Imagine a person who grew up in the 1940s — during World War II — walking into one of our massive modern supermarkets. They would be amazed at the sheer variety of fruits and vegetables that are commercially available at any time of year, and they would want to know why we don’t grow our own vegetables like they did back then. There are more than 40 million American households with gardens at home, but in the early 1940s Americans grew “victory gardens” because our nation was at war.
“Plant your own, can your own” was one victory garden marketing slogan. Americans were encouraged to plant and to can their own vegetables. Making more food available for troops abroad was the goal of the victory garden campaign: across American, victory gardens sprung up on private and on public land. Major cities devoted national park space to growing extensive gardens, and victory garden vegetable production weighed in at an impressive 10 million short tons in 1943. Then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a garden at the White House, and Americans followed her lead.
Before modern pest control product availability, gardeners had to take a different tack to maintain plant health in both indoor and outdoor gardens. Modern organic farmers — and World War II era victory gardeners — may spray a solution of cayenne and garlic over plants to ensure that bugs won’t want to bite. World War II gardeners also lacked access to what is an increasingly popular method of farming: hydroponic garden equipment and other indoor gardening store supplies.
The term “hydroponics” refers to a gardening method that does not use soil as a planting medium for fruits and vegetables. In latin, “hydro” means “water” and “ponos” means “work” or “labor.” Hydroponics experts estimate that, given the proper nutritional balance, they can use substantially less water than traditional crops while increasing output per acre by 50% or more. An indoor gardening store may offer its clients advice on starting a hydroponic garden: an indoor garden lighting system is essential, along with hydroponics nutrients and cloning equipment.
In order to maximize their control over their plants’ nutrient and light regimes, indoor gardeners typically grow inside of greenhouses or in their homes’ basements. Indoor gardening store employees are typically extremely knowledgeable about the benefits of different growth enzymes, and can offer advice about different plants’ needs. Some plants need to have pebbles in place to anchor their roots, for example, while others may benefit more from a continuous mist instead of circulating water. Hydroponics gardeners can often grow food that thrives in other areas of the country: a northern gardener may find success with tropical fruits, for example.
Of course, growing indoors minimizes the risk of pests and maximizes the control that gardeners can have over their fruits and vegetables. Some hydroponics gardeners even find that the cool, damp atmosphere of their garden fosters exotic flora like hard-to-grow orchids and other tropical flowers. Again, indoor gardening store employees should be able to help new gardeners with startup equipment and ideas about which cultivars benefit most from hydroponic methodologies.
There are more than 40 million gardeners in America, each with their own ideas about what makes a garden beautiful. Hydroponic gardens allow gardeners to ply their favorite hobby right through the winter: why stop just because there is snow outside? What we know now about gardening that our friends back in the 1940s did not could fill a book: taking advantage of new hydroponic grow methods could help your household to become more self-supporting and less reliant upon harsh chemicals for pest control.
Looking to grow your own fruits and vegetables year-round? Hydroponic gardening takes a lot of the struggle out of gardening and replaces it with chemistry and fun; taking the time to investigate new gardening methods could permanently take the frustration — and the weeding — out of gardening, and replace it permanently with victory.