Tuesday, May 10, 2011

18th Century Kitchen Garden

I went hiking with the family at Washington Crossing State Park this weekend and found the cutest little treasure: an 18th century living kitchen garden. Here's the official blurb about it and some pictures I took:
Johnson Ferry House This early 18th-century gambrel roof farmhouse and tavern near the Delaware River was owned by Garret Johnson, who operated a 490-acre colonial plantation and a ferry service across the river in the 1700s. The house was likely used briefly by General Washington and other officers at the time of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware. The keeping room, bedchamber and textile room are furnished with local period pieces, probably similar to the furniture used by the Johnson family from 1740 to 1770. The site also includes an 18th-century kitchen garden.

I was impressed the garden looked so good this early in the season. I recognized almost all of the plants, and have grown most of them too. I saw cabbages, lettuces, onions, strawberries, various herbs, asparagus, fennel, and more. The assistant gardener came out and spoke to us for a bit. I commented how much bigger their lettuces were than mine, and she said they did grow some things from seed, but also used starts - so I didn't feel too bad my garden isn't as nice. lol

There were two beds full of lots of little plants that I didn't recognize. You can see one in the very back of the last picture I posted above - it looks like a light green rectangle. She explained that was flax, and how they used it to spin linen. She told us how it was a lengthy process with many steps, which sounded pretty fascinating. The other bed I didn't recognize was alfalfa that she said they were just using as a cover crop. I would have liked to talk to her more, but we had to get on our way since we had the baby and dog in tow.

There were lots of interesting things to do at this park. We spent two half days there hiking and exploring. I can't wait to go back when K. is a little older so he can appreciate the historical and natural events they have for kids, plus the open air theater.

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