May 1945 was special in the war although this is not reflected in the allotment & garden growing guide. The war in Europe was over, Germany finally surrendered to the Allies on May 8th 1945. No longer did the public have to worry about air raids and V weapons like the V1 and the unstoppable V2 ballistic missile.
However, the war in the far east with Japan continued. Although nobody in Britain doubted we would win out in the end, the road to that end was an awfully hard road to go down. The Americans bore the brunt in the Pacific war but British troops were in action on land as well.
Supplies from abroad were no longer precarious, subject to submarine and air attack in the Atlantic and coastal waters.
Shipping may have become easier but the priority was still military supplies or strategic raw materials to build munitions for the Eastern war. The biggest constraint though was financial, Britain had spent every penny it had and borrowed huge amounts for the war. We could not afford luxuries, in fact we could barely scrape the credit to buy necessities.
As if this wasn’t enough, because we had forced an unconditional surrender from the Germans, we were legally and morally obliged to take care of Germany. Germany was in a worse condition than Britain with it’s entire infrastructure destroyed.
The Dig for Victory campaign was set to continue, whatever it was called, for years yet. Rationing would continue for another nine years until 1954.
Format of the Dig for Victory Guide
The original May 1945 Dig for Victory wartime growing leaflet consisted of 8 pages which I have followed by reproducing the content onto separate pages.
Where an article runs onto two pages these have sometimes been combined into one page for readability or the trailing content moved onto the relevant page.
Where I feel it helpful, I’ve annotated the information. To make annotations obvious, they are coloured green.
The May 1945 Wartime Growing Guide covered these main points:
- A discussion of the unpredictable weather that May can bring. General tasks for May and the importance of not delaying thinning seedlings.
- How to earth up potatoes, mulching peas and beans to retain water and sowing in the seedbed
- Planting Brussels sprouts and sowing for successional crops
- Growing runner beans in detail, marrows and celery
- An introduction to outdoor tomato growing, timing and judging plants
- Outdoor tomatoes, planting sites and preparation of the soil prior to planting out.
- A reminder about the compost heap and some pest control advice
- A discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of a good bird population.