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Dig for Victory

Updated on April 16, 2013

Dig for Victory - the wartime gardening campaign

During World War II, the British public were encouraged to 'Dig for Victory' and produce as much of their own food as possible - because the German U-boat blockade made importing food into the country very perilous.

Back gardens, public parks and even the moat at the Tower of London were dug up to increase food production.

In the US, a similar 'Victory Garden' campaign was underway.

We're now being encouraged to dig for a very different sort of victory - growing some of your own food reduces your environmental footprint and saves you money.

Vegetable Growing During WW2

Bomb crater vegetable garden
Bomb crater vegetable garden

The Telegraph have a lovely slideshow of pictures of people Digging for Victory in WW2. The circular garden shown above has been planted in a bomb crater!

Digging for Victory - by Twigs Way and Mike Brown

Digging for Victory: Gardens and Gardening in Wartime Britain
Digging for Victory: Gardens and Gardening in Wartime Britain

The latest book on Digging for Victory is packed full of fascinating historical information, together with pictures of the propaganda posters of the time and the actual pamplets issued to wartime gardeners in the UK.

THE GOOD LIFE - 100 Years of Growing Your Own
THE GOOD LIFE - 100 Years of Growing Your Own

THE GOOD LIFE - 100 Years of Growing Your Own

An exhibition at the Museum of Garden History, London

6th October 2009 - 7th March 2010, Museum of Garden History, London

2009 was a year of 'Growing Your Own' - from allotments to balconies and window-boxes, people throughout Britain are growing their own and enjoying a slice of 'The Good Life'.

Discover the 100 year history behind the country's current love affair with growing food in our new exhibition. From the Allotment Act of 1908, through WWII's Dig For Victory campaign and the Self-Sufficiency movement of the 1970s to the present day, paintings, photographs, personal memoirs and even the odd home-spun sweater will tell the story of why, how and what we have grown.

The exhibits will take you through the highs and lows of produce gardening. Find out what happened to the Manor Garden allotments in the wake of the 2012 bid and how the world of allotments and community gardening is shaping up for the future. From a 1918 medal for vegetable growing in the trenches to a pamphlet on how to "grow your own smokes", you'll uncover some amazing facts and stories.

The exhibition also asks if the current boom is just a credit-crunch fad or whether we really want to change the way we eat for good. Whatever your experience, tell us your stories and share your opinions when you visit.

Entry is free with Museum Admission (£6 /£5 concessions /£4 Art Fund Members /Free for Under 16s, Friends & Carers of disabled visitors)

Read about The Good Life in an article from The Daily Express and on the Guardian Gardening Blog

The Wartime Kitchen and Garden

Out of print, but well worth trying to track down, this is the book that accompanied the British tv series of the same name, and contains plenty of information about gardening and eating in wartime Britain, with photos from the series.

Digging for Victory - Wartime Gardening with Mr.Middleton

Digging for Victory
Digging for Victory

The Dig For Victory campaign to encourage people to grow their own food began in Britain in September 1940. This was the government's plan to avert hunger in the event of the war lasting more than a few months. Formal gardens, lawns and sports pitches were transformed into makeshift allotments.The campaign was launched by the first media gardening celebrity Mr Middleton on the BBC Home Service. These popular broadcasts, with around 3.5 million listeners, were published for the first time in 1942. This new edition of "Digging For Victory" brings Mr Middleton's pearls of wisdom to a new generation of gardeners who are increasingly interested in growing their own food. It is a timely publication in light of the recent surge in allotment owners.

This beautifully designed book takes the reader through the seasons offering helpful gardening tips. Charming, chatty and immensely readable, "Digging For Victory" is the perfect book for all gardening fans.Rediscover the famous wartime gardening broadcasts by the original gardening media celebrity.


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    • sunworld lm profile image

      sunworld lm 4 years ago

      Great photos

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This was a great idea. I wish more of us would grow some of our own food today.

    • sallemange profile image

      sallemange 5 years ago

      Such an interesting historical review. Why do we rely so much on supermarkets these days?

    • jed78 profile image

      jed78 5 years ago

      In the US Victory Gardens were the thing ! They have seen a resurgence lately!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Very interesting subject - making your own produce is a good idea anytime, not just wartime! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 7 years ago from US/TN

      Interesting topic! Blessed.

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 7 years ago

      This goes to show you that a good idea never goes out of style.