World War I in Lawrence: Residents hone their green thumbs for the war effort

With the approach of the warmer months, patriotic Lawrence residents were showing an interest in “war gardening.” Professor Charles A. Shull, of the department of botany at the University of Kansas, spoke in Lawrence this month on “scientific intensive gardening,” by which “every citizen of Lawrence, who has a back yard plot 20 by 25 feet, can produce sufficient garden vegetables for the entire summer.”

Shull stated that it was a national necessity for every citizen to grow a garden in the back yard. According to a Journal-World article in February, “the big problem is to make every foot of ground available produce as much food as possible. To do this every gardener should plant his seeds so he can get from two to three crops of different vegetables every year.” The article described plans for companion cropping and succession cropping: “In companion cropping the idea is to plant two or more crops in which one of the crops matures before the others need the nutrition of the soil. Radishes will grow in companion with parsnips, radishes with beans, head lettuce with cabbage, sweet corn with summer squashes…. Succession cropping consists of planting one crop that will mature before the next crop is sown. Radishes, onions, mustard and lettuce can be sown in the early spring. Then tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and the like can then be planted after the first crop is harvested. In certain cases three crops can be secured from the same plot of ground…. In connection with the home gardening campaign which is being instituted by the Chamber of Commerce, President W. C. Simons announced that the Journal-World would publish the planting times of the various vegetables as they arrived. He also said there was a possibility of a municipal market at which all surplus garden vegetables could be sold.”