetables and herbs recommended by Cornell to be grown by homeowners to help provide themselves with fresh and preserved produce during WWII when food sources became more scarce.

Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension has five of the original six Victory Garden leaflets. Leaflet No. 3 on garden practices states that during WWII, the government ordered commercial canners to set aside 100 percent of their carrots, 60 percent of their beets and 33 percent of their tomatoes which otherwise would be available for civilian use.

“Fortunately, more persons than ever before are planning the kind of home garden that will provide more of the family’s supply of essential foods,” Leaflet No. 3 says.

Master Gardener volunteer Paula Simon distributes information on the 2017 Orleans County Heritage Festival on Saturday morning at the Master Gardener Victory Garden on the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. The garden is open for viewing throughout this week for self-guided tours.

Varieties of vegetables grown in the Master Gardener Victory Garden are authentic to those planted during World War II. WWII Victory Gardens helped to make crops such as Swiss Chard and Kohlrabi popular in American gardens.

Original Victory Garden Leaflets distributed by Cornell Cooperative Extension were on display Sept. 9. Those visiting the garden were able to take home copies of all five leaflets found at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The Victory Garden at Cornell Cooperative Extension features two raised-bed plantings. Victory Garden Leaflet No. 2 on garden plans advised civilians to plan for plenty of green and yellow vegetables and tomatoes.

“These help to build and maintain good health,” the leaflet states. “We can help make America strong by making Americans stronger……raise more than your family will use as fresh vegetables. Plan ways to save the surplus…… remember everything you grow for the immediate and future use of your family helps relieve the pressure on industry for packaging and transporting food supplies.”

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