Summer is in full swing and your garden is providing a bonanza of fresh, gluten-free food that’s both inexpensive and nutritious.
Our grandmothers and great grandmothers knew that a great way to extend the family food budget, especially in lean times, was to plant a garden and grow your own food.
In our grandmother’s times, Victory Gardens (also called War Gardens or Food Gardens for Defense) were planted during World War I and World War II to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Many farmers had been drafted into combat so the public was encouraged to step up to the plate to fill the gap left by farmers who were fighting in Europe.
And fill the gap they did. During World War I over 5 million Victory Gardens were planted in the USA alone. By the time World War II was in full swing fully one third of all the vegetables produced in the United States came from 18 million Victory Gardens. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt even had a Victory Garden on the White House lawn.
So take advantage of your garden’s bounty to save some money and provide fresh nutritious food for your family.
If you haven’t planted a garden it’s not too late to seed some quick-growing lettuce, spinach, and radishes in your backyard. These vegetables will provide a return on your investment in less than a month.
Likewise, a fall crop of early-maturing green beans, summer squash (zucchini), or cucumbers is still possible (look for seeds that mature in 50-60 days). And if your garden center still has larger tomato plants these will quickly set fruit in the hot summer months.
If you don’t have a backyard you can still plant your own Victory Garden. Shallow planter bowls on a deck or patio are ideal for lettuce and spinach. Raise them off your patio or deck on planter stands so the tender leaves won’t frazzle from the heated concrete. Water liberally. Plants in containers need watering every day during summer heat.
A deeper patio pot can be planted with tomato plants that love the sun. For a varietal that requires no staking or cages and reliably produces medium-sized fruits all summer choose the “Patio” cultivar. This variety has a strong thick main stem and dark green sturdy leaves that resemble kale leaves. It was bred specifically for planting in patio pots and is ideal for small spaces because it is non-spreading and grows straight upwards.
Enjoy your (gluten-free) garden this summer.
And remember: all unprocessed vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Eat as much as you want of unprocessed artichoke, asparagus, beets, bell pepper, Bok Choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic, green beans, green peas, hot peppers, kale, leeks, lettuce, okra, onions, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, shallots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatillo, tomato, turnips, winter squash, yams, zucchini, and other vegetables.
When it comes to vegetables the rule is simple: if you can grow it in your garden you can eat it on your plate.