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Dig for Victory at Trengwainton
Dig for Victory was established during the dark days of World War 2
Dig for Victory was established during the dark days of World War 2

Trengwainton Gardens are to mark the 70th anniversary of the wartime 'Dig for Victory' campaign by creating an authentic Dig for Victory allotment on land near where the gardens are based.

An event to launch the project will take place on Saturday 11 September.

The National Trust are keen to meet anyone who has first-hand experience of the original campaign to come along on the day.

This will also coincide with free entry to the garden for Heritage Open Day.

To replicate the original campaign as closely as possible our allotment will contain only original war-time species of fruit and vegetables - mostly regarded now as 'heirloom' varieties
Project manager Paul Bonnington

The Dig for Victory campaign was started in September 1940 when the government realised that much of the nation's food could be grown at home, thus freeing up Britain's beleaguered merchant ships for the importation of much-needed war materials.

Everyone at home in England was asked to grow as much food as possible for the nation.

The campaign was launched by one of the first gardening media celebrities, Mr Middleton, on his radio show.

He encouraged people to take on an allotment and grow vegetables, such as leeks and sprouts, instead of only growing short-lived summer crops.

Potatoes were also encouraged because of their long-term storage potential.

The campaign resulted in a flood of information leaflets, newspaper columns and radio broadcasts aimed at people who had no prior experience of gardening.

Everyone at home in England was asked to grow as much food as possible
Everyone at home was asked to grow as much food as possible

Before long practically every available inch of Britain was transformed into a productive allotment, bristling with seasonal varieties of fruit and vegetables, many of which have inexplicably become ignored by today's gardeners, despite their good flavour and in-built resilience to disease and pests.

Project manager Paul Bonnington says, "To replicate the original campaign as closely as possible our allotment will contain only original war-time species of fruit and vegetables - mostly regarded now as 'heirloom' varieties.

"We'll also use only wartime Dig for Victory advice leaflets and contemporary gardening books and methods for guidance.

"The project has great potential for education and will also demonstrate, in this time of rising prices and global warming, it's still possible to feed ourselves without relying on food which has travelled thousands of miles."

Essential information

National Trust staff are keen to meet anyone who has first-hand experience of the original Dig for Victory campaign and members of local Old Cornwall Societies and similar organisations.

So come along on the day for a chat - and a cup of tea and slice of cake made to an authentic war-time recipe!

You might also fancy setting up your own allotment in the space around the Dig for Victory garden? If so, they'd love to meet you.

Trengwainton garden will be open on Saturday 11 September from 10.30am-5pm, with a guided tour of the Dig for Victory plot on the hour, every hour (last tour 4pm).




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