Victory Garden at Longwood


February 21: After adding more compost to some beds–and some wood ash brought by an especially helpful student–we’ve prepared rows for planting.

(Photo by Heather Edwards)


During  the   week,  we’re  putting  in seed  potatoes,  spinach,  sugar  snap  peas,  and onions.


February 14: Valentine’s Day

For this region, this is the day old-timers put in the first seeds: peas, onions, spinach. We’re a week behind, but plan to let tomorrow’s expected snow come and go and then make the first spring planting. 

January 19: A volunteer helps clear the beds and is rewarded with a final few broccoli side shoots, a couple of small carrots, and a nice Napa cabbage.


2020: January 17: After the break between semesters, we were surprised to find enough broccoli hiding among the leaves to fill five bags, which we took to to the food bank the next day.







December 6 and 7: Final Fall Harvest.

Broccoli, beets, lettuces,

Daikon radishes, turnips.


With the help of Cherri Shideler, Longwood acquisitions librarian, and the Director’s wife, we carried the produce to FACES‘s new facility on Commerce Road. Traffic on this cold distribution Saturday was brisk. 


Cherri and John’s son, Corey, is currently a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.






December 2: Virginia Grown pays a visit

Heather Wheeler, Virginia Grown Program Manager at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, met with students in English 215 and toured the Victory Garden to give advice about the future. She explained how Virginia Grown partners with producers, farmers market managers, farmers market vendors and buyers  to promote fresh, local products and to enhance the marketing opportunities for those products in Virginia and across the nation. Also on the Virginia State Team for Agritourism as an Agritourism Marketing Specialist, she admitted to a passion for agriculture that has led her to contribute to veteran centered initiatives in the state. She owns Bit of Whimsy Farm in Spotsylvania County which is home not only to her horses but it is also where she raises Dwarf Nigerian and Pygmy Goats, Guinea Hogs, chickens and turkeys.


Students presented her with produce from the garden: turnips, beets, and Daikon radishes.



November 25: US Department of Agriculture visits English 215, Histories and Cultures.

Military Veterans Agricultural Liaisons Bill Ashton and ​Matthew Underwood spoke to students in English 215, who are managing the Victory Garden this semester, about Department of Agriculture initiatives to support retiring military who want to move into farming in their civilian careers.

Mr. Underwood, a Marine veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq, explained how veterans want to serve the community in their civilian roles as they did as soldiers.


Mr. Ashton, who served 24 years in the Navy, told students that agriculture is an important element of national security. The industry includes not only the farms but the machinery of planting, harvesting, and distribution.

Both men toured Longwood’s Victory garden. Although the season is nearly over, the students presented the guests with just harvested turnips, beets, and Daikon radishes.



November 15: Harvest II

More lettuce, radishes, turnips plus greens and beets.







The wife of a veteran who lives locally helps deliver to F.A.C.E.S (Farmville Area Community Emergency Services).



November 11: Veterans Day

Longwood University Professor Emeritus of German, Dr. Geoffrey Orth (also former Chair of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages and Director of the Cormier Honors College and lifetime gardener) was guest lecturer in English 215: Histories and Cultures, whose students are working the garden.





He reminded the class of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, famous Roman statesman of the 6th century BCE, who left his farm to save the Empire in a time of crisis and then, when he had restored order, relinquished his power. He is a model of the citizen soldier and thus a figure important to the Longwood concept of the citizen leader. 





November 1: We bagged our first harvest (lettuce, turnips, chard) this morning, then delivered the produce to FACES (the local food bank) Saturday morning, the regular day of distribution. With another frost warning, we covered the lettuce beds. The other plants are hardy, though will be in danger with the first hard freeze. We plan another, bigger harvest for Veterans Day weekend.



October 24: An anonymous donor contributed this message board, now installed at the garden site.















October 18: Finally, an inch of rain this week! Our rain barrels are full, so we can water individual plants with a watering can.

However, all is not well: a critter, likely one or more of the deer that help themselves to Farmville gardens, chewed pansies, lettuces, and chard.





October 10: A day of mist this week, but no measurable rain. At least it has been cool. And we continue to water. The plants, having established good roots, are growing.


On the left broccoli, beets, and lettuces. On the right chard, ornamental kale, turnips, daikon radishes, and cabbage.










October 3: Rain is finally in the forecast for the coming weekend! We’ve kept things alive by watering.








Mowing the grass around the beds with an old-fashioned push mower–what gardeners used during WWII–involves some work.



September 20: With the able assistance of ROTC cadets, we spread compost over bare ground and prepared to add grass seed–as soon as the forecast includes rain!






September 13: Planting and watering radishes, carrots, lettuces, chrysanthemums.



September 11: remembrance

English 201-05, “9/11: Loss and Redemption,” spent time on the 18th “birthday” of this tragedy to reflect on the costs of the attacks as explored in Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

At the same time, we continued work on the garden that recognizes those who have responded to the national need throughout our history by planting for the future. The broccoli put in last week, for instance, is prospering.



And a student volunteer hand lettered signs to identify crops.

Our hope is to have all seeds in the beds by the weekend . . . and for rain!


September 6 update: Beds

Ahead of Hurricane Dorian, volunteers move organic compost into beds. Eight beds are ready to plant, but we still need rain.





August 30: Beginning


Guided by an exhibit at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, Home and Abroad is working with Longwood University to establish a campus garden in the tradition of the Victory gardens of WWII. Students in English 215-05, “Histories and Cultures,” will help research, design, and plant the garden as an application of the university’s Citizen Leader program. Their efforts will show support for America’s current military as they continue the tradition of protecting the nation’s interests at home and abroad.


The garden’s campus location is significant because a large magnolia tree beside the plot, planted early in the 20th century, comes from a cutting from a tree at President McKinley’s White House. Learn more here.

One Comment on “Victory Garden at Longwood”

  1. Continuing historical support will enhance this campus and enrich student lives as they participate and follow the progress of this program. I look forward to following events and visiting your garden to appreciate your efforts. May the weather cooperate to produce a flourishing crop.

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