I have always admired the stories about Victory Gardens in WW2 era... To me its very inspirational for my own, smallish-space....
I admit I really don't know facts about how they became popular, just that it was considered your "patriotic duty" to plant a garden to be more self-sufficient in times of great sacrifice.. like no pantyhose and stuff like that.
We have had mixed success with our gardens... one year it's great, the next not so much. A couple of things we've learned:
Organic matter , ie. cow manure, stinks reaaallly bad but makes for a the best soil additive. The year we used it we had much better tomatoes. Compaost is good too, stinky=good.
Green hornworms will show up on your tomatoes no matter what. Look for them, or enlist the kids to help. Pick them off as you see them, or use bacillicillous, a spray on organic pesticide that kills their larva.
Leave plenty of room between plants...they grow fast, and plus they need AIR bewteen them to grow strong.
Water the same time each day...early morning oir late afternoon. A slow drip is best to form big strong roots.
Plant ONE zucchini plant for one family. Two for ten familes! Seriously, once these guys get producing there's no turning back. The good news is you get the plus of zucchini flowers ! They are great stuffed and fried.
If you like squash, white pattypan is great if you can find it.
Make it a Great Day!