Grow Your Own

I’m rather amused by the images in Northwestern’s World War II poster collection, and more than a little surprised at just how much currency their suggestions still retain. I mean, the US government was telling Americans to reduce their meat consumption, to raise their own vegetables, to can and preserve their homegrown produce, to car pool, to reduce unnecessary petroleum consumption, all those conservation strategies for which contemporary tree-hugging liberals are so often derided. Of course, the government was trying to conserve supplies for the war effort, not protect the environment or conserve natural resources per se, but the contrast still reminds me of just how decadent a nation the US has become when the present administration’s reaction to economic troubles is to give everyone a little extra cash for that shiny new toy, rather than encourage values like frugality and thriftiness.

Anyway, here are some pics of vegetable and herbs from the garden here at home and a pasta dish I created with some of the harvest. Nothing particularly historical and no formal recipe today, but hell, pasta with vegetables is about as forgiving a dish as you can imagine, so I don’t anticipate you need explicit instructions. More details on what I made after the fold…


To make the sauce, I just briefly sauteed vegetables—sweet peppers, eggplant, zucchini, baby brussels sprouts, all from the garden—with a little olive oil and roasted garlic. I then added a bit of vegetable stock and let simmer until everything was tender, topping up the stock as needed. Once tender, I added a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast to add flavor and thicken the sauce, added chopped fresh herbs—basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and a bit of mint, again all from the garden—along with black pepper and salt to taste. Simple, but good.


If you’re interested in growing your own produce, you might want to take a look at the website, part of the current effort to revive the WWII concept of the victory garden, this time to fight the war on global climate change. For more on the history of urban agriculture, check out the excellent blog Sprouts in the Sidewalk.


25 Responses to “Grow Your Own”

  1. Regardng the current uncertainties with food prices and the role of ever increasing demand from China and India. There is a greater need for us to conserve and be increasingly frugal about food consumption at home.

    Simple food saving tips are things we need to get used to and practice more regularly. Most of these are common sense and can be quite creative. You can find a list of free food saving tips at sites such as amongst other similar sites as well.

    We all need to contribute to a fairer and a more foodwise program for ourselves.

  2. tangstein Says:

    Ain’t it the truth – frugality, something prized by our forebears, is suddenly in again! Of course now we can claim it’s “retro”?

  3. There is another angle to this story, and that is commercial backyard farmers. They are practicing SPIN-Farming, a franchise-ready sub-acre farming system that makes it possible to earn $50,000+ from a half acre. SPIN farmers utilize relay cropping to increase yield and achieve good economic returns by growing only the most profitable food crops tailored to local markets. SPIN’s growing techniques are not, in themselves, breakthrough. What is novel is the way a SPIN farm business is run. SPIN provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business plan, marketing advice, and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process it really isn’t any different from McDonalds. By offering a non-technical, easy-to-understand and inexpensive-to-implement farming system, it allows many more people to farm commercially, wherever they live, as long as there are nearby markets to support them. You can see some SPIN farmers in action at

  4. Pretty vegetables!

  5. Kimberlee Says:

    Hey Roxanne, why is McDonalds style home farming a good thing? Please remind me.

  6. hoveringdog Says:

    Ha, yeah, the comparison to McDonald’s is hardly a selling point, but making backyard farming financially lucrative doesn’t seem in itself a bad thing and may be positive for food security. Not really my area, though…

  7. Damn, that is some beautiful looking rosemary. I have been trying to grow a decent herb for years but rosemary and basil always seem to elude.

  8. hoveringdog Says:

    You don’t have the best climate for rosemary. It prefers warm, dry weather. Out here, it grows so well, they use it as ground cover in strip malls and such.

  9. Oh, I love seeing pictures of people’s gardens! They’re so full of love & investment of energy.

  10. This blog is excellent, I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Amazing photography and great writeups of some unchartered vegan territory. The title of this post made me think of this poster I created last year, inspired by Victory gardens, Food Not Lawns, and permaculture in general. You can see and download it here:

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