Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Garden Entry from Diary of Annapolis Craftsman William Faris 1724-1804


To read about William Faris and his garden go here.

To see notes on this entry and nearly everything you ever wanted to know about William Faris and Annapolis, Maryland, in the late 18th-century, See The Diary of William Faris: The Daily Life of an Annapolis Silversmith. edited by Mark Letzer and Jean B. Russo. Published by the Maryland Historical Society in 2003.

March 17, 1792
a fine day. dugg up one half the Lott

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Summer Savory

Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)

This annual Mediterranean herb has been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal uses since 1562. In 1820 Jefferson requested a supply of various pot-herbs from his neighbor George Divers, including Summer Savory, for his Monticello vegetable garden.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase

Monday, July 15, 2019

1764 Celery - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Celery, Apium, quod apos eo gaudeant, or from Apex, because the ancients made crowns of it, is one of the species of Parsley. At first I was surprised to find this, but upon examining the two plants, there is, in many particulars, a characteristic likeness.

Celery is the Apium dulce, the seed of which should be sown in a successive manner to have it fine for any time; for after it is blanched it will not remain good longer than three weeks, or a month. but will rot or grow pithy. Let the first sowing then be in March, the second about a fortnight after, i. e. the last of March, the third in the beginning of April, and the fourth about the beginning of May.

In about three weeks or a month, the seed will come up, and if your plants grow stout, as probably they will in good land, you must transplant them into beds, and in June those of the first sowing will be fit to be put out for blanching, and the rest should also be put out as they appear strong enough to sustain a removal.

When they are transplanted for fruit, dig a trench by a line about ten inches wide and eight or nine deep, loosening the earth at the bottom, and levelling it; and the earth taken out of the trenches should be laid on the sides, for the convenience of earthing. These trenches should be about three feet asunder, and the plants should stand six inches distant from one another, in a straight row, cutting off the tops of the plants, when planted out. As the plants grow up, they should be carefully earthed up in a dry season, else they will rot, not above the crown or heart of the plant, and in a light rich soil, they will grow to twenty inches in height, but in poor land they will not exceed, ten.

Your first plantation should be in a moist soil, but not the latter, because the additional wet of the winter will rot your plants. The sun is a great enemy to Celery, when it is very hot, wherefore F would recommend the covering of your plants with brash, at all seasons of their growth, whilst the weather is hot, from nine in the morning until six o'clock in the evening. When you desire to raise seed, draw one or more of your flourishing plants, and plant it out in the spring,, let it be supported against the winds; aiid in August the seed will be ripe, which should be then tut up, dried, beat out, and preserved in bags.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Zatta di Massa Melon

Zatta di Massa Melon (Cucumis melo cv.)

Zatta di Massa Melon is an ancient melon depicted in 17th-century still life paintings. This aromatic melon has strongly ribbed skin and extremely sweet, orange flesh. In 1774 Jefferson planted 18 hills of “Zatte di Massa Canteloupe melons” at Monticello. The Zatta di Massa is known in Italy as Brutto ma Buono, which means “ugly but sweet.”

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

1794 On the healthy aspects of vegetables & on irrigation

This print is from the 1790s.  Earlier in the 18C "Most New Englanders had a simple diet, their soil and climates allowing limited varieties of fruits and vegetables. In 1728 the Boston News Letter estimates the food needs of a middle-class 'genteel' family. Breakfast was bread an milk. Dinner consisted of pudding, followed by bread, meat, roots, pickles, vinegar, salt and cheese. Supper was the same as breakfast. Each famly also needed raisins, currants, suet, flour, eggs, cranberries, apples, and, where there were children, food for 'intermeal eatings.' Small beer was the beverage, and molasses for brewing and flavoring was needed. Butter, spices, sugar, and sweetmeats were luxuries, as were coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcoholic beverages other than beer."  A History of Food and Drink in America, Richard J. Hooker [Bobbs-Merrill Company:Indianapolis 1981(p. 67)

And from The Pennsylvania Gazette,  July 30, 1794, copied from The FARMER'S and IMPROVER'S FRIEND.

On eating vegetables...
Gardens do not appear to have sufficiently attracted the attention of either the wealthy or the poor farmer. Plenty and variety of good vegetables have the most favourable effect upon the health of a family, and particularly of the children and women. The doctor's bill is greatly encreased, by inattention to the garden , and often valuable lives are lost by feeding in times of sickness in the hot weather, upon meat, cheese and butter, because there are no early potatoes, carrots, early turnips, cabbages, beans, peas, beets, &c. In every garden raspberries, currants, peaches and pears should be planted. They grow as freely as weeds in this climate, especially the two first, and if used only when ripe, they are preventatives of some disorders, and more certain cures for others, than any medicine.

On irrigation...
The French and Italians place their gardens so as to command a pond of water near them. On the bank of the pond they place an upright post, with a pole across the top, twining on a piece of wood or iron. At one end of the pole is fixed a little pail or bucket, so as to be easily dipped into the pond filled often; the other end of the pole serves as a long handle, by means of which the bucket or pail is dipped into the pond and filled, then raised (by pressing down the handle end of the pole) till the bucket is brought over a cask, into which it is emptied. Water is sometimes raised in like manner by a wheel turned by hand. It is then carried, by little rough troughs, all over the garden , so as to produce a great abundance of vegetables, and especially of those kinds, which usually fail, for want of rain, in dry season.

This is another pleasing instance of the good effects of the Irrigation or watering, so earnestly recommended in the first number of these papers. It is proper to recommend attention to the position of such ponds in relation to dwelling-houses. They should, if near or large, be on one of those sides from which the summer winds do not blow, and they should be kept running, and indeed should be occasionally emptied in the summer months. Here to, it may well to recommend to the farmer and miller, of every denomination, not to place his buildings nearer than is necessary to any mill-pond, common pond, wet ditch or drain, creek, or other stream; and so to place his dwelling, that any such water may lie on the northerly and easterly side of his house, and by no means to have even a running stream, much less a standing water or pond, or a marsh, on the side from which the summer winds can bring the dampness and pernicious vapours, which the sun always raises from such places. Farmers, whose houses, unfortunately are already built on the northerly or easterly side of bogs or marshes, would do well to drain such places, and if they are covered with wood, it will be proper to make the principal ditches or drains one reason before the wood shall be cut off, that, when the sun is let in upon the ground, it may be found, as far as possible, in a dry condition, incapable of producing vapour.