When the United States introduced food rationing at the height of World War II, the government prompted Americans to grow their own produce to be self-sufficient during rough times.

By 1944, the country had around 20 million victory gardens that produced 8 milllion tons of food. This was nearly half of the country’s supply of fresh produce, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

While the country does not find itself in a food shortage crisis, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness when essential items are often hard to find and sold out at grocery stores can go a long way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With spring in full bloom and social distancing guidelines still in place, there is no better time to plant a COVID-19 victory garden to help bolster Grant County’s food supply, while taking a breather and relieving stress.

Marla Armstrong, owner of Len’s Drug, said there has been a rush of people buying gardening supplies.

“People are in their gardens a lot more because they’re home,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said vegetables are in high demand, in addition to soil and hanging flowers and other potted plants. She said that, in turn, has limited her suppliers and growers.

Nonetheless, she said those interested in getting started should keep in mind that many vegetables are fairly easy to grow.

“Tomatoes, for example, can be grown in a container,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said, in addition to tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, carrots and cucumbers are all pretty simple to grow.

All of those vegetables are enough for a fresh salad, she said, and there are many choices in terms of what to plant.

Armstrong said the advice about when to plant has been passed from generation to generation in Grant County.

“Plant potatoes after Easter when all of the snow melts in Little Canyon,” she said. “Plant your onion patch when all the snow melts on Strawberry Mountain.”


Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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