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Garden with Us! Introducing the Victory2020 Garden Program with UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County

History of Victory Gardens

Victory gardens or “war gardens” were popular during WWI and WWII.  They were promoted by the government to help provide fresh produce to individuals at home and help supplement food rationing.  It also provided opportunities for families to “do their part” for the war effort.  During 1943, the USDA estimated that over 20 million gardens were planted in the United States. 


Join the Victory2020 Garden Movement!Victory Garden graphic

Today, people garden for many reasons.  It can be a great stress relief, a wonderful place for an outdoor classroom, provide fresh food, and is just fun.  The Victory2020 Garden Program through the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Office in Columbia County will provide the same great information we normally provide, but through a more digital platform to individuals who may be staying home during this unprecedented time.  The program encourages you to try a garden or add to an existing one.  We want you to share your gardens and experiences with us on social media as we share information such as how to properly transplant veggies, composting, planting ideas and garden design through blogs, videos, online classes, and facebook live.  We will share our successes and failures right along with you as we garden from home.  Follow our facebook page @columbiaextension so you don’t miss anything!  You can also send pictures and questions directly to me at

Want to Join Us? Registration is Open!

Register at  We will then sign you up for the facebook group, send you the information on the book club, class information, and youth information if you have kids.  We can’t wait to garden with everyone!

12 Comments on “Garden with Us! Introducing the Victory2020 Garden Program with UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County

  1. I have never gardened in Florida, although I had a successful garden in Northern Utah. I don’t know where to begin. I live in a duplex and have a small yard. I’m not working thanks to the virus so I have more time than money. I have some seeds from the seed library.

    Where do I start?

    • Amy, welcome to Florida gardening! If you don’t have seed trays you can always start your seeds in an egg carton that has been washed or small containers. If you want to go ahead and get them in the ground, depending on the seed you can plant most things now. What kind of seeds do you have? Do you want to do in the ground or container? Make sure to sign up for our Victory2020 Garden program at for more resources. Feel free to email me at and we can chat some more.

    • Start in containers. This way you can find where each will work best. Florida growing season is backwards from everywhere else. Fall is a great time to plant most things due to warmer winters. Summer is really great for tomatoes, eggplant, okra. And all kinds of herbs.

  2. I would love to plant a victory garden! However, we live on the water with water rats!? Our pest guy says a garden would just invite more:( what are your thoughts and suggestions?

    • Beth,
      It would be helpful to know exactly which rat they are calling a “water rat”. Are you talking about Neofiber alleni, also called a round-tail muskrat? It is sometimes called a Florida Water Rat or are you talking about something like a black, roof, or Norway rat. This will help us give you better guidance. If it is what we would call a water rat or the muskrat then I would try the garden. They feed on aquatic grasses and are protected in many areas since they only live in marshy wetlands. Anytime you have a garden you always risk loosing some to animals. Unless you have open trash cans or a compost pile you are not managing then the garden may attract some, but I wouldn’t consider a garden a huge attractant. You may see a rise in predators too such as hawks, owls, and snakes. Thanks.

  3. Hi Erin!

    Before the quarantine hit, I wanted to join a master gardener program through UF or alachua county, I’m not sure who offers it. Anyway, I’ve been gardening in North Central Florida off and on for several years and I want to spend the next several years turning my backyard into a food forest.

    I’m so excited to see your program, but I’m a little confused as to how to sign up and where to participate digitally. Is it just offered through Facebook? Or am I missing something. Are they virtual classes?

    Thanks so much for any information!

    • Elizabeth,
      We would love if you joined us. Please register at You will then be given access to the facebook group, the book club information, the online course, and much more. We do have a class on 4/1 about designing your vegetable garden. You can register at Anyone who is part of the Victory Garden Community will also have access to it after the workshop.

      Your food forest sounds like fun! We hope you join the group so we can learn more about it from you.

      If you are still interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer then I encourage you to look into it. You would register in the county you live. For instance if you live in Alachua then you would contact Taylor Clem the horticulture agent there. He is awesome and would love to hear from you.

  4. I finally found your site to sign up! I heard of this through the 4-H program. I signed up to participate with my two older kids, both members of 4-H. I also have two younger ones that LOVE eat things we grow (like from the limequat tree). We are looking forward to this. THANK YOU!

    No time like the present!

  5. Erin,

    I started a small veggie garden on a raised box for my daughter. We both have been wanting to do it and the stay at home situation gave us great opportunity to get it started. We planted small amounts of squash, zucchini, tomatoes and corn. Things were going great and we were so excited to see the sprouts poke out. We planted the seeds in MiracleGro vegetable soil.

    Today, we came out to inspect our little patch and noticed the leaves have a new blight/scale on them.

    Any suggestions on what it is and how to fix it?

    • Can you email me some photos or post them on our facebook page? This way I can properly identify and give you some options. Thanks! or @ColumbiaExtension on fb.

  6. Erin,

    I am interested in a compose box, do the county offer them to residents for a fee and if not who can I speak to about considering it? The more that is bought the more affordable it would be to residents.

    Do you foresee these being made available to residents for a price?

    There are more people starting gardens than ever with the COVID virus and lost of employment.

    We have wild animals in our area racoon, fox, coyote and possums, which is the better one that is secure from predators.

    • Alesia, at this time to my knowledge there is no composting bin program in Columbia County. It is something we would be happy to look into and think it is a neat idea. If we can figure something out we will certainly get the word out to residents. Thanks!