Thomas Jefferson’s Gardening Compared to Today
Thomas Jefferson one of our founding fathers was very interested in gardening and learning about the soil and land conditions. It has been written that he has grown over 300 varieties of vegetables and herbs and even over a hundred different kinds of fruits.
“America's third president Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was a skilled architect, scientist, landscape designer, farmer and life-long gardener. As a young man, Jefferson inherited his family's 2,000 hectare plantation on Monticello Mountain near Charlottesville, Virginia where he designed the neo-classical house and flower gardens and planted grain fields, fruit orchards and vineyards. (Skirble)”
“Jefferson's Monticello garden was a Revolutionary American garden. One wonders if anyone else had ever before assembled such a collection of vegetable novelties, culled from virtually every western culture known at the time, then disseminated by Jefferson with the persistence of a religious reformer, a seedy evangelist. Here grew the earth's melting pot of immigrant vegetables: an Ellis Island of introductions, the whole world of hardy economic plants: 330 varieties of eighty-nine species of vegetables and herbs, 170 varieties of the finest fruit varieties known at the time. The Jefferson legacy supporting small farmers, vegetable cuisine, and sustainable agriculture is poignantly topical today. (Hatch)”
“Aside from its diverse population of mostly introduced crops, the Monticello garden was American in its size and scope, experimental character, and expansive visual sweep. 600,000 cubic feet of Piedmont red clay was moved with a cart and mule to create the "hanging garden," and the terrace was supported by a rock wall as tall as fifteen feet and also running 1,000 feet. Below is the six-acre fruit garden that contained 170 varieties of the most celebrated varieties known at the time. As it stretches to the western horizon, seemingly limitlessly against the background of Montalto, Jefferson's "high mountain" to the southwest, or as one looks across the garden terrace to the forty miles of rolling Piedmont, the "sea view," one is struck by the garden's uniquely continental panorama. (Hatch)”
“Centuries ago, Jefferson's slaves dug a 300 meter long cut into the red clay hillside for a terraced vegetable garden, which is where Peter Hatch makes his daily rounds today. Hatch is the director of gardens and grounds at Monticello and says the garden is laid out as Jefferson had planned it, in 24 squares - or beds - of herbs and vegetables. Jefferson exchanged seeds from people in the U.S states and in foreign countries, where he traveled as secretary of state before he was president. Hatch says many of those seeds blossomed in Jefferson's Virginia home garden. "He wrote that the greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture." According to Hatch, the...