SIDNEY — Victory Gardens, originally called war gardens, began during World War I. Their purpose was to have the public start vegetable gardens to supplement the overall food supply, and at the same time give them the feeling that they were helping in the war effort. The practice was revived during World War II with great success. With the Covid-19 pandemic creating a hardship for many today, Victory Gardens are once again in vogue.
In cooperation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are encouraging members of the public to start their own Victory Gardens by distributing free starter kits of seeds across the state. Locally, Shelby County Master Gardeners will be giving out seeds at various locations throughout our service area which includes neighboring Auglaize County and Mercer County during the week of April 5 through 10.
Each kit will include sampler packets of two of the following vegetables: red beets, cucumbers, lettuce and radishes. All kits will also include a packet of mixed sunflower seeds. Planting and growing instructions will be included, and Shelby County Master Gardener volunteers may be contacted for additional information by calling the extension office at 937-498-7239 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Gardeners will also receive a small “Victory Garden” sign to display in their garden. They will also be able to post pictures of their gardens on a website maintained by the ODA. More information is available at https://u.osu.edu/ohiovictorygardens/.
“This would be a great opportunity for families to get their kids involved in gardening,” said Doug Benson, volunteer coordinator of Shelby County Master Gardeners. “All of the plants are easy to grow and require little space.”
A very limited number of kits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at each distribution site. In Shelby County, all distributions will be April 10 at the local public libraries: Amos Memorial Library in Sidney 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Anna library 9 to 11 a.m., Botkins library 9 to 11 a.m., Fort Loramie library 11 a.m. to noon; Jackson Center library 9 to 11 a.m.; and Russia library 10 to 11 a.m.
Other locations and times include Wapakoneta public library April 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mercer County Extension office April 9, 10 a.m. to noon; St. Marys public library April 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; St. Henry public library April 10, 10 to 11 a.m.