The Wartime Monthly Growing Guides in One Volume
Most British people have heard of Dig for Victory and recognise the iconic logo of a boot pushing a spade into the soil. The campaign may not have been as dramatic as the military campaigns such as the Dunkirk retreat or the Battle of Britain but it was just as vital to the eventual victory.
Unlike those military campaigns that lasted weeks or months at most, the Dig for Victory campaign ran from start to finish of the war and for some time after. It wasn’t until 1954 that food rationing finally ended.
The government made land available, creating allotments and plots to enable the public grow their own food supplementing the ration with vitamin-rich fresh foods. As not everyone knew how to do it, they ran an educational campaign to help them.
This educational campaign has had a massive influence on how we grow vegetables for the last 80 years. The government guides from those dark days of the war are often as valid today as they were then.
They’re simple and straightforward but most importantly, they work. By following them, even a complete novice can put fresh wholesome food on the family’s table all year round.
I have collected that original monthly growing advice issued by the government from the war and put it into one volume with a commentary explaining where and why best practice has changed for the modern gardener.
Now available, 75 years after the end of WW2. The price of £12.99. reflects that this is a larger format volume (62 x 9″) and in colour which does add to the cost.
Replica Growing Plan Leaflets
I’ve seen the main leaflet and in some cases just one side of the leaflet for sale on Ebay at a range of prices, usually around £2.50 but sometimes as high as £6.95! So I decided to get some replicas printed to give away as part of this introductory offer.
With each copy of the book, I’m including a replica copy of Grow for Winter as well as Summer – number 1 in the New Series from 1945 and also a copy of Making the Most of a Small Plot, Dig for Victory leaflet number 23. Both on quality, gloss paper.
Ideal for the shed wall in your war-time allotment or frame one for the sitting room!
Free Wartime Seed Collection Worth £9.03
I’ve worked with Suttons Seeds to put together a collection of seeds that would, subject to supply and enemy action, have been available during the war. They’ve all stood the test of time and are deservedly popular today.
Please Note: you’re most unlikely to use all the seeds in a single year, open and re-seal packets carefully. Tip: fold the top a few times and use a paper clip to hold them closed. Store in a cool, dry place and they should germinate well the following year and possibly even the year after that.
Lettuce Little Gem
This was introduced in 1880 and described on the packet by Suttons in 1938 as “A distinct and most valuable cos lettuce. Dwarf and compact in growth and a beautiful colour. The solid hearts, which stand for a considerable time before running to seed, are highly esteemed by those who prefer a small, crisp lettuce.”
It’s easy to grow and ideal for successional sowing to provide for the table from early May to late October. Little Gem holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit. 900 seeds
Cauliflower All Year Round
Introduced in 1933 this cauliflower was becoming popular when the war started. Although modern hybrid varieties may perform better, All Year Round is reliable and fairly easy to grow which is one reason why it is popular today.
All Year Round is a small, but not miniature, variety and usually planted a little more closely than its larger cousins. However, arguably it’s best feature is that it can put a cauliflower in the pot on most days of the year with successional sowing under glass in the coldest months. 200 seeds
This is a variety that’s been around for over 200 years and is still a firm favourite of many. Grown well it produces thick, white stems with an excellent flavour. It will stand well through the harshest winter and fresh leeks can be on the table from as early as mid-October right through to mid-March.
Leeks perform well in most soils as long as nutrients are available. For those with clay soils, be aware that the network of small feeding roots produced by leeks will break up the soil around the plant and degrade to valuable humus after harvest. 350 seeds`
Carrot Autumn King
After 120 years, another variety that has stood the test of time well. A heavy cropper producing standard carrots in 10 to 12 weeks that will store well. Our secret weapon as the vitamin A in carrots improves eyesight and enables our night-fighters to bring down enemy bombers in the dark. Well that was the cover story at the time! 1100 seeds
The earliest references I can find to Greyhound are from just after the war (1948) but it was obviously an established standard summer variety then. Fast growing, approximately 10 weeks to maturity in good weather. Sown successionally from February through July to provide fresh for the table from June to November.
Greyhound produces compact cylindrical heads, ideal for the modern household. It doesn’t require large spacings and in good, well manured deep soil can be planted just 12 ins. apart although 16 ins. is best normally. 350 seeds