Our small victories garden

Are you planting a Quarantine Garden? Or, to use the more hopeful name,  a Victory Garden.

A few weeks ago I packed up my face mask, hand sanitizer, and my best “don’t you dare come within six feet of me” glare, and went to a local garden center.

At that point, I hadn’t been out — at all — since before the quarantine started. Remember, I got strep the Monday before the quarantine started, so I was in bed all week when everyone else was having their last hurrah. Turns out, from March 9 when I went to Patient First for my positive strep test (last hurrah!) to May 1, when I went to buy plants, a lot had gone down.

For example, while I was in quarantine someone bought every plant in all of Richmond. There were no tomatoes, no jalapeños, no eggplant, no red peppers, no cucumber, no cabbage. And ABSOLUTELY no zucchini. Trust me, I checked three different stores.

After checking multiple stores over two weeks, I ended up with a golden zucchini (what is that?), tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. I finally found strawberries, so we can get moving on our goal of supplementing Tom’s berry habit.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that vegetable gardens are like sourdough bread and getting a puppy — now that we’re stuck at home all the time, everyone’s doing it

Look at those gorgeous purple stalks.

Personally, I think it’s awesome.

Perhaps there are first-time planters, or those who used to and are getting back at it. If their experience is anything like mine, this year will have a few successes, lots of failures, and lots of googling, “Why did my zucchini die overnight?”

This year we’re experimenting a lot, mostly with tucking our veggies into flower beds and growing a strawberry patch along the pool fence, where there’s full sun and unfortunately six inches of rocks and sand.

Strawberries with Coreopsis. Please grow, little berries.

For the past few months, I’ve been starting the morning by going out to the garden to pick kale to put in my breakfast eggs.

Last year I planted a “fall garden” in August, and that fall garden floundered and struggled all “fall” because in Richmond, it was 100 degrees in October. Then we had a remarkably mild winter, and instead of being killed off by frost and snow, my fall plants grew. Then, once spring came around, they unfurled in all their glory.

This little gardening serendipity couldn’t have come at a better time. Even though I know it sounds quaint, being able to feed my family from my garden right now gives me a satisfaction that I can’t quite articulate.

A garden fail — my Brussels sprouts bolted before producing anything. I keep ’em around, though, because the blooms are pretty and attract bees.

Don’t be misled — I don’t have much. I’m talked an occasional side dish or Swiss chard or arugula salad, and daily kale for my eggs. Soon we’ll have garlic and sugar snap peas, too.

I feel like this snap pea bloom is looking at me like I caught her doing something unsavory.

I’ve seen a few articles about how now, more than ever, it’s important to grow your own food. We need to be more sustainable, less reliant on the food industry. I’ve seen those WWII posters advertising victory gardens resurfacing.

I don’t know if victory gardens are necessary now like they were during World War II, but I do know that my little garden gives me disproportionate happiness. One handful of kale in the morning is my Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize, Olympic Medal. (Ok, maybe that was too far, but you get the idea. Maybe it’s more accurate to say: One handful of kale = returning library books on time, folding and putting laundry away the same day you wash it, completing a 500-piece puzzle.)

For that reason, I’m glad so many people are spending time in quarantine digging and sowing. No matter what you plant, you’ll for sure harvest a bounty of satisfaction, and that’s something we can all use right now.

(OH WOW that last line was corny! But, I used to write newspaper feature stories for a living, how could I resist!?)



  1. Emmalyn May 29, 2020

    Yes! We started one too. But we have attempted gardening every year. This year quarantine ate up all the plants for us too. Next year we are going to do better about starting from seed.

    • amandakrieger May 30, 2020

      I tried so hard! none of my seeds sprouted. As with everything else, I’m blaming COVID.

  2. Jennifer Van Haitsma May 29, 2020

    Your garden looks lovely! I have a black thumb, so I’m always envious of other’s gardens. My parents love planting flowers every year.

  3. Emily May 30, 2020

    Oh man, my husband has really stepped up his gardening game this year. haha I’m glad we aren’t the only ones 🙂

  4. Amanda May 30, 2020

    My daughters plant a garden every spring. We don’t get much thanks to the Georgia red clay, but they do get some. It’s a great way for them to feel like they have made a difference when we have a salad for lunch with the things they grew.

  5. Ally May 30, 2020

    What a great attitude to have. It’s so easy to get frustrated by people who are just doing something because it is trendy. Sending your green thumb vibes.

  6. Margaret May 30, 2020

    I’ve planted a few Victory Garden plants as well. Some have fared well. Others not so much. But it’s the process that helps me keep busy!

  7. Mamie May 30, 2020

    We are growing a garden too and it has been so rewarding.

  8. Jess May 31, 2020

    This is so awesome. I planted a handful of herbs and a windowsill garden. I wasn’t as optimistic (or as skilled!) as you. But I am inspired. There’s still more quarantine time!


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