Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

William Bradford’s Garden Verse

March 21st, 2012 by KM Wall

” All sorts of roots and herbs in gardens grow,
Parsnips, carrots, turnips, or what you’ll sow,

Onions, melons, cucumbers, radishes,
Skirrets, beets, coleworts, and fair cabbages.”

- 1654. Bradford, William. Verses.
- Massachusetts Historical Society. p. 61.


The sort of roots that are available on the first day of Spring…..

turnips, March

March Turnips

Turnips planted in September will grow throughout the winter. The usual freeze/thaw pattern of winter can heave them out of the ground. The warm weather we’ve had this winter has them already sprouting leaves, about a month ahead of typical. At this point they’re better for leaving, and waiting for the stalks and flowers and then seeds to plant more turnips.

Also going into the second year for seeds……

Leeks in March

Leeks can be planted in August and September to winter through. Again, a few need to be left in the ground to for seed.

onions in March

Baby onions – this is what happens when your onions go to seed and you don’t gather them all. These clumps are where onion seed heads fell. Now they can be divided out to fill a new bed with onions to harvest in mid-August.

garlic in March

Garlic – also planted to winter through. This garlic was planted the Monday after Thanksgiving. It is an heirloom variety that was donated from the Maine garden of a former pilgrim gardener. It also need to be ‘set out’, that is spread out so that the bulbs have room  to really grow.  Garlic  is a footsoldier in the 17th century housewife’s kitchen to keep her hardworking family in good health. This patch really does look like little green soldiers at attention!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “William Bradford’s Garden Verse”

  1. Vitamin B says:

    Good Morning, I just stopped by to visit your website and thought I’d say thank you.

Leave a Reply

© 2003-2011 Plimoth Plantation. All rights reserved.

Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization, supported by admissions, grants, members, volunteers, and generous contributors.