A Statement of Purpose




In 2012 I inherited responsibility for
the garden at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield. The Pry House garden is a 19th century style medicinal and kitchen garden, meaning that every plant serves a practical, rather than aesthetic purpose, including medicinal plants, herbs, and vegetables for the kitchen table. As close as possible, these plants mirror those available to the Pry Family in the 1860s, meaning heirloom varieties. 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 complete greenhorn. Please be kind!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Clearing, Planting, and Sprouting!

This Saturday, May 11th, we will be having a garden work day from 11AM to 2PM! Come out to the Pry House and help us as we put in many brand new plants, especially different medicinal plants that were used by the Confederate Medical Department during the Civil War! You can make your own green thumbprint on the Pry House Medicinal and Kitchen Garden! Please dress appropriately and bring gloves, and any shovels if you have them.

Several people have already been working very hard in the garden lately, and it really shows! I have to thank David Price, Tom Frezza, Karen Dammann, and everyone else who helped to transform the and clean up the garden while I was out of the state this week! I can't thank them enough!

As this picture from my last post shows, the garden was very overgrown! It was just too much to handle with hands and shovels alone, so we moved ahead into the 20th century for some mechanical assistance!


Thanks to a gas-powered tiller, the garden is looking a million times better! Karen Dammann, the wife of Gordon Dammann, the Chairman of our Board of Directors, spent many hours weeding between the beds and pulling out piles of weeds! I cannot thank her enough for all that hard work!


There is only so much that a machine can do though. I had to spend some time pulling out all of the weeds from the bottom of the new trellises. Still, it was only a fraction of the daunting task that I thought was facing me!


 With the rubbish all cleared, now I can actually make use of the space and begin to plant! I am planting three kinds of beans on the new trellis.

Sowing pole beans in the soil




Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. These are your average "garden variety" green beans. They are real climbers and produce plentiful  crops of large tasty green beans. They are still a popular variety today,  and while the name has often changed, the Kentucky Wonder  variety has changed little since the mid-1800s.
















Painted Lady Runner Beans. Runner Beans are very similar to other common garden beans, but one of the big differences is that they grow in cooler weather. I should have planted these earlier, but I have been too behind in building a trellis and clearing the garden space. Painted Lady beans have been grown since the late 16th century or even earlier!












Clay Cowpeas. These are basically a kind of black-eyed pea. They look just like your common variety, but are quite small. These were once a very common food staple, especially among poorer peoples in the South, including slaves and Confederate soldiers.
Beans aren't the only vegetable in the garden; a number of green plants are starting to fill out the vegetable beds!
Spinach


Three Varieties of Beets

Mustard Greens

Six Varieties of Leaf Lettuce

Things are looking great in the garden now, but this is only the beginning! This is still so much to be added and completed!

This Saturday, May 11th, we will be having a garden work day from 11AM to 2PM! Come out to the Pry House and help us as we put in many brand new plants, especially different medicinal plants that were used by the Confederate Medical Department during the Civil War! You can make your own green thumbprint on the Pry House Medicinal and Kitchen Garden! Please dress appropriately and bring gloves, and any shovels if you have them.

1 comment:

  1. Clay Cowpeas. These are basically a kind of black-eyed pea. They look just like your common variety evergreen shrubs

    ReplyDelete