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Home Front Friday: How Green is Your Garden?

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Today is Arbor Day, which is all about going green! April is also Lawn and Gardening Month, making it a perfect time to discuss one of the most defining aspects of life on the home front during World War II: Victory Gardens!

During the war, everything was rationed, including food, to make sure that the soldiers serving abroad had enough to eat. Not only that, but trains and trucks that were used to transport food products before the war were now being used to ship soldiers, ammunition, and weapons. In order to keep families fed, the United States government encouraged them to plant Victory Gardens in their backyards and grow their own food.

via the National Archives

via the National Archives


via the National Archives

via the National Archives

The United States became home to more than 20,000,000 Victory Gardens during the war. By 1944 Victory Gardens were responsible for producing 40% of all vegetables grown in the United States – more than 1 million tons! City homes without backyards resorted to window box gardens or rooftop gardens that the whole building tended to. Schools would often grow their own gardens to provide for the children’s lunches. Excess food was canned and saved for the winter months. Victory Gardens were also responsible for introducing Swiss chard and kohlrabi to the American dinner table because they were easy to grow.

Did you know the National World War II Museum has its own Victory Garden? Check it out:


Everyone knows that the first step of gardening is to make sure that your plants get enough water. But have you seen how expensive watering cans are? Why spend $15 or more when you can make a watering can from objects you probably have lying around your house already? In this post, we’ll show you how to make one out of a milk jug in under five minutes!


  • Milk jug
  • Safety pin/thumbtack/nail


1. Wash out and clean your milk jug.


2. Use a thumbtack to poke holes in the cap. Twist the thumbtack around to widen the holes.


3. Voila! You now have a watering can that cost you practically nothing to make!


Posted by Katie Atkins, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.


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