Tag Archive: gardening

The Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection

Throughout the year, we produce as much food for our family table as possible here at 1840 Farm.  We span the calendar year from spring’s maple syrup to summer’s garden produce to fall and winter’s fresh eggs from the coop and milk from our dairy goat herd.  Each season and crop has a purpose.

Each year, the beans, corn, and squash grown in our garden will be featured on our Thanksgiving table.  These three crops can be grown in a variety of ways in the garden, but I like to use an interplanting technique that may be as old as Thanksgiving itself.   Planting a Three Sisters Garden will provide delicious produce for our November celebration and allow us to participate in an American history lesson right outside our farmhouse door.

The Three Sisters Garden may very well be the first instance of the companion planting technique that gardeners still use today.  There is a wonderful old legend about the Three Sisters Garden that involves a Native American woman who had three daughters who struggled to peacefully coexist.

The legend tells the tale of her brilliant method for showing her daughters the value of diversity and peaceful coexistence.  She planted the three crops of corn, beans, and squash together to show her daughters that together, they could support each other yet retain their own individuality.  As members of the group, they were stronger than they could possibly be as individuals.

While some historians disagree regarding the historical accuracy of the story, the legend of the and its gardening technique have endured through the centuries.   In fact, artwork of a woman tending a Three Sisters Garden appears on the reverse side of the Sacajawea US Dollar coin that was released in 2009.  Now you can help to preserve the legend with The 1840 Farm Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Collection.

Last year, we offered a collection of three heirloom varieties used by the Wampanoag Tribe to our customers in our Three Sisters Garden Collection.  This year, our The Sisters Garden Collection features four historic heirloom varieties.  We have paired the original three heirlooms with a sunflower that was named for the Hidatsa Tribes that also famously planted corn, maize, and squash as companions in their gardens.  The 2014 Three Sisters Garden Collection includes four historic heirloom varieties:

Hidatsa Sunflower
Long Island Cheese Squash
Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn
Sunset Runner Bean

To plant a Three Sisters Garden, prepare a mound of garden soil approximately 48 inches wide.  Amending the soil with compost will help to improve the productivity of each of the crops during the growing season.  After the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound, making a circle about 24 inches in diameter.   Plant four to six seeds in each inch deep hole.   Space the corn plantings about 8 inches apart along the perimeter of the circle.

Once the corn has grown to between 4-6 inches tall, plant the bean seeds.  Evenly space the beans around the base of each corn stalk.  Seven to ten days after planting the beans, plant the squash seeds.  Plant 2-3 squash seeds in each of three or four holes inside the circle of corn and beans.

Planting corn, bean, and squash together is a sustainable method of companion planting, allowing each plant to help contribute to the success of the other varieties.  The towering corn stalks serve as a trellis for the climbing beans, allowing them to be grown without the need for a supplemental support system.  As the beans grow, they help to enrich the soil.  Their roots produce nitrogen which feeds the corn and squash plants throughout the growing season.

In the Three Sisters Garden, the large leaves of the squash plant shelter the soil, suppressing weed growth and discouraging pests from damaging the trio of crops.  The prickly vines of the squash plant deter pests from the garden and help to protect the developing crops.  The flowery blooms of the bean and squash plants help to attract pollinators to the garden, increasing the productivity of the entire garden.

The sunflowers can be planted along with the other three varieties in the Three Sisters Garden.  Their bright blooms will help to attract pollinators to your garden. When spent, the large flower heads can be harvested for their delicious seeds or shared with your flock as a nutritious treat.

I look forward to showcasing produce directly from the garden at 1840 Farm on this year’s Thanksgiving table.  Beans, corn, and squash will join spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fresh herbs in our favorite holiday dishes.  Enjoying this homegrown produce on our family table will make our holiday celebration even more memorable.

The Three Sisters Garden Collection is available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

This year, 1840 Farm offers five heirloom seed collections for purchase. The 1840 Farm Favorites Garden includes six of our favorite varieties to plant in the gardens here at 1840 Farm. The Easy Keepers Garden includes four varieties that are perfect for the beginning gardener and can be sown directly into a small garden plot or containers. The Pollinators Garden features six flowering plants that will help to attract beneficial pollinators to your garden. Our Three Sisters Garden includes four packets of seed that allow you to enjoy delicious produce and an American history lesson as you put into practice one of the oldest forms of companion planting.   The Tomato Lover’s Garden features six of our favorite heirloom tomato varieties.

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/the-three-sisters-garden-heirloom-seed-collection-2/

Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean

The Sunset Runner Bean is beloved for its ability to bring beauty and a nutritious crop to your garden plot.  The beautiful salmon pink colored blooms are unique to the sunset variety of runner bean.  The vines can grow to be six feet tall and make a wonderful climbing vine for arbors and trellises.  Continually harvesting the pods will encourage the plant to keep producing until the first freeze.

While there are many varieties of runner beans, the sunset is unique in many ways.  First, the seeds are a beautiful, dark black color. The climbing vines bear their beautiful pink blossoms early and continue to produce edible pods and beans during the growing season.   While some beans have only one purpose in the kitchen, the Sunset Runner Bean is delicious when used as a fresh snap bean, canned or frozen for later use, or as a dried bean.

The Sunset Heirloom Runner Bean is one of the most beautiful plants that we grow in the garden at 1840 Farm.  Its hardy vine and beautiful flowers are a constant throughout the summer.  We love to walk through the paths in between the raised beds and snap fresh pods straight off the vine.  Most of them are eaten right in the garden and never make it back to the farmhouse.  Those that do are blanched briefly before being sautéed lightly in butter.  Either way, they’re a delicious, healthy treat straight from the garden.

The Sunset Runner Heirloom Bean is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/sunset-runner-heirloom-bean/

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn

Biting into a perfectly ripe ear of sweet corn is a summer rite of passage.  There’s just something about the sweet, juicy flavor of sweet corn that instantly transports me back to my childhood.  When I watch my children enjoying an ear of corn grown in our garden, I know that they are building a memory that will stay with them for years to come.

Stowell’s Evergreen is an heirloom variety that dates back to the mid 1800s.  Nathaniel Stowell lovingly crafted this sweet corn by crossing Menomony Soft Corn and Northern Sugar Corn.  The resulting corn combined the best traits from both.

In 1855, Nathaniel agreed to sell two ears of seed corn to a friend with the understanding that they would only be used in his family garden.  They settled on a price of $4.00.  Unfortunately for Mr. Stowell, his friend promptly sold those two ears to an established seed company for an incredible $20,000!  In 1856, Thoburn and Company Seed offered Stowell’s seed for sale to their customers.

More than 150 years have passed since Nathaniel watched as his beloved sweet corn’s future slipped between his fingers.  Somehow, I feel like I’m helping to right a wrong when I plant these heirloom seeds in our family garden.  I can only imagine that Mr. Stowell hoped that generations of family farmers and gardeners would lovingly grow his corn for their family.  I hope that you will join me in growing Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn for your family’ table.

Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/stowells-evergreen-heirloom-sweet-corn-2/

Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash

There are few images more synonymous with autumn than that of a ribbed, round pumpkin.  Each fall, the Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash grown in our garden move inside the house.  They decorate the farmhouse during the season and through our Thanksgiving holiday.  Once fall turns to winter and Thanksgiving yields to Christmas, those beautiful squash are stored for serving at our family table.

Throughout the fall and winter, we use each squash in our favorite hearty dishes.  We clean each squash, cubing the flesh before freezing it for use in a variety of dishes throughout the long New England winter.  The seeds become a healthy treat for the heritage breed hens that live here at 1840 Farm.  They eagerly greet us at the door of their run when squash seeds are on the menu.

I love pumpkins of every size, shape, and color.  The Long Island Cheese is perhaps my favorite.  Its appearance is unique, with a slightly flattened shape and heavy ribbing.  Its skin is smooth with tan undertones.  The name originates from its strong resemblance to a wheel of cheese.

The Long Island Cheese Squash is very well suited for use in pies and pureed dishes.  The flavor is slightly sweet with a balanced earthiness.  When fully cooked, its texture is smooth and velvety.  It is equally delicious is savory and sweet preparations.

The Long Island Cheese stores very well.  It’s not uncommon to find whole squash in the farmhouse at 1840 Farm long after we have celebrated the arrival of the New Year.  As soon as we have finished the last cube of squash, we begin dreaming of planting the next crop of Long Island Cheese in the gardens at 1840 Farm.

The Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash is one of the four varieties included in our Three Sisters Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/long-island-cheese-heirloom-squash-2/

Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomato

2006 was the first summer we lived at 1840 Farm.  That year, we planted a small garden with a handful of heirloom tomato varieties.  We were new to heirloom gardening and selected the varieties for that year’s garden in a very non-scientific manner.  We simply chose heirlooms with names that drew us to them.  A tomato named “Isis Candy Cherry” sounded beautiful and sweet, a combination that we couldn’t wait to watch ripen in our tiny garden.

We were thrilled when an Isis Candy Cherry was the very first tomato to ripen.  It was indeed beautiful and sweet.  Sliced in half, my children eagerly ate that first tomato while still warm from the sunshine.  We have been growing Isis Candy Cherry now for eight seasons and it is predictably the very first tomato that is ripe enough to harvest from our heirloom garden.

While its early ripening habit make this variety popular here at 1840 Farm, we would continue to plant it regardless.  The flavor of this tomato is the real reason it keeps finding its way into our tomato patch every year.  Knowing that it ripens in less than 70 days is merely icing on the proverbial cake.

These beautiful orbs are packed with sweet, jammy tomato flavor.  They ripen to a beautiful red-orange with lighter golden shoulders and a trademark starburst pattern on the blossom end of the fruit. This is the perfect tomato for the person in your life who doesn’t think that they like tomatoes.  One bite of this lovely heirloom should be all it takes to convince them that they love this tomato!

The Isis Candy Cherry Heirloom Tomato is one of the six varieties included in our Tomato Lover’s Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.  The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily.  Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together.  The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

1840 Farm

We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/isis-candy-cherry-heirloom-tomato/

2014 Heirloom Seed Collection from 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily

1840 Farm

Last year, we launched our first 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collections in order to share our favorite heirloom varieties with our readers.  This year, we are excited to be partnering with our friends at Fresh Eggs Daily to bring you an expanded selection of Heirloom Seed Collections.  Each collection has been carefully curated to pair varieties that are well suited for growing together in your gardens and ours.  All of the seeds in our collections are heirloom, non-GMO, and sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, a family owned seed purveyor.

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Lisa and I first became friends during the summer of 2012.  What started as a casual conversation about chicken keeping and writing quickly evolved into an ongoing dialog about so much more.  Within days, we were trading messages about using old fashioned techniques to care for our animals, tips for tending to our gardens, and the warm childhood memories of our grandparents doing the same.  Two years have passed and our conversation is still going strong.

This winter, we discovered that we were each working independently on curating heirloom seed collections for the upcoming growing season.  Within minutes, we decided that working together on the collection would allow us to offer a better variety of seeds to our customers and give us another reason to chat all summer long.

We’re hoping that you will join us in growing a few of our favorite heirlooms in your gardens.  Together, we can learn more about the history of these varieties and share our favorite preparations for our families and the animals in our care.  Whether you grow a collection of herbs to boost the health of your hens or tend a tomato patch to brighten the fresh meals served at your family table, we hope that you will enjoy joining in our friendly conversation this summer and beyond.

In the coming weeks, you will learn more about each individual variety in this year’s collection.   We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter.  In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour.  More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.

While we’re all waiting for spring weather to finally arrive and the growing season to begin, 1840 Farm, Fresh Eggs Daily, and Sasquatch Books have a fantastic giveaway to share with you.  One lucky winner will win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter!

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2014/03/2014-heirloom-seed-collection-from-1840-farm-and-fresh-eggs-daily/

Heirloom Tomato Profile: Blondkopfchen Cherry

The Blondkopfchen Heirloom Cherry Tomato originated in Germany.  In German, the word “blondkopfchen” translates to “little blonde girl”.  My daughter was a little blond girl when we first began growing this tomato here at 1840 Farm.  In fact, she was the reason that I first ordered these heirloom seeds and planted them in our heirloom tomato garden.

The incredible taste and production of this heirloom was the reason we kept planting them each year.  Every year, our Blondkopfchen plants are the most prolific in the garden.  A single branch holds dozens of tiny orbs waiting to ripen in the sun.  I am always amazed at just how many tomatoes these plants can produce.

I’m also taken by the unique color of these ripe tomatoes.  They are golden yellow with a tinge of lime green undertones when they are fully ripe.  They are beautiful when used in fresh tomato dishes or sauces, bringing a lovely contrast to the other red colored tomatoes in the dish.

The Blondkopfchen tomato has a sweet, earthy flavor with a touch of citrus.  It’s a perfectly balanced blend of sweet and brightness.  It is a disease resistant variety that consistently produces tomatoes without cracked skins.  It also tolerates our cooler nights here in New England, making it perfectly suited to growing in our garden.  One taste of this fantastic variety and you’ll understand why it is a favorite here at 1840 Farm.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/08/heirloom-tomato-profile-blondkopfchen-cherry/

Growing Our Own Thanksgiving Celebration

It’s early June, but I’m already dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner.  I can almost picture the homegrown feast that will grace our family table.  The herbs for our favorite sage and artichoke heart dressing are already growing in the garden.  Sweet potato slips have been planted, seed potatoes are taking root, and heirloom corn, squash and beans will be sprouting in the coming days.

Now you can join in and learn more about the gardens here at 1840 Farm, the heirloom varieties we love, and the Thanksgiving feast that will follow.  I’ll be sharing updates and harvest notes throughout the growing season and hoping that you’ll share the news and notes from your backyard and garden here and with The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook.

Long before Thanksgiving dinner arrives, we’ll be enjoying berries, tomatoes, and a host of other heirlooms fresh from the garden.  I’ll be sharing our favorite recipes so that you can enjoy them on your family table.

You can learn more about our Thanksgiving garden and the history of the holiday itself by reading my How to Grow Your Own Thanksgiving Series on The Daily Meal.  The slideshow contains beautiful photographs from our friends at Iron Oak Farm and detailed planting and harvest information for herbs, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and pumpkins.

Now it’s time for me to get out in the garden and plant our Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn.  It’s the first step in our Three Sisters Garden and I can’t wait to watch as it grows in our gardens.  Our heirloom three sisters garden will provide Stowell’s Evergreen Heirloom Sweet Corn, Sunset Heirloom Runner Beans, and Long Island Cheese Heirloom Squash for our Thanksgiving menu.  I can almost taste it already!

Are you growing crops in your garden specifically for your Thanksgiving table?  I’d love to learn more about the varieties and recipes that you enjoy at your annual celebration.

From The Farm Blog Hop
 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/06/growing-our-own-thanksgiving-celebration/

Cast Your Vote for The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection

Tennis Ball Lettuce at 1840 FarmOver the last few weeks, I have immersed myself in seed catalogs and gardening history books.  While it has taken some time, I have finally narrowed down my wish list of varieties to include in The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection for 2013.

All of the seeds offered in our collection will be non-GMO, heirloom varieties.  The collection will be offered for sale in our Etsy shop in the next few weeks.  Each seed packet will be paired with a brief history of the variety and my family’s favorite recipe for enjoying our garden harvest at our family table.

Throughout the course of the growing season, there will be opportunities for you to share photos and news from your garden with the other members of The 1840 Farm Online Community and a few surprises in store.  I can’t wait to share all of the information with you in the coming weeks!

So, cast your vote for each variety that you would be interested in growing for your family.  Vote for all of them if you want every single one to make the cut.  If you have a variety that you would like me to add to the list, leave me a comment.  I can’t wait to see your responses!

The 1840 Farm Heirloom Seed Collection - 2013
Vote for all of the varieties you would like to see included in our 2013 collection.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2013/03/cast-your-vote-for-the-1840-farm-heirloom-seed-collection/

Heirloom Tomato Profile: German Johnson

The German Johnson Heirloom Tomato is a potato leaf variety of tomato plant with an indeterminate growing habit.  It produces large, round, Beefsteak shaped fruit with bright red skin.  The ripe fruit commonly show bright yellow striping along its shoulders.

The German Johnson’s flesh is pink and meaty with a delicious, old-fashioned tomato flavor.  Fully ripened fruits may weigh in excess of one pound each.  It is not uncommon to harvest tomatoes that tip the scale at 24 ounces or more. In fact, the big, beautiful 23 ounce specimen in the photo above was harvested in our vegetable garden this morning.

The German Johnson is one of the parent species of the Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato.  For me, that is reason enough to include it in the heirloom tomato garden at 1840 Farm.  One bite and I think you’ll agree that the German Johnson is a delicious slicing tomato that transforms the ordinary sandwich into an extraordinary meal.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/09/heirloom-tomato-profile-german-johnson/

Heirloom Tomato Profile: Purple Calabash

Purple Calabash Heirloom Tomatoes have been in the 1840 Farm vegetable gardens since our first summer living here in 2006.  Every year, we look forward to that first slice of Purple Calabash still warm from the sunshine.  If I had to choose just one tomato to grow, this variety would be in the running.

The Purple Calabash has a rich flavor and striking appearance.  The ripened fruits are slightly flattened and beautifully ruffled with a burgundy to deep purple color.  The vines are prolific producers of medium fruits around 3″ wide.

The taste of the Purple Calabash is often compared to red wines such as Cabernet.  The taste is rich and full of old-fashioned tomato flavor with just the right blend of sweetness and acidity.  The flesh is smooth and meaty with evenly distributed seeds.  We love to enjoy this tomato on freshly grilled panini with mozzarella and basil.  The flavor of the Purple Calabash really sings when it is used in a slowly simmered tomato sauce.

One bite of a perfectly ripe Purple Calabash Heirloom Tomato and you would understand why we love this variety so much.  Every year, I expect to find a new variety that I will enjoy just as much. It’s been seven years and I still haven’t found a tomato that can compete in terms of appearance, yield, or more importantly, taste.  Next year, there will again be Purple Calabash tomato seedlings growing in the heirloom garden at 1840 Farm.


To make sure that you don’t miss any of our original content or favorite recipes, DIY projects, and homesteading advice from around the web, subscribe to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter. Visit our subscription form to become the newest member of The 1840 Farm Community.

Our newsletter isn’t the only way to follow what’s happening here at 1840 Farm.
You’re always welcome at 1840 Farm
and at The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy.
You can also find 1840 Farm throughout the social media universe on
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, and Bloglovin‘.

We even created a new 1840 Farm Community Newsletter Pinterest board to catalog
our newsletter content so that you could easily pin your favorites to your own boards.

Come add your voice to our conversation!
We’ll hope to see you there!


Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/09/heirloom-tomato-profile-purple-calabash/

1840 Farm Seed Exchange

This week, the day finally arrived and the 1840 Farm Seed Exchange began.  In the next days and weeks, over 80 participants will be exchanging seeds with each other.  Seed packets will literally be traveling from Okinawa, Japan and Caribou, Maine.  I never imagined that a gardener who lives over 10,000 miles from 1840 Farm would be eager to participate in the seed exchange, but I was thrilled to have them join in!  By visiting the Google Map for the 1840 Farm Seed Exchange, you can see where the participants call home.

I was inspired to start the seed exchange after reading Andrea Wulf’s book Founding Gardeners.  As I read, I learned how important this seemingly simple act was to the men who were the Founding Fathers of our country.  Men the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison took part and wanted to be remembered not as statesmen, but as farmers.  These men believed strongly that our country’s agrarian strength should be our most treasured asset.  I am willing to bet that there were just as many women and children who felt the same way.

They all took great pride in their gardens and shared seeds from their posts in Europe and eventually, The White House.  By several accounts, President Thomas Jefferson chose to push aside state matters in order to personally write to each citizen who had requested gardening advice or the exchange of a few seeds.  While it might not have been a strong political strategy, it certainly illustrates his belief that “The greatest service which can be rendered to one’s country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”

The Founding Fathers weren’t solely responsible for my decision to propose the seed exchange.  I was motivated by the thought of my great grandparents tending to their own farm and garden fifty years ago.  While half a century has passed, I find myself tending our garden at 1840 Farm a mere 100 miles from where their farm was nestled in the mountains of New Hampshire.  I was also inspired by my children who I hope will continue to cultivate not only their gardens, but the pride that comes from holding their food supply firmly in their own arms with fresh garden soil under their fingernails.

Gardeners of every skill level are participating in this exchange.  There are Master Gardeners with years of botanical knowledge as well as participants who are gardening for the first time.  No matter the level of expertise, we are all hoping to experience the wonder of tending a small seed as it grows into the plant that nature had intended.  There is something incredible about planting a small, seemingly lifeless seed and then watching it reach for the sunlight and grow stronger every day.

Thanks again to everyone who took part in the 1840 Farm Seed Exchange.  The participants are helping to keep a long-held gardening tradition alive.  For centuries, gardeners have been exchanging seeds with each other with the hope that their gardens would be made more diverse, more successful, and more communal.   I hope that they will all enjoy exchanging their seeds and receiving seeds from another gardener in the exchange.  I know that I will.

Congratulations to Connie from Boise, Idaho.  She was randomly selected as the winner of the 1840 Farm Seed Collection.  She will receive seeds to grow Bloomsdale Spinach, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Cherry Belle Radishes, Chioggia Beets, Genovese Basil, Kentucky Wonder Beans, Purple Beauty Bell Peppers, and Sugar Baby Watermelon.

Permanent link to this article: http://1840farm.com/2012/03/1840-farm-seed-exchange-2/

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