Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th-Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners


Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way


From the nation?s foremost historical preservation site comes a guide to traditional?and

still relevant?methods and advice for planting and tending a productive vegetable garden

In a colonial-style garden, the broccoli is purple and ?turkey? cucumbers grow to three feet long; oiled


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Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th-Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners

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Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way


From the nation’s foremost historical preservation site comes a guide to traditional—and

still relevant—methods and advice for planting and tending a productive vegetable garden

In a colonial-style garden, the broccoli is purple and “turkey” cucumbers grow to three feet long; oiled

paper predates plastic for sheltering spring plants; and fermenting manure warms the seedlings. Finding

inspiration and value in 18th-century plants, tools, and techniques, the gardeners at Colonial Williamsburg have discovered that these traditional vegetable-growing methods are perfectly at home in today’s modern organic gardens. After all, in the 18th century, organic gardening was the only type of gardening and local produce the only produce available.


Author Wesley Greene founded the Colonial Garden in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area in 1996. He and his colleagues have painstakingly researched the ways the colonists planted and tended their vegetable and herb beds, most of which are more relevant than ever. Along with historical commentary and complete growing instructions for 50 delicious vegetables, including colonial varieties still available today, gardeners and folklorists will find weather-watching guidelines, planting techniques, and seedsaving advice for legumes, brassicas, alliums, root crops, nightshades, melons, squash, greens, and other curious and tender produce.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In eighteenth century Williamsburg, colonists didn't have to learn organic gardening; it was the only method they knew. In fact, as this book persuasively demonstrates, our forefathers had mastered traditional vegetable-growing techniques that seem strikingly modern and relevant to today's eco-friendly planters. It benefits from the hard-learned expertise of author Wesley Greene, who in 1996 founded Colonial Williamsburg's Colonial Garden. To achieve true authenticity, he and his staff researched the ways that the settlers planted and tended their vegetable and herb beds. Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way contains historical commentary and complete instructions for growing 50 vegetables. As valuable as it is fascinating.

Michelle Marozik

From the Publisher
"Lovers of historical gardens will... appreciate VEGETABLE GARDENING THE COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG WAY: 18th-Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners, by the estimable Wesley Greene...[and] today’s organic gardeners will discover much to admire in Barbara Temple Lombardi’s photographs."
Library Journal
Greene, who has spent 30 years researching historic plants, shares vegetable-gardening techniques used in colonial times that are still applicable today. Arranged in broad categories, such as salad greens or root crops, the individual entries cover the history of the vegetable, how it arrived in the New World, cultural information, and vegetables varieties grown in colonial Virginia, along with similar heirloom varieties currently available. Greene quotes gardeners of the time and adds his own thoughts for each vegetable. He also provides tips for gardeners living in other areas of the United States. Each entry ends with a summary of cultural and seed-saving information. Greene also addresses gardening with hotbeds and using growing sticks to support vegetables like peas. Beautiful color photographs illustrate the vegetables and gardening techniques. VERDICT A lovely book for vegetable gardeners with some experience who are interested in the history of vegetables and vegetable gardening in colonial times. Beginning general vegetable gardeners should start with a guide such as Edward C. Smith's The Vegetable Gardener's Bible.—Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609611620
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 376,573
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Wesley Greene is the garden historian at Colonial Williamsburg, the 301-acre historic area that includes famed gardens and hundreds of historically furnished buildings. More than 100 million visitors have toured Colonial Williamsburg since 1932.

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