Kelli Delaney

Silver Lining Playbook: How I Planted A "Corona Victory Garden" at Home in the Hamptons

My little lettuce garden gives big rewards just off my kitchen steps…

Have you heard about the neat new horticultural trend called Corona Victory Gardens?  “Victory Gardens” were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States during World War II. Governments encouraged people to plant victory gardens not only to supplement their rations but also to boost morale in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown.

During this time when we all want to stay safe and healthy at home….why not get your hands dirty and plant your own Victory Garden?  I’ve been planting container lettuce & herb gardens at our Hamptons home for the past few years and have found they are quite easy to maintain. No more trips to the store before cooking dinner because I ran out of Basil, I have my own personal salad bar just outside my kitchen doors! Below, I’m breaking down my Victory Garden with tips on what works best for planting, light, containers, and my menu. I’ve also included some great pro tips for you from

Where I buy herbs & lettuce in the Hamptons:

1. Halsey Farm Stand: 513 Deerfield Road, Water Mill
2. Fowler’s Garden Center: 175 North Sea Road, Southampton
3. East Hampton Gardens: 16 Gingerbread Lane, East Hampton
My herb pot includes: Lemon Verbena, Chive, Basil, and Sage

You can grow fresh lettuce and herbs, even in compact spaces. Just choose the right plants to maximize productivity. Container Victory Gardens provide ideal growing conditions when space is limited. Growing a small vegetable garden is like living in a small house: It’s not as easy as it looks. One of the keys to success is making good plant choices. Choose compact, productive plants that take up less space yet still provide plenty to harvest.

Lucky me, I live within walking distance of wonderful Halsey Farm in Water Mill where I buy all of my baby plants.

Here’s What I Plant in my Victory Garden at Maple Shade:


Every gardener plants sweet basil, and for good reason. The tiny aromatic leaves awaken the senses, adding bright flavor to pesto, salad dressings and more. There are more than 80 varieties of basil, including a few “miniature” types that are perfect for small-scale gardens. I pretty much use Basil in at least one meal a day.

Mesclun Mixes

The word mesclun means miscellaneous greens, attributed to wild weeds once foraged by peasants in Europe to supplement their limited diets. Halsey Farm grows a Mild Mesclun Mix which I love for spring salads.


Lettuce comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the key to a great-looking container garden is to mix it up. Plant different types of lettuce, starting with Little Gem, a mini romaine that forms a sweet, dense heart. Add some Merlot, a striking red butterhead, and Lolla Rossa, a loose-leaf type with frilly leaves.

How to Choose Soil or Potting Mix for Your Planters

Do not fill your containers with soil from your garden or bagged topsoil. You should fill the containers with a “soilless” potting mix that will retain moisture and resist compaction.

I like to pot lettuce or herbs in a charming planter as a great gift. After your friend eats it they will still have a cute vessel to plant something new.

Watering Your Container Vegetable Garden

Vegetables require a consistent supply of water to perform their best. Inconsistent moisture causes lots of problems, poor root development, leaf curling, insect problems, and rot.  I use a simple watering can as I don’t have many pots to care for, but the other way to ensure your plants always have a consistent supply of water is to use a self-watering planter.

This is a vintage porcelain fruit bowl which has holes in the bottom for washing berries. I’m using it for my chives.

Where to Place Your Planters

Most vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight per day. Salad greens and herbs can usually get by with less. I keep my containers just off my kitchen so I have easy access while preparing dinner to just pop out and snip, snip, snip! Plants will be happiest in a protected location where the wind doesn’t batter and dry out their foliage. Arrange your pots so larger plants shield smaller plants. Clustering potted plants also helps to raise humidity levels, keeping plants more productive.

All of my vintage urns and planters are finds from James Maguire Antiques located at 94 West Montauk Highway. My blue and white porcelain collection are also finds from local antique dealers, estate sales, and The Enchanted Home.

Plant your own Victory Garden today!

* For more gardening tips be sure to follow me on instagram @KDHamptons. I post lots of tips in my stories almost daily. Also, visit which literally offers every tool and bit of advice you need to be a great home gardener.