A Statement of Purpose

Since 2012 I have been responsible for
the garden at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield. The Pry House garden began as a 19th century style medicinal and kitchen garden, including medicinal plants, herbs, and vegetables. As close as possible, these plants mirrored those available to the Pry Family in the 1860s, meaning heirloom varieties. Since then, the garden has transformed to focus exclusively on medicinal plants, becoming an exhibit of the flora that was employed by military and civilian caregivers in the Civil War Era.

I am strictly an amateur, with no real experience in growing a garden. The purpose of this blog is to document my experiences as I learn by doing. It is anything but authoritative and I welcome any comments and advice for a greenhorn. Please be kind!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Late Winter Seeds

Spring is on our doorsteps, and accordingly, I have begun sowing some of the first seeds in the garden. With snow falling on the ground yesterday afternoon, it might seem as though I am a bit early, but it's recommended that some early spring crops be sown a few weeks before the last frost. For example, the University of Maryland Extension Office recommends beginning to plant spinach as early as March 10, and leaf lettuce on March 15.

Before putting seeds in the ground though, the soil had to be turned over. I think that nothing works better than a plain old shovel.

I had some help from Kady, a Museum Studies student at nearby Shepherd University. Kady was visiting us last week to fulfill her museum practicum requirement. Helping in the garden was one of the many hands-on experiences we tried to show her during her visit.

I have put in six varieties of heirloom leaf lettuce. I have stayed away from head lettuce, both because I am not as much of a fan and because it was difficult to find an appropriate variety to the 1860s. The now ubiquitous and tasteless iceberg lettuce just wasn't around. As they take shape, I might talk more about the varieties I did select.

This is the first year for spinach in the garden. I am a big fan of the nutritious green leaf, so I hope that come spring we will have a bountiful harvest for salads and cooking. 

Inside, some of the first seedlings are emerging and looking healthy! This picture is already a few days old, but you can see some fenugreek sprouting. I hope that will have a few more seedlings to show you next week!

1 comment:

  1. You're right about that Kyle this is a good time to plant lettuce and spinach, in fact I've known some old timers that always planted peas and potatoes on St. Patricks Day.