Video review: Victory Gardens


This 1942 short film produced by the USDA is available for free download at the Internet Archive (one of the places Amanda wastes her precious time at the library). It follows a Maryland farm family, the Holders, as they plan (with the help of the County Home Demonstration Agent), plant, maintain, and harvest their Victory Garden.

The Holders horse-plow an area that looks to be about a quarter of an acre and succession plant it with early and then late varieties of common home garden vegetables. There is some mention of cold frames, crop rotation, chemical use for insect control (some scary, as you’d expect and some accepted organics like rotenone and pyrethrin), high-wheel cultivators, and even a few references to phenology (“Plum trees are in bloom – time to plant sweet corn.”).

My favorite part is the segment where the whole season is shown in miniature on a model of the farm. It looks to have been built by someone who rightfully won awards for their model railroad landscapes. For those of you who like to watch for continuity errors, you will enjoy watching the bicycle (or cultivator, it’s hard to tell) magically teleport all over the garden during the model planting sequence.

– Amanda


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