During World war 2 there was a lot of Shortages so some one or the goverment came up with the idea for every one to grow a small garden any where you could on your front lawn back yard the roof where ever you could people started calling theam victory gardens
I remember reading about those. You saved everything and grew whatever you possibly could at home. Everything got used and almost nothing was wasted. They even recycled metals to help with the war effort because they were also short on those. They reused the extras on planes and other machines.
There was so much publicity about being patriotic and giving any materials that could be used to the war effort, that I gave my rubber dolly to the man who was collecting scrap for the war. I sure hope they put her to good use!
We lived in the country and always grow most of what we ate, except what we got from welfare. Rather have onion sandwiches on homemade bread out of the garden.
What is the difference between a victory garden and a regular garden?
Maybe we could make them Victory Over Global Warming gardens. The closer food is grown to where it is consumed, the less energy is used to transport the food. Food producing doesn't have to take place in orderly rows - it can look like designed landscape and still produce food for people and critters.
yep. Even in KC they are turning vacant lots into gardens. They feed whole neighborhoods this way. And they are doing it in crime ridden areas to help turn it around. Some are suceeding and some have a ways to go.
LOL... I do grow fruit and veg' in my garden now. I am all for urban gardening, organic growing, small locally-grown farmer's markets, etc. but I guess Gloria asked it best, "What is the difference between a victory garden and a regular garden?"
When I started building raised beds in the front yard last year, the wife wanted to know what I was doing, I told her I was building her a victory garden, This evening she wanted to know what I was going to plant this year. It is all good.
When the government made a booklet of my hometown's life and war effort to send overseas to our allies, [Small Town USA], one picture that stands out in my mind was a picture of a family planting a large garden.
My sister had a penpal in Australia and she wrote that, "Hey, I saw your picture in the booklet!"
I recommed the PBS program 1940's House. I saw a portion of it on our PBS station and then rented the DVDs from Netflix to watch the whole show. Although this takes place in the UK, the importance of the garden to feed the family and ever increasing severity of food rationing in well illustrated in this program. It was an eye opener for many of my colleagues when they saw it. This film really brings home the need for a local food supply.
Victory gardens were an concept, a mindset, not any particular kind of garden. The idea was that any effort, no matter how small made a difference in winning the war and that by growing as much of their own food as they could the gardeners were contributing to the war effort. The idea that every little bit mattered. The concept is still valid today, perhaps moreso.
In the 40s the idea was to free up food for the troops, but the concept applies today by being victorious over reliance on someone else for every bite of food we put into our mouths. Taking control of our own lives even in a small way. Providing ourselves with healthyer food and security against being controlled by agribusiness. It has another advantage in the fight that was not an issue in the 40s, knowledge! In the 40's virtually every family had a member that still had knowledge of how to grow their own food, not so today. Many people today have absolutely no knowledge of how their food gets to the supermarket.
There are children today that do not know that milk comes from a cow, don't even know what a chicken looks like. I have witnessed this myself. My kids have had city friends to the house and when they see our chickens have had questions like, "is that big one the momma?" or "arent chickens supposed to have four leggs?" And folks this was from teenagers. How are these kids ever going to be able to grow a tomato or anything else to feed themselves? Our socioty has become so far removed from its food supply that should the supermarket shelves ever become bare they will starve. Knowledge is the key to freedom! Freedom to supply yourself with HEALTHY food and SAVE MONEY.
So yes I think the concept of victory gardens is as valid today as it was during WWII, if not moreso. Empower yourselves and your children but learning and teaching the art of growing food, every little bit counts!
Recently I submitted a plan to our city council/planning commission for teaching children how to grow a food garden. The plan was that one function of my part time nursery would be to have an apprenticeship program. In this program, beginning in the fall, one student would take a 4 ft x 4 ft area, build soil by making a lasagne bed, test the soil and make necessary amendments, and in the spring plant one crop in the 4 x 4 area. Then on a designated day, the student would "present" his garden to the public and explain how he grew what ever it was he chose to grow. This very limited procedure would encompass all the kids would need to know, to start a market garden for example, or grow crops to supply local restaurants. I hoped this would produce a high school co=op where kids could, if they chose, build a plant based business locally instead of leaving as they now do since there is no work here. (brain drain).
This plan was rejected by the local planning commission.
Gloria, why am I not suprised!? Have you tried taking your idea to a local science teacher? I know a nearby high school here has a similar program, they even have a nice greenhouse and sell plants they grow in the spring to raise funds. Of course this is only one High school that I know of, unfortunately not the one my kids attended and from what I have heard it is all the work of one teacher. And has been very succesful. Unfortunatly as far as I know it is focused on ornamental plants, but hey at least the kids are learning to grow something! You may be able to find an ally in a teacher that would help you get a program going. Of course you would get no funding, (probably the reason you were turned down by the planning commision?) and you would have to seek donations but nothing is impossible. Kudos to you and good luck!
Spot: Can't see that it would really cost much. But funding is readily available for small businesses in west Alabama because it is a poverty area. I presented the idea to the Superintendent of Schools, and to the high school counselor. Some one had told me the schools here had a 'work for credit' program. The people I talked to were very supportive, but they did not have a work for credit program, which would have been a nice "hook" to get the kids interested.
The program was turned down because the permit for my nursery was turned down. It was purely political. Some people here don't like me--I heard because I do not have a Southern accent. In fact I was fired from a job that I invested 20 years of my life to, because the local town bully thought a southerner should have the job. Any how, political garbage. Most of the city officials are now in jail and we have a new mayor who is very supportive. The town bully is still on the rampage. There are all kinds of obstacles to work around. It is wearing on the old psyche, though.
One part of me thinks we should have a new name for what were called Victory Gardens. The other part of me is old enough to remember them so some nostalgia is involved.
I call my own veggie garden my "Survival Garden". It lets me eat healthy REAL foods without all the chemicals, so I can survive and so can the land. And, as I am new at this, it could end up being called the "skinny garden" if I fail at producing much food, LOL.
Oh boy Gloria, I'm sad to hear that. Unfortunately the political mess you describe is not limited to small towns in the south. I worked for a city near here in the department of public services. I was refused even the 90 day probation period specified by union contract on a better job I bid on within the department, why? Because I was A woman, and outspoken about the corruption within the department. I ended up going to the feds who forced them to give me the job, but they simply changed the job duties, starting times, isolated me from everyone and generaly made my life so miserable I quit the city entirely. I could have gone back to the feds but if you have ever dealt with the EEOC they really arent employee friendly, you basicly have to prove your own case and my original complaint took about 18 months to resolve. Another 18 months of what I was going through and I would have been in a psychiatric hospital, I came darn close as it was so I know exactly what you are going through, I'll be praying for you.
After leaving the 20 year job, I got another job. Shortly after I learned that my job trainer had an interview with said "town bully" I was fired again. (I have a couple of graduate degrees, absolutely not a person who should be getting fired all the time. I am a quiet person. Not a smart A--. Or anything like that.). The out of town supervisor said I was "too old" to do the work. Filed with EEOC after 10 months wherein they said they were settling with the company, I received a notice that I could not prove my case, (it was unprovable since there were no witnesses) and they were dropping the case. So much for EEOC. It sure does need a Ralph Nader type clean-up.
On the other hand, you cannot accomplish anything if you have not done the "networking" and foundation work that you need to do i.e. "marketing". Got to sell yourself and your idea. But, when the town is run by bullys who hate women, hat yankees, and love to pick on "old" women, it does get discouraging. Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but this kind of obstacle is a fact of life in many places.
The good ole boy network doesn't just exist in the south, its alive and well up here in yankeeland too. My experience happened right here in Michigan and I just could not believe how difficult the EEOC was to deal with. I always thought that they were supposed to be a watchdog for the people but I found out differently. My situation ended up sending me to a psychiatrist who said, "doesn't the fact that you won your case mean anything to you? Do you realize how many people I see in your position who don't win? It is very unusual to win a case with the EEOC." I told her that yes it did mean something to me but I still did not get the job I applied for and was by contract mine and there was no way I could survive another 18month fight. Even though they kept changing the job duties to make it harder I still did every single one with flying colors. The last thing they had be do was dig a trench in an area with concrete fill under the topsoil by hand, by myself, even though we had backhoes for this kind of thing. Even the men I worked with were incensed at what they did to me. I had a reputation of doing my job and doing it well and they respected me, it was the management that was the problem. So don't think this is a problem only in the south and that the north is somhow more enlightened, it aint so.
I was given essentially a high school bibliography assignment and told to turn the work in on computer disc. Then the supervisor (a person assigned just to me, no other jobs like this in the organization--totally manufactured as a form of harassment) seized the disc and had the computer technician destroy it. If I spoke to anyone they were required to file a report saying I was bothering them (people who had been under my supervision). Isolation. Harassment. All carefully orchestrated to be "legal". I was even told I would be transferred even though I own my home where I live, and had lived in that county since 1974). When looked at the housing (which was to cost me $400/ month) it was flooded with raw sewage. Yeah. I wound up at the psychiatrists, also. Sense enough to go to save my sanity.
Spot. You and I deserve a VICTORY garden. It is a victory to be still alive, even though I still have serious health issues, and Flash Backs from the ordeal. A survivor's garden.
We loved the Victory Garden series when Jim Crockett was hosting it. So sad that he passed away after four years when the show became really popular. We didn't find his successors on the program as appealing.
spot, I know just what you are facing with the food production disconnect apparent in today's society.
I've been assisting at one of the last surviving farms in our area. We do environmental and farm education for local school children. The groups are accompanied by a teacher and a parent volunteer. Many of the teachers and parents are equally ignorant about where milk,eggs, meat and vegetables come from.
Many adults do not know that a dairy animal must first be bred and give birth before she will produce milk.
The ewes lambed a couple of weeks ago. We had a class tour the day after the birth. The ewes still had some blood on their backsides (they had lambed a few hours prior). I had to explain the birth process to the entire group, adults included, so that they would understand why the blood was there.
It's easy to tell which kids spend a lot of time playing violent video games. They move through the world continually wanting to smash, thrash and crash while making video game noises!
Gloria, don't give up on your garden education concept. I agree about connecting with the science teachers. The organization I volunteer at sends a staff naturalist to the classroom a week before the farm & wilderness tour. They do a two hour presentation using slide show, music, role-plays, and hands-on teaching stations. This preps them for the tour and gives the teachers a chance to integrate their science curriculum or review the concepts. The kids really get engaged taking any lunch leftovers to the compost pile, taking some finished compost to their favourite garden plant and thanking the plant for feeding them.
Of course, the worm dance is pretty popular with the 8-10 year old crowd. At the end of the dance they pretend to be worms pooping out new soil (bathroom humour rampant at this age).
A 4x4 foot garden space can provide a lot of subject material for a school science program - soil microbes, water usage & erosion concepts, seed sprouting, composting etc.
My daughter really embarassed my parents years ago. They took my kids to a little farm type setup in a local city park. My kids grew up with chicks, ducklings, goslings and even baby goats occasionaly residing in our kitchen so they know their farm animals. Well there were a bunch of kids at the little farm exhibit talking about how cool the big duck was and my daughter indignantly declared, "thats not a duck, IT's A GOOSE!" She thought those kids were incredibly stupid for not knowing the difference between a duck and a goose, we had to have a talk with her. LOL
That's a real shame, Gloria. But that mentality does indeed exist in many places, included in enlightened New York. I am shocked at the 'network' that exists in the Suburbs. Same names over and over in all the positions of influence.
I've read where Cubans have turned to French biointensive (dense co-plantings, deep composting, etc.) gardening methods and have had to have gardens any- and everywhere they could put them through decades of trade embargos.
I love the idea of a Survival Garden - the one time I ran into car trouble on the road, I landed (safely) in a clump of fennel, and eat it in celebration every year around that time. My partner is a 21 year survivor of breast cancer, and one year on the anniversary we bought a dwarf moro blood orange tree, that bore fruit for the first time this past season. We made a favorite salad of thinly-sliced fennel and blood orange slices along with some walnuts and a light vinaigrette, and re-named it Survivor Salad.
Gloria - don't wait for the city/county to say "okay" -- just begin, informally, and see what happens. It's too good an idea to let fall away.
As to making a victory garden / community garden, there's certainly incentive and reason to grow extra, and ways to get it where it's most needed: http://www.secondharvest.org/
What a great thread, Paul. My grandmother had the most beautiful victory garden, and it meant the world to her. She felt like in her own way, she was contributing. What little it helps, I too am attempting to help small children understand "where" their food comes from. The local school district had their arms wide open to me when I went to them with the concept of a "KinderGarden". I have a 20 x 20 garden at the kindergarten wing that I teach the children how to plant and grow veggies from seed. They learn how to care for them, learn what cool bugs attack certain things, when to harvest, etc. It is amazing to watch them soak up information like little sponges. Makes me smile thinking about it. I was shocked the first year I set everything up to learn that the majority of children had NO idea that their carrot came from the ground originally or that their so loved cucumber grew on a vine in the ground. Kids need to know this basic information, and I was afraid that in todays world of techno-savy everything it would be lost...sure enough, it was.
We do intensive planting. Our personal plot is very small (50 sq ft), but it was easy to plant a few extra pole beans. We were able to able to feed ourselves and donate vegetables to the Food Bank weekly last summer. One thing I have learned in growing for the food banks is that it helps to contact them first and find out what types of fruits or vegetables their clients recognize, then plant extra of those.
RU, loved the Survival Salad story! Also interesting that the Cubans have discovered biointensive gardening. I have been to Havana and all the land I saw looked lush, but that was in another century.
We never had a "Victory" Garden during WWII because we always had a garden anyway or we'd starve. My grandfather had an Ag. degree and had been a County Agent at one time... before the Depression.
So, what is everyone planning to grow in their "Survival Garden"?? This will be my first year trying a real vegetable garden. I usually grow heirloom tomatoes, and always try summer squash... hoping to get a squash or two before the squash borers get them.
For one thing, I am planting radishes this year. I never realized before how nutritious they are. And you can use diakons to break soil if you're ol' legs are to weak to turn over that dirt any more. (Fortunately, not that old yet). Alliums of all kinds. I think a bloomin' onion is simply the most beautiful thing. Especially, in a vase with roses!
Hmmm, I might have to try radishes. I haven't eaten one in many years although I do like daikon in small amounts. I also avoid cukes and peppers because they upset my tummy.
I have asparagus crowns ready to plant, several blueberry bushes, and some red raspberries. All the locals here have black raspberries. I'm looking for horseradish, too. Plus since I love to cook, I always grow leeks, shallots and garlic in small amounts but with a root cellar now, I may do more.
Our garden is currently planted with:
Sugar Snap peas
Broccollo (leaf type of broccolli from Italy)
2 types of red beet
Bee Balm (Oswego Tea)
a Stupice tomato
A little later today I will harvest a swath through the cabbage patch and plant my potatoes.
I have the following in seed starters to transplant in about 4-6 weeks:
Kentucky Wonder pole beans
Ganxett shelling bean (heirloom from Spain)
4 season alpine strawberries (for the strawberry tower)
2 varieties of carrots
Golden Purslane (great source of Omega 3 fatty acid)
Corno di Capra sweet Italian peppers
Trompoccino (Trombetta di Albenga) squash
Zucca Tonda Padana winter squash
Flat leaf Italian Parsley
Betty's White okra
scorzonera (black salsify)
Costaluto Genovese tomato
Yello Pear tomato
Listada di Gandi eggplant
one of the Italian Black eggplants
Rosa Bianca eggplant
most likely more Egyptian beets and Chard. Maybe some lettuce. My cat likes the sweet red leaf varieties.
Since we only have one small plot at the moment, we do intensive succession gardening (think SPIN farm) where a new transplant goes in whenever an existing plant is pulled.
Darius theres a black radishes that will hold up in a root celler to like carrots or turnips my dad use to grow cabbage then when he harvest he would pull the root up to and hang theam in the cool celer said the root kept theam from geting soft . we all so made lots of krut to i still make my own
phicks, the beet greens are our favourite part! The stems are made traditionally made into a casserole. You saute them with a little onion and garlic, put them in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and peper to taste, sprinkle with grated parmesan or gruyere, then cover with a Bechamel sauce (white sauce) and bake until the top browns a little. This is a traditional way to prepare beet and chard stems. In Europe, chard is called Silverbeet. A typical Italian way to prepare beet greens is to saute them with onion, garlic and mushrooms and them sprinkle crushed amaretti on top before serving.
We wrap them in paper to blanch them and make them more tender. In Italy the giant cardoons are often pushed over onto the ground and then buried for blanching. These are sold as "hunchbacks".
Depending on the weather, I'll harvest them when they are 2-3 feet tall. I harvest the stalks as I need them, just as I clip off the beet greens or collard greens as I need them and leave the plant to grow more leaves.
The collard bolted in the unusual heat we've had this week. The blossom resembled a rapini blossom, so I harvested that and ate it too. Was quite tasty and not bitter.
The model for my concept of the apprenticeship - teaching - food garden is based on Alice Water's Chez Panisse.
But, my goodness, Garden Mermaid, you need to do a cookbook. a garden cook book, with all the knowledge of european cooking you have. Maybe we could do a Sustainable Alternatives cook book of survival garden and eating and preserve-ing ala root cellaring. Oh. My.! (I am a great editor).
My DH is half Italian - the family is from Bari in southern Italy. They eat every possible part of the vegetable.
His uncle still farms there - goats, olives, lemons and vegetables. The farm is up in the hills above the city.
I use the herbs medicinally and for tea. Guess I forgot to mention the lemon verbena.
The mullein leaves are dried and crumbled in a jar in the pantry. These are good for lung congestion.
The mullein flower makes a good medicated oil for ear aches/inflammation.
Love your unique grammar, gloria! Being Italian, survival means garlic, olive oil, basil, tomatoes and a few other things. (Lasagna garden?) Is there any better smell than garlic sauteing in olive oil?? Heaven.
Victory gardens...all my gardens are victory gardens (well there IS the occasional defeat, but then I call it the tuition in the school of life garden).
We have plenty of threats today not the least of which are things like E Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, pesticides, and possible tampering with the food supply, certainly drought and extreme weather events, and people, read the statistics of how few farms produce something like 90% of our food! THen there's the cost, both economic and social, of processing and transporting food.
I'll hunt up a great article and post the link, in which the author claims the most radical and helpful thing we can do to save our planet is stop buying supermarket food.
Back to gardens.
I grow, in zone 4, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, currants gooseberries, asparagus, pie cherries, some apples and peaches, blackberries, raspberries and asparagus for perennial crops.
I also grow peas, beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, lettuces, onions, garlic, dry beans, peppers and such for veggies, and I have an herb garden including mints, oregano, monardas, agastache, and annual herbs.
I want to dry more mints and catnip, chamomile, agastache and the like for my own tea blends. I also hope to get a root cellar going so I can store more potatoes, carrots and apples.
I have read about Cuba's tremendous production in tiny gardens in backyards and on rooftops. I forget the exact proportions, but majority of their cities' food is actually grown withing the cities' boundaries now. Can you imagine that happening here?
dmcdevitt: That's an impressive list of crops. A couple questions for you: what is the approx. size of the area that you grow all of that on? and, can you give examples of how you use the monarda and agastache? I grow those two as well, but I haven't used them for my own consumption; more for the tweeties. Do you always dry them first, and are they only for teas?
My gardens are spread around and I'm not a good judge of size. Nothing is produced in huge qty. We do maybe15 rows of sweet corn, maybe 10-15 feet long. That's enough for plenty in the freezer. 40 tomato plants (too many really but I love sauce), a dozen pepper, a dozen basil, let's see yield of about 2 bushels of potatoes (I'll plant more when I have a root cellar), maybe 6 each of squashes will be plenty for us. I have 20 blueberry plants, three dwarf pie cherry (I'd like more).
Herbs are in a separate sort of sandy area, maybe 12 feet in diameter. (Mints and so forth spread all over)
Monarda flowers are nice in salads, tea, and punch. The leaves we use for teas and my cheat-tea...I throw fresh leaves in the blender, whirl them up, let it sit, then filter it through coffee filters. THe agastache I love like that . Mostly I use a base of peppermint. But lemon balm is nice in summer too...
Yes the US &allies won the war in WWII. Keep in mind that German-Americans helped the US win the revolutionary war to gain independence from Britain and helped to build the US during its history. What many people don't realize is that the Japanese represent less than half of the Americas who had their land & businesses confiscated and were thrown into internment camps away from the coast. My Uncle-in Law (from Massachusetts) spent four years in an internment camp in the midwest for the crime of having Italian parents. We have several families here who were in the US internment camps for having German parents. Many of them were rounded up from Costa Rica and other parts of central & south america, forcibly brought to the US, and then interned for the duration of the war. My mom was a nurse with the international red cross and immigrated to the US after WWII. No, she was not a war bride. She came on her own and met my father here. She has liver damage from starvation after the war. She's from a rural, farming area. The food lifts into Europe went to the cities and didn't reach the rural areas. The farms had been stripped bare during the war and continued to be stripped under the Soviet government that followed. Needless to say, my mom is an avid gardener and always lays in a food supply, and always stashes some in unlikely places. The stories we heard growing up imprinted us with the importance of a local food supply and good relations with the local farmers.
I must have been hungry in another lifetime because I, too, lay in a big supply of food!
Few of us realize the extent of the WWII interment camps, excepting the well publicized Japanese ones. Down the street from my house when I lived in Maryland was one for Germans.
I saw a program yesterday on the history channel. Our Irish immigrants made up over 1/3 of George Washington's army, 90% of the labor for the Erie Canal and nearly half the labor for the first intercontinental railroad until they reached the Chinese conscripts out west.
Isn't it great that we are such a melting pot? Unfortunately, we have also made major boo-boos as a nation. I don't really want to get into politics here (even ancient ones) lest we be thrown off.
My intent wasn't to get into politics, just give a reminder that things can change quickly and we need our wits and our practical skills about us. My DH and I are the products of the American melting pot. We have ancestors from mulitple continents. This gives us a sort of hybrid vigor in our immune systems and a wealth of gardening and cooking techniques. It also makes us more sensitive to modern pharmaceuticals, so we stick to naturopathic and traditional forms of health care.
Something to consider in any victory/survival garden are some basic medicinal herbs to use if your health starts to go out of balance. One of the reasons I recommend the PBS 1940's house to so many folks interested in self sufficiency is that it really does show how quickly things can change and what folks need to do to adapt. In addition to food and clothing being scarce and rationed, basic medicines were not available as they were needed for the military. One of the participants in the PBS show dropped a lawn mower on her foot. The only thing they could do for the pain & swelling was a cold compress. If you had a similar experience on your homestead, would you be able to gather something from the garden or woods to make a healing poultice or analgesic tea? Recent hurricane experiences show that help may not come quickly after a disaster or disruption.
Hey Garden Mermaid, why don't you start a thread about natural medicine, great topic for sustainability. Our current healthcare system is deffinately NOT sustainable, neither are the costs. I have been getting more and more into natural medicine and would love to learn more, you sound like the girl with lots of info on that topic.
I was not aware that the % of non-Japanese Americans thrown in the camps was so large. Very interesting. On alternative meds, I have been taking supplements for years and have lots of complaints against 'conventional medicine'. But one has to be careful. There is plenty of snake oil out there. No gov. regulation means they can make all sorts of outrageous claims. Also, with supplements, the quality control can vary wildly from one manufacturer to another. I worked with a relative of a famous natural food / nutrition 'guru', and he told me of many instances of pure BS being pushed on an eager public. The supplement business is huge and where there's money to be made, vultures will descend.
gm is referring more to home-grown stuff and medicinal plants, etc. I am sure there are many things that work, but many that do not as well. I had a few books (Rodale and others) that had 'natural' cures and treatments and I tried many. Very few actually worked.
I don't recommend the Rodale books for herbal medicine and home cures. I posted links to some with better information.
I agree that there is plenty of snake oil out there, and would contend that most of it is from the Pharma cartel. The recent recalls are a case in point. There are no diseases as a result of a deficiency of chemical drugs. There are many diseases that result from a nutritional deficiency. I do not trust govt regulation on many things, especially nutrition and the food supply. Prescription drugs that are properly prescribed and taken as directed are the fourth leading cause of death in the US. Add to this those that are improperly prescribed and taken and prescription drugs become the third leading cause of death. This is per the studies from the CDC and conventional medicine. Isn't it interesting that iatragenic medicine is one of the fastest growing medical fields? This is the study of disease caused by medical treatment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to eliminate modern allopathic medicine. In cases of physical trauma and acute conditions (think emergency room type treatment), modern medicine shines. Once you get out of the ER, it's time for other modalities.
I would like to see the US move in a direction of freedom of medical choice and truly integrated modalities wherein the heavy guns of chemical drugs are not used unless truly needed (why use a rocket to kill a fly when a flyswatter will work?) and wanted.
There are hundreds of years of case history for many of the herbal medicines and many reputable companies and practitioners out there. The records of treatment for the epidemics that hit post war Europe show that properly administered homeopathic medicine performed as well as, and often more effectively than, the antibiotics and chemical drugs. Consumers do have a responsibility to learn about what they are taking and to research the brands they are purchasing. We also have a responsibility to observe what our bodies are telling us and keeping to proven dosages. The Phama companies also own many of the supplement companies or sources. This is why I recommend that folks grown some of their own plants to get to know the plants. DSHEA protects your right to access, we need to protect the DSHEA and stop the persecution of traditional medicine pratitioners.
My observation has been that many people expect a natural remedy to treat a symptom in the same way as a prescription drug, or wish to continue their health destroying diet and lifestyle and just pop an "herbal pill" to correct their excesses. It doesn't work that way. Natural remedies are designed to correct the imbalances in the body that created the symptom, rather than just covering up the symptom. There are some with more immediate actions than others.
Ultimately, sustainability is taking responsibility for our lives and actions. That includes taking responsibility for our health as well. I'm old enough to remember health care in this country before "managed care" became the norm. Do you really think a physician can truly evaluate the state of your health when they only spend ~ seven minutes with you and then spend most of that time looking at your chart or lab test and not you? How many people can fully describe what ailment is bothering them and how it developed in seven minutes? Our corporate medical system is a disease management system and not a health care system. The concepts of "health" and "care" are missing from the current system.
Each person's Victory Garden will have a meaning that is relevant to their history and the plants selected will reflect that. Our garden will always include a basic selection of traditional medicinal plants.
I'm trained in Bach Flower Remedies and Reiki. Flower remedies treat the cause, not the symptom but they are as foreign to most folks as little blue men. I've known for years that I will be led to make some flower remedies of my own. That was part of my interest in your medicinal plant list.
Rescue Remedy is a fixture in our medicine cabinet. I use flower remedies on the animals as well.
Red clover flower remedy and ignatia amara homeopathic remedy were very, very helpful in rehabilitating the feral cat that we trapped.
Hard to explain... put a couple of drops under your tongue, or in a glass of water to sip. It's made from 5 flower essences and basically it simply calms you. I was amazed at how it calmed my dog for pet visits. http://www.rescueremedy.com/
victor, it would (and does) fill a book to explain "how" rescue remedy and flower essences work. Let me just say that many veterinarians use it. It can make the difference between an animal going into shock and dying or pulling through (after severe trauma). I give some to my cats when I have to take them to the vet. They are much better about the car ride when I do that. I've also found it helpful to rub a few drops onto the top of the head of a two yr old child when they are in the middle of a tantrum.
My DH would be in sorry shape if we didn't have Wood Betony. It's very good for reducing tension headaches. Too many youthful football concunsions have left him with enough scar tissue to create headaches when the barometer drops. The Wood Betony makes life livable for him. It's actually good for the liver as opposed to the analgesic drugs. You need to dry the leaves before you use them. If brewed fresh, they are slightly intoxicating (ie, can make you dizzy). When dried, this effect is elimintated. We keep a bottle of Wood Betony capsules in the medicine cabinet in addition to loose dried leaves for tea. I rarely get a headache, but the once a year or so that I do get one, the Wood Betony does the trick.
Thyme is another good medicinal herb. It is a good expectorant for the lungs and is also anti-spasmodic. That quality is a blessing when you start coughing because the act of coughing has made your throat sore.
There is a commercial herb tea on the market called Breathing Thyme. http://www.tealand.com/BreathingThyme.aspx
You can just use your garden culinary thyme to make an infusion and then add honey if desired.
Many of our usual culinary herbs can be used medicinally. Ginger, fennel, tumeric etc.
Did you look at the Lifeline Medicinal Garden collection from Horizon Herbs on my Homesteading post linked above? That's a good place to start for a medicianl herb garden. I prefer Jatamamsi (nardostachys grandiflora) to regular valerian. They taste and smell the same but the Jatamamsi is lighter. It's also endangered in its native habitat, so if you grow it in your garden you will help keep the biodiversity alive.
GM: I think you should do a new thread on medicinal herbs. A lot of sick doggies are going to need some help! There are a number of references to medicinial herbs around DG. Also, there is a forum on herbs. Don't know how much on medicinal herbs. Also, there are a couple of veteranarians here also. (Lucky_P, and Soferdig), maybe more that have not surfaced yet. There are also some people who make cosmetics and skin care remedies from natural products. There are recent threads for example on cocoanut oil.
Thank you darius. I stopped providing tips on using herbs nutritionally and medicinally on the Herb forum because there is an member on that forum with a very closed mind who blocks any meaningful discussion on the topic. One day perhaps I will point out to her that there are many types of medical schools in the world and she should not consider hers the only one of value, and her word as the only valid one.
The Sustainable Alternatives forum has been a breath of fresh air! We've been able to discuss the pros and cons, the blessings and negatives, the inspirations and worries that folks have on these topics without getting the threads yanked (so far).
The DG policies do not allow "debate". I'm not sure how the DG admins determine what constitutes a debate versus a meaningful discussion. I suspect it has to do with whether or not another member complains about a thread.
Well, GM. I think you have something very important and interesting to say and herbal (not sure if medicine is the right word) remedies are certainly a part of Sustainable Alternatives. Not too long ago, a real garden would have a patch or bed for herbal remedies. Just like they would have a root cellar. And they would have vegetables and flowers for sniffing and for vases. Haven't seen any closed minds here. Knock Wood. Also, you have a very unique background and knowledge of plants that the rest of us do not have. I think a thread on herbal (whatever) would be great, informative, and it would inspire people to learn more about plants and plant them.
Well feel free to do it here. I for one have an open mind on these matters. I'm not a drug industry hater, as they have done much good, but I recognize their shortcomings, limitations and, too often, their myopia. I bring a healthy skepticism to many things. Part of that is just me, part my engineering training. There are doctors who are more open minded. I know one who was ridiculed for using vitamins in wound healing until everyone saw how well it worked! I hope that this forum can be a model of tolerance and open-mindedness.
I got a bit behind in this thread (you guys are chatty!) and don't have the time to read it right now, so I just skimmed through most of it.
I think the most important thing is to be able to care for ourselves as much as possible in all areas. Health care cost are so high and most people can't afford insurance, so eating healthier and know basic health care can mean a lot to people living on a meager income.
As far as Victory Gardens...people who have never had the opportunity to grow their own food are always so proud when they harvest their homegrown food. It can be as simple as one tomato plant growing in a container; everyone should try something. I put in a garden at home every year and will be helping with two community gardens both maintained by kids - one elementary students, and one by teens.