LA CROSSE, WIS — According to residents of the Washburn neighborhood, a local victory garden is severely missing the point.
Victory Gardens – or “War Gardens” as they were first known – popped up in the US during World War I as a way to aid the food supply which had been disrupted by the conflict. This happened again during the second world war, providing nearly one third of all fruit and vegetables in the US.
2020’s COVID-19 pandemic is again encouraging some to plant victory gardens and aid a potentially ailing food supply, with several already popping up in the La Crosse area to try and help locally.
“It’s wonderful to see the community stepping up,” Gundersen Nutritionist Laney Gastropub said, “but… I mean, what is anyone supposed to do with all of those peppers? I don’t see how that helps.”
The garden, planted by 23 year Washburn resident Gerald Crapton, is a 30 by 40 foot space near a public park cultivated with only ghost chili peppers. These are considered one of the hottest things a person can consume and widely regarded as more of a novelty than a useful food item.
According to Crapton, ghost peppers weren’t originally his first choice.
“At first, I wanted to do an all durian or all jackfruit garden,” Crapton said. “Then I thought about doing all okra, but that all seemed too basic. I wanted our garden to have some kick!”
After dismissing more traditional garden fare as boring, Crapton explained that he was most excited for the potential the garden would have on Wednesday wing nights.
“I hope the poultry supply sticks around,” Crapton added excitedly, “because I’m going to have some killer dippin’ sauce!”
Reporter Sam Shilts Contributed to this article.