How to Build a Container Victory Garden

After so many months of living under the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to understand why so many of us in Southern California are attracted to the idea of walking outdoors and picking fresh, healthy produce out of the garden. The idea of taking advantage of our enviable growing conditions has become especially appealing when the alternative means putting on protective gear to go grocery shopping.

Interestingly, there are several parallels between now and World War I, according to Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith, emeritus, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and my former boss when I was assistant editor at UCFoodObserver.com.

The historian and author of “Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I” told me, “There is always a resurgence of interest in gardening in times of crisis. It’s not just the iconic wartime victory gardens, but also the Great Depression, the environmental crisis of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and now the pandemic. This moment in particular represents an opportunity to prioritize gardening in home and community settings.”

Getting Started

With that forecast in mind, it’s an ideal time to build yourself a victory garden – no matter how small your outdoor footprint. By starting with a container garden, you can begin quickly and in less space. You can move the pots around if you don’t have ideal growing conditions. And you can better control your soil conditions, which is crucial for healthy food production. Who needs to make things complicated during a global pandemic?

Containers: The sky is the limit, from upcycled free materials to pricey designer pots. But whatever you select, keep these things in mind: Pick containers made from environmentally safe materials; you’re growing food in it. Make certain there are drainage holes. Before filling with potting soil, put a coffee filter over the holes to help keep in soil. Don’t put a layer of rocks in the bottom of the container. This reduces the soil’s ability to drain properly and makes the container heavier and harder to move. Be sure to consider the mature size of your plant so you allow plenty of room for it to grow.

Soil Counts: A good potting soil will establish the right growing conditions to help get your container garden off to the right start. It allows proper drainage, healthy plant growth and root development, as well as absorption of nutrients. I prefer potting soils without fertilizers added. It’s easier to control what’s added and when.

Feed the Soil, and the Soil Will Feed You: That’s what I learned from Phil McGrath of the fourth-generation McGrath Family Farms in Camarillo, which has farmed here since the late 1800s. Feed the soil with an organic fertilizer designed for the food you are growing. Follow the directions. More is not better. It actually makes things worse.

Location, Location, Location: Most vegetables grow best in full sun conditions, which is six hours or more daily. This is particularly true of vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants and squashes. Some

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Democrats focus on cutting off path to victory for Trump if presidency is thrown to House to decide

And, if successful in elevating Scholten, Biden’s trip could serve as a backstop for his own presidential bid.

A Scholten victory would likely give Democrats eight of Michigan’s 14 seats in the House, helping House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s newly stated goal of blocking Trump from a last-gasp effort to remain in the White House if he does not win the November election.

It’s all very complicated, but there is a remote chance that neither Trump nor Biden will be a clear winner in the electoral college.

In such a scenario, deciding the presidency falls to the House of Representatives, but in a rare twist mandated by the 12th Amendment after the contested 1800 election, each state’s delegation counts as one vote. So Montana and Alaska, with just one at-large representative, count the same as California with its 53 members and Texas with 36 members.

The victor must receive at least 26 votes, a clear majority. Trump, in recent days, has proclaimed he is ready to fight in courts if he should lose the race, and that he is ready to force the matter all the way to the House.

“I don’t want to go back to Congress, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump told supporters at a rally Saturday in central Pennsylvania. “Does everyone understand that? I think it’s 26 to 22 or something.”

That is true — for now. Republicans have the delegation majority in 26 states, Democrats have 22 states, while Pennsylvania and Michigan are essentially tied. But, as Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted in a memo to her caucus Sunday, the new Congress sworn in the first week of January would cast those votes early next year ahead of the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration.

With an already huge cash advantage over House Republicans, Pelosi has pleaded with her caucus and her donors to open their checkbooks to help flip those majorities to Democrats and cut off Trump’s path to a second term.

“What we hope to accomplish is to send a very clear message on Election Day to the president: There ain’t no light at [the end of] the tunnel for you in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference. “That isn’t going to work. So don’t cause chaos because you think it will lead to a light at the end of the tunnel, because that light at the end of the tunnel in the House is going to be a train coming right at your plans.”

That message has landed in a select group of about 15 districts across six states, where already competitive races for the House now carry an even greater weight.

“The future of the presidency hangs in your race? No pressure there,” Scholten joked Thursday in a Zoom call with other Democratic candidates. “Right? We are certainly aware of the discussions around this.”

Michigan landed at an even seven-seven split after Democratic gains in the 2018 midterm elections. Then, Rep. Justin Amash

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The Block Jimmy and Tam’s bathroom was missing one feature but still led them to victory

Can you spot what’s wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam’s victory… but there was one thing missing

The Block’s Jimmy and Tam came first for their master en suite on Sunday night.

A dreamy pink and gold bathroom led to the married couple scoring 29 points from the judges, leaving them tied for first with Luke and Jasmin. 

But Jimmy and Tam’s room was missing one feature that all the other contestants included, which almost led to their undoing. 

Can you spot what's wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam's victory... but there was one thing missing

Can you spot what’s wrong with this Block bathroom? See inside the dreamy pastel pink and gold en suite that lead to Jimmy and Tam’s victory… but there was one thing missing

Judge Darren Palmer noted that a bathtub was missing during the episode.  

‘That has come because of the size and the floor space they have allocated to this bathroom,’ he said.

But Shaynna Blaze said the bathroom was still sufficient for a couple despite its smaller size.  

‘If we didn’t have the others to compare to, I would say this is absolutely a perfect size for a couple,’ she said. 

‘I, as a buyer, would prefer a big walk-in robe as opposed to a bath in my master en suite because I can have a bath in the other area.’

It's a bathtub! Judge Darren Palmer noted that Jimmy and Tam's bathroom did not have a bathtub, while all of the other master en suites did

It’s a bathtub! Judge Darren Palmer noted that Jimmy and Tam’s bathroom did not have a bathtub, while all of the other master en suites did

Jimmy and Tam included a bath in their upstairs bathroom, so they still have at least one in their build. 

Meanwhile, the en suite featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges.    

There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair.   

‘I’ve got to say the colour palette, which they are using all the way through, is divine,’ Shaynna said.  

Pink is the new pink! The bathroom featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges. There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair

Pink is the new pink! The bathroom featured white terrazzo floor tiles and statement pink wall tiles, which was praised by the judges. There was also a gold shower head and tapware, which added a vintage 50s flair

But Shaynna and co-judge Neale Whitaker were both critical of the lighting in the bathroom, which led to them loosing some points. 

‘The one thing I would mention is the choice of light there, that little sconce is a bit disappointing,’ Neale said.

Meanwhile Shaynna said it was ‘not a good lighting plan’. 

Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position. 

The Block continues on Channel Nine at 7pm on Monday. 

Victory! Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms, and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position

Victory! Overall, the positives outweighed the criticisms, and the couple were able to take home 29 points and a tied first place position

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Victory garden harvest at southern Alberta museum yields nearly 1,300 pounds of vegetables



a man standing next to a pile of hay: Volunteers get their hands dirty to harvest potatoes and carrots at the Heritage Acres Farm Museum near Pincher Creek, Alta. on Saturday.


© Eloise Therien / Global News
Volunteers get their hands dirty to harvest potatoes and carrots at the Heritage Acres Farm Museum near Pincher Creek, Alta. on Saturday.

Around four months ago, staff and volunteers at Pincher Creek’s Heritage Acres Farm Museum held a sod-turning ceremony at its first-ever victory garden project. Fast-forward to Saturday, and the benefit of a hard summer’s work were reaped as nearly 1,100 pounds of potatoes and 180 pounds of carrots were harvested.

“Victory gardening” refers to the practice of gardening to support the community, originating during the First and Second World Wars to aid with food supply for troops overseas.

According to board vice president Anna Welsch, the idea for the garden came about while the museum was closed due to COVID-19.

“Being that we’re a farm museum and an agricultural community… this was our opportunity to hopefully take away some food insecurities from our local community,” Welsch explained.

Read more: Lethbridge garden centres experience boom in summer sales amid COVID-19

In sticking with their roots, antique equipment was used in the harvesting process, along with the hands of a more than a dozen volunteers.

“The interesting thing is our potato [harvester],” executive director Jim Peace said. “That tractor is a 1945 McCormick, and the potato digger was built in England at the turn of the century, so it’s been part of the collection here at Heritage Acres for years. It would have been originally pulled by a horse.”

According to David Green, coordinator for the Family Community Support Services for Pincher Creek, the food bank didn’t have the resources to take fresh produce until recently. Now, the new Pincher Creek Community Food Centre has the ability to store more varieties of food.

Read more: Heritage Acres Musuem plants victory garden to support Pincher Creek food bank

“We’re making the transition to the new organization in a fiscally sound manner, they’re in good shape financially” he said.

Green adds although there hasn’t been a significant spike in need for the food bank services, they are consistently serving the community. He says a lot of people, not only Heritage Acres, have stepped up to increase donations through the pandemic.

“We’re very thankful to the community, both individuals and corporations.”

With such an increase, Peace says the choice of vegetable will allow them to donate in stages to suit the food bank’s needs.

“We picked potatoes and carrots because they store well,” Peace explained. “We have a heated Quonset, so we can actually bag them and provide them to the food bank [as we go].”

On top of the the potato and carrot donation, the museum says they have received around 1,500 pounds of hamburger through cattle donations from the Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange, Dewald Livestock, Larson Custom Feeders, and Big Sky Feeder Association in conjunction with the Chinook Breeder Co-Op.

Pincher Creek is located approximately 100 kilometres west of Lethbridge.

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‘Victory Garden’ Approach Could Aid AI Effort > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Defense Department News

Americans bolstered the war effort during World War II by planting “victory gardens.” Every citizen’s small contribution to the war effort added up to a lot of support. The same can be done to further the Defense Department’s efforts to advance artificial intelligence, said the acting director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“The first step in doing this involves thinking critically about the work that you do,” said Nand Mulchandani yesterday during the opening session at the DOD AI Symposium. “Can you do it more efficiently? Can you rethink it? Could it benefit from automation, analytics or predictive capabilities? Is it ‘data-rich?’ If so, it might be a perfect candidate to build your own AI victory garden around.”

Mulchandani said DOD employees can plant “technological seeds” by learning more about AI, defining areas within their own work environment where AI could help solve problems, developing business strategies to implement AI capabilities, organizing and preserving data, starting an AI project, and sharing lessons learned from their own AI efforts with others across the department.

“The good news is that you’ll have support from the JAIC and the AI community that we’re building across the government, industry and academia,” Mulchandani said.

The JAIC was begun in 2018 to accelerate DOD’s adoption and integration of AI. From the start, Mulchandani said, the JAIC was meant to serve as an AI center of excellence and to provide resources, tools and expertise to the department.

Today, the JAIC is involved in pathfinder technology projects, coordinating with industry and academia on AI, training and education, AI governance and policy, testing and evaluation, international engagement, and AI ethics implementation.

While the mission of the JAIC is broad and far-reaching, Mulchandani said the JAIC alone can’t make AI happen across the department.

“This is a massive effort and is one that the JAIC embraces because we understand that all of these initiatives will help create the conditions for us to achieve victory with AI,” he said. “But we cannot do this alone … no single organization can tackle the challenges of fielding AI on their own — it will take our entire community.”

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Defense Department Official Says ‘Victory Garden’ Approach Could Aid AI Effort > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Defense Department News

Americans bolstered the war effort during World War II by planting “victory gardens.” Every citizen’s small contribution to the war effort added up to a lot of support. The same can be done to further the Defense Department’s efforts to advance artificial intelligence, said the acting director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

“The first step in doing this involves thinking critically about the work that you do,” said Nand Mulchandani yesterday during the opening session at the DOD AI Symposium. “Can you do it more efficiently? Can you rethink it? Could it benefit from automation, analytics or predictive capabilities? Is it ‘data-rich?’ If so, it might be a perfect candidate to build your own AI victory garden around.”

Mulchandani said DOD employees can plant “technological seeds” by learning more about AI, defining areas within their own work environment where AI could help solve problems, developing business strategies to implement AI capabilities, organizing and preserving data, starting an AI project, and sharing lessons learned from their own AI efforts with others across the department.

“The good news is that you’ll have support from the JAIC and the AI community that we’re building across the government, industry and academia,” Mulchandani said.

The JAIC was begun in 2018 to accelerate DOD’s adoption and integration of AI. From the start, Mulchandani said, the JAIC was meant to serve as an AI center of excellence and to provide resources, tools and expertise to the department.

Today, the JAIC is involved in pathfinder technology projects, coordinating with industry and academia on AI, training and education, AI governance and policy, testing and evaluation, international engagement, and AI ethics implementation.

While the mission of the JAIC is broad and far-reaching, Mulchandani said the JAIC alone can’t make AI happen across the department.

“This is a massive effort and is one that the JAIC embraces because we understand that all of these initiatives will help create the conditions for us to achieve victory with AI,” he said. “But we cannot do this alone … no single organization can tackle the challenges of fielding AI on their own — it will take our entire community.”

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Time for round two for your Bay Area Victory Garden

If your Victory Garden is starting to wave a white flag, no need to surrender. Just make a short retreat and prepare for the winter campaign.

The pandemic, fears of food shortages and just plain boredom led many people in the Bay Area to become first-time gardeners, emulating the World War II-era populace by growing their own vegetables in backyards, porches or kitchen windows.

As the summer fades, so are many gardens, but instead of mourning the loss of tomatoes and squash, look to a future filled with broccoli, cauliflower and beets.

Janet Miller, manager of Our Garden, the Contra Costa Master Gardeners’ Walnut Creek demonstration garden founded by the Bay Area News Group, has tips on finishing up the summer harvest and planting for the winter.

In many ways, Miller says, the winter victory garden is less work than the summer one. Plants grow more slowly, eliminating the need to harvest daily and figure out what to do with all the produce. There are fewer insects to worry about. And with luck, nature will assist with the watering.

What to do now

Take a good look at your garden to see what’s still doing well, what has slowed and what you can live without.

Bush beans and squash, Miller says, have pretty much had their run. Production isn’t near what it was a couple of months ago and the squash likely is developing powdery mildew. Those plants can be pulled out and added to the compost pile.

Did you grow vegetables that you really didn’t care for or didn’t do well? Pull them out, Miller says. There’s no need to grow food you’re not using and no need to spend resources on plants that aren’t delivering.

If your tomatoes and eggplants are still producing, you can leave them for now, but if you’re noticing the tomatoes are getting end blossom rot (dark, mushy spots on the bottoms), you can pull those out, too.

Indeterminate tomatoes varieties will continue producing until the first frost, but the later it gets in the season, the less time those tomatoes will have to ripen. Determinate tomato varieties, which grow to a certain height and produce most of their fruit at one time, are about at the point where they won’t have any more tomatoes and can be pulled up without guilt.

What to plant next

Although we might not be ready to think about winter, your garden thinks it’s time to start planting cool weather crops. Because of our relatively mild winters, there are many crops that we can grow in the winter — far more varieties than we grow in the summer, actually.

The largest plants we grow in the winter — cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower — need time to get established before the cold sets in and the hours of daylight are reduced.

You’ll find seedlings for all these plants in your favorite nursery and garden shops now or, Miller says, you can start plants from seed in pots and trays

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The Weekly Eater: Hawaii garden connection spells victory for local restaurants

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Japan Kitchen Battle Ends With Rare Hostile Bid Victory

(Bloomberg) — In a hostile takeover bid that centered on the role of kitchens at a Japanese eatery, Colowide Co. has shown it can stand the heat.

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Colowide confirmed Tuesday that it had succeeded in its unsolicited offer to take control of Ootoya Holdings, a well-known operator of restaurants that serves cheap, traditional Japanese food. Colowide, which runs multiple restaurant chains, wants to integrate Ootoya into its network of central kitchens — hubs that can serve multiple restaurants at once — a step Ootoya management and a group of employees rejected, saying it would be detrimental to its business.

Colowide’s stake in Ootoya will rise to about 47%, it said in a statement that confirmed an earlier report by the Nikkei. While below its target of a 51% stake, it should still give Colowide enough control of the company to install its own slate of directors at a shareholders meeting, having failed in a bid to do so earlier this year. It had been uncertain if Colowide would attract sufficient support from individual investors, many of whom hold Ootoya long-term in order to claim “yutai” shareholder gifts, including free meals and rice.

Read More: Too Many Cooks? Proxy Fight Over Kitchens Boils Over in Japan

Once considered unacceptable in Japan, hostile takeover bids involving listed companies have become increasing common in the past few years, as shareholders increase pressure on management to improve performance. Earlier this year, Maeda Corp. completed a hostile takeover of road paving company Maeda Road Construction Co., a company with which it had ties going back more than 50 years. Trading house Itochu Corp. last year succeeded in its bid for Descente Ltd., swiftly replacing its management.

Descente shares are down almost 30% since the completion of that deal, despite Itochu — one of the five Japanese companies in which Warren Buffett recently took a stake — sending in its own directors. A similar fate may await Colowide and Ootoya, with the bid meeting with little approval from analysts given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry.

That Colowide “is willing to pay such a large premium to purchase an unwilling asset whose strategy clearly conflicts with their own and where their own strategy has a demonstrable track record of failure is a big red flag,” Mio Kato, an analyst at LightStream Research who publishes on Smartkarma, wrote in note Aug. 26.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Retooled Kelley farm becomes pandemic victory garden

As a flock of geese honked overhead, ReNee Hanson and other historic interpreters gratefully swapped out the petticoats and heavy dresses of their 19th-century costumes for pants and shirts to pick eggplants and cucumbers and unearth enormous carrots on a recent breezy fall-like morning.

The past and urgent needs of the present have collided rather usefully this summer at the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, a National Historic Landmark and part of the Minnesota Historical Society. Most years, about 40,000 visitors troop through the farm, getting a glimpse of agriculture in the 1860s. But when COVID-19 hit, the Historical Society closed its 26 sites, then retooled the Kelley Farm’s vegetable plots into a working pandemic victory garden.

Since June, the farm has harvested nearly 7,000 pounds of food, all donated to a local food shelf to feed a growing number of Minnesotans struggling to afford groceries.

Pre-pandemic, the Kelley Farm cultivated root vegetables typically harvested in the 1800s, such as parsnips. Much of the food was then fed to cows and other farm animals. Last year, site leaders discussed donating the food to a nonprofit instead. Once the pandemic hit, the crew replaced the historic crops with vegetables more appealing to modern diners — from tomatoes, lettuce and kale to beans and zucchini.

Six miles away, Heather Kliewer expected the Kelley Farm to drop off a small shipment, not 1,000 pounds a week in produce. Her food shelf, Community Aid of Elk River (CAER), sets it all out in a farmers market for families to pick up along with a box of nonperishable items.

“They have had a bumper crop,” Kliewer said.

The farm’s 2-acre gardens provide more than half of the fresh produce the food shelf distributes each week to 150 families, many turning to a food shelf for the first time.

“We’re just so grateful that we have the opportunity to give families fresh stuff, not just [from the] grocery store with the stickers on, it’s this fresh farm-grown really good stuff,” she said. “That’s what families want.”

More than 150 years ago, the farm was the home of Oliver Hudson Kelley, the founder of the Grange, the first national farming organization. The site has been part of the Minnesota Historical Society since 1961.

For the dozen employees at the farm, the gardens are a way to give back and also pivot their work after closing to visitors in March. Anders Mayland, the site manager, said he hopes the partnership with the food shelf will continue, even post-pandemic.

“At many points in history, people have come together to support one another in times of hardship,” he said. “We’re just doing the best we can to do something that’s helpful for our local community.”

The farm has reopened to the public as a historic site on a few Saturdays instead of the usual five days a week. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19, Oct. 10 and Oct. 24. It’s among seven

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