Them That’s Doin’: Reviving the Victory Garden

Check out what MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors and readers have been enjoying lately, from apps and classes to tools and techniques.

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by Jessica Mitchell

Welcome to Them That’s Doin’, a department featuring homesteaders discussing what they’ve been up to. We want to know what’s caught your eye, and how you’ve been spending your time. Have you spotted an unfamiliar specimen, or learned a new survival skill? Expanded your garden, or implemented a new ritual? Tell us at

Reviving the Victory Garden

I’m part of Ogden Publications’ Garden Group, a crew of employees gaining firsthand gardening experience. Our vegetable garden is making a comeback, with an emphasis on food grown for a food bank that services our region. We also cut back on okra and cucumbers, so this year’s yield is more diverse. We paid a little more attention to companion planting to help fend off squash bugs and other destructive critters that were a headache last year.

During uncertain times, it may seem like everything is spiraling out of control and there’s nothing we can do to rein it in. A great way to find a bit of solace in the chaos is to turn to a garden. In the spirit of the Victory Gardens of World War I and World War II, we’re focusing on the things we can control. We may have to work 6 feet apart, but not even a pandemic will stop these seeds from being sown. –Tyler Woodcock, online editorial assistant

Suburban Learning

I’ve been temporarily stuck in semi-suburbia, but that hasn’t stopped me from learning all about herbal medicine, including growing my own herbs in containers on my front and back decks, and making my own teas, tinctures, syrups, and the like. The photo below is of some of my creations, packaged in upcycled glass jars. I’m also making my own toothpaste (the jam jar in the photo) and doing self-study courses in aromatherapy and permaculture. I tried my first-ever ferment this summer, garlic honey, and next is sauerkraut. You can always live more sustainably and healthfully, no matter where life puts you. –Jenny Miller, reader

LifeSaver Liberty

While exploring our pasture growing up, I’d satisfy my thirst by slurping from the spring-fed creek running through it. But now, when spending an extended period of time outdoors, I can’t always find safe water to drink. While hiking recently, I tried out the LifeSaver Liberty water purifier bottle. The carabiner clip on top of the lid makes it easy to carry, and when I came to a small pond, all I had to do was remove the base, dip the bottle into the pond, replace the base, and pump the handle three times. After these simple steps, I quenched my thirst without any misgivings. I also tried out the pump feature, which includes a hose and a flow valve. The pump allows you to quickly extract any amount of water and either drink it from the bottle or fill another container with filtered water. –Ryan Crowell, editor

What Have You Been Doin’?

Tell us what you’ve been up to at, and include “Them That’s Doin'” in the subject line. You may end up in the magazine!