Having the best Victory Garden in town became an unofficial competition for civilians living in the home front, Fenton Martin describes how he and his family were able to claim victory in Victory Gardens through the tomatoes they managed to grow, using a special trick.

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Tomatoes Grown from Coal Dust

There were changes.  Our car ran out I think, and we had our car the last couple years of the war.  We had Victory Gardens, which everyone had in their own little backyard.  I can still remember one little thing from that time period.  We had a garage in the backyard, and this was a city house, not a big lot like around here for example, but we had a garage for one car in the backyard and an alley came up to it.  It had fallen down before we rented the house, well bought the house actually.  They had stored coal in it instead of an automobile. We had a garage in the backyard, and this was a city house – not a big lot, like around here. But there had been a garage for one car in the backyard, and an alley came up to it. It had fallen down before we had bought the house, and they [the previous owners] had stored coal in it, I think, instead of an automobile. The ground was black with coal dust. But it was the only place that we could build a victory garden. My father put in tomato plants, and still to this day I can’t believe it, but we had the biggest, juiciest tomatoes of anybody within miles around. I don’t know why [that happened]; I’ve never had anybody able to explain it.