Gardening Gardens for Victory!!
“Quick and easy to read gardening post!”
The Reasons Behind Survival Gardening 1 – 5
Part 4 of 5
Since the lockdown – gardening as an activity has risen exponentially – not just here in the UK, but right across the globe. As more and more people worry and become anxious about possible food shortages and not forgetting a reluctance by many still to actually want to handle fruit and vegetables in store due to potential unsafe handling proceedures by staff, more people have looked once more at growing their own for the table!
The resurgence or revival of backyard, survival, community or victory gardens is huge. Examples of the rise seen here in the UK alone arrived with the likes of record high sales spikes from online gardening retailers as they quickly sold out of everything within a strikingly fast period of time!
The last episode in this particular mini-series was written on April 2nd – so just under four weeks ago and l have deliberately delayed the writing of this post just to guage how long the spike was going to affect gardeners. A month more or less on, and whilst it is easier to actually get into the online retailer now, you have to queue for upwards of four minutes which is still slow, but way better than four weeks ago and it taking nearly twenty minutes to get onto the retail store itself.
Seeds, books, grafted plants, garden equipment – you name it – it all sold out in the first few days of the lockdown – the biggest trend was PANIC – we all saw that in the shops – empty and barren shelves – people stockpiling and hoarding supplies of food that most of the time they could not even eat and whilst stocks in store went down waste materials and food collections went up – due to people throwing away spoiled food stuffs.
The next port of call was “If we can’t buy our own, let’s grow our own!” That’s when the spike in gardening stores took off and a month later it is still trying catch up, even know the demand upon the stores is slowing down.
I am a pretty organised and methodical gardener, l pre-order so as to avoid disappointments and rushes … and yet things l ordered in January and February – long before lockdown – are caught up in this rush of new gardeners!
My gardening schedule has been thrown out by a month in certain places due to pre-lockdown orders set for delivery later March/ early April and later April which are now caught up in a freeze. I am only now starting to receive my orders and still only in dribs and drabs and worse than that, sadly some are in a very sorry state of affairs and in some cases some of these plants have had to be destroyed and thrown into the compost heap direct, due to being packaged and posted very badly as over enthusiastic retailers rush to meet demands by an all consuming market place.
There is of course good news about all of this …. that is, of the new found gardening craze here in the UK, an estimated 41% new sustainable gardeners will stay with gardening and growing their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Of course it is still early days .. but even if of that potential % – half stay with growing their own, that is a huge figure that can and will help the environment over the long run.
Whether these new gardeners are growing for the table, or for ornamental desires or even if just for a newfound hobby and lockdown boredom easer – this is still excellent news for the environment, the planet and the future of sustainability.
It is not just one aspect here that has growth potential either it is many fold – you can look at gardening and growing your own as discussed, having your own grocers on tap, your own fruit and vegetable store – doing your bit for the environment – starting a compost pile and managing kitchen wastes to even starting your own wormery, but equally you could look at growing not just for this season, but like l am endeavouring to do this year – a year’s worth of season from spring through till spring again.
There are also alternative possibilities to be had too with the likes of the by products of gardening such as canning your own, pickling and fermenting too. By having a garden filled with bounty you are helping wildlife, bees and other pollinators come into your space and doing their bit. By introducing more nature you are opening up your environment to wildlife gardening and encouraging animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in and extending their dwindling habitats as well.
In the last month, l have spent time working on our garden, sowing seeds, preparing soils and composting, and Suze has worked on replanting as well as transplanting the new seedlings – the more l have been able to mentally write the last installment of this mini-series. We have got a garden that is now slowly starting to grow and mature, we have more growing on in the greenhouse, and only a few seeds left to plant out direct. I have a second compost heap coming along nicely and the layouts are on line for producing crop from now till next year … it’s looking good.
I will not deny there is a certain amount of stress to gardening and more so especially with the likes of vegetable gardening – this is principally l think down to the expectations you put on yourself to produce for your table – with the final episode l will examine all the possibilities of backyard, community, victory or survival gardening whichever term sits best with the reader and for those who genuinely want to grow vegetables but don’t know where best to start and or what to start with – l will address those issues.
Anyway, until then,
Catch you in part 5
Thanks for reading – Rory