Since my last post, I’ve done a little research on varieties of seeds available during WWII, for the utmost historical accuracy. I anticipated this being a research hunt of epic proportions, leading to visiting museums and calling people on the phone, and analyzing photographs of gardens.
It was much, much easier.
A quick trip over to the Victory Garden Foundation website lead me to some fantastic primary sources, and the Smithsonian has their own Victory Garden, and has thoughtfully done all the remaining research for me. I have identified some of the varieties I’m going to be planting, and found two seed companies that carry heirloom seeds. Between the two of them, I should be able to get everything I need.
Here’s my list, produced from the 1942 US Department of Agriculture pamphlet “Victory Gardens (Miscellaneous Publication No. 483) and the Smithsonian’s publication on their victory garden:
- Kentucky Wonder Green Beans
- Earliana, Brandywine, and Marglobe Tomatoes
- Early Wonder, Detroit Dark Red or Egyptian Crosby Beets
- Fordhook Giant Chard
- St. Valery Carrots
- Red Russian Kale
- California Wonder Peppers
- Black Beauty Eggplant
I may, in the interest of thrift and productivity, both very homefront values, mark off a small section of my garden for anachnoistic plants. Like lacinato kale–which absolutely existed in the 1940s, but wasn’t commerically available in the US–and one of my existing basil plants. We’ll see. I’m also not absolutely wed to the idea of starting everything from seed. I’ve had mixed results in the past.
This was much easier than I thought.