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Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th-Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners Hardcover – February 14, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Wesley Greene is the garden historian at Colonial Williamsburg, the 301-acre historic area that includes famed gardens and hundreds of historically furnished buildings. More than 100 million visitors have toured Colonial Williamsburg since 1932.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609611624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609611620
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This exciting and inclusive guide to gardening in Williamsburg Virginia, colonial style was a delight to read and quite fascinating. I was intrigued to learn the origins and perceived qualities of common garden vegetables. I am an avid vegetable gardener and found many of the tips useful and quite stunning in their simplicity. For instance, they suggest using a regular terra cotta pot to blanch endive, and I liked the idea of using a brick leaned against the edge of a raised bed to attract snails/slugs. The authors also go into some detail about the origin of each plant, and sometimes include interesting factoids, such as the fact that lettuce was once considered an aphrodisiac!

I enjoyed the photography of this book as well. The people pictured wear authentic Colonial garb and look quite charming (although a bit warm), in their clothing. Pictures such as the picture of the chard growing in a field with a worker in the background are well done.
What's included?

The authors cover common garden vegetables found in Williamsburg Gardens and instructions on how to plant them. There is some discussion of Williamsburg history, and pest prevention techniques. Pictures illustrate some of the gardening techniques. Photos are plentiful. Histories and origins of plants are discussed, as well as different methods of preparing crops the Williamsburg way.

Who will like this?

Vegetable gardeners everywhere will enjoy this book. Even non-fans of gardening will enjoy the history of vegetables, the fantastic photographs and the wonderful pictures of Virginia. This would make an excellent gift for gardener or those interested in Colonial Virginia.
Recommended? Yes

Review Copy, courtesy of Netgalley.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book surpassed my expectations. I ordered it mainly as a pleasant reminder of the beautiful gardens at Williamsburg, and also to learn more about heirloom tomatoes and organic gardening. It certainly satisfies those objectives, but it is also a fascinating account of what the early American settlers grew, what their attitudes were toward vegetables and fruits, and how the methods they used can still be applied today. The color photos are wonderful, and the text is historically accurate, full of quotes from eighteenth-century books on gardening, and a delight to read. This is a book you won't want to put down once you start reading it. It's simply superb.

The book is divided into 8 chapters, each of which deals with types of vegetables (including a few fruits): beans and peas, cabbage, salad greens, root crops, onions, cucumbers and melons, squash, pumpkins, and gourds, tomatoes and peppers. Then 3 more chapters discuss "luxuries and oddities" (such as artichokes), gardening under cover, and growing sticks. In each chapter there is a summary at the end that gives "essentials," such as planting directions, spacing, how to harvest seed, how to store it, and seed viability. Heirloom varieties are named whenever they exist.

There are many ideas in this book that gardeners today can put into practice. One that I liked a lot is a "tomato table," which is built from sticks and keeps the tomatoes off the ground and within easy reach for picking. It's ingenious, and certainly better than using poles or cages. There are also remedies for common pests, such as "lime water" to control aphids.

This is a book that will bring joy to gardeners, history buffs, and anyone interested in food. My next visit to Williamsburg will be even more fun, now that I know something about how the experts plant and tend the lovely gardens there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Received the book in great shape, in good time. Excellent reference for growing heirloom vegetables with heirloom methods, complete with photos and step-by-step instructions from 18th-century (and earlier) gardeners.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Greene, and the talented photographer who took the many color photos in the book, have done a terrific job. The book has a wealth of information about the various crops covered, how they were grown in the 18th Century, what varieties were used, which of today's varieties are closest to the olden ones, and detailed tips for growing them

Gardeners in the 18th Century were a sophisticated lot, using cold frames, hot beds, and row covers to protect their plants. Many of their techniques would be beneficial if used today.

The writing is a pleasure to read; the photos are lovely; I cannot praise this book enough. I just finished reading the book and I'll promptly re-read it! That's how much I enjoyed it.

Pat Meadows - a gardener in Maine
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book for its photos and detailed history of the plants in question. It is well-written and a wealth of information to anyone interested in plant history (origins of various vegetables, salad greens and herbs)and how they were raised in early American (Colonial Williamsburg, VA) gardens. Even though I was disappointed that it did not cover the fruits (like apples, pears, figs and pomegranates) grown at Colonial Williamsburg I would still highly recommend it. They also detail the various heirloom vegetables under each category that are planted at that historic site. I read this book before I went to Colonial Williamsburg and felt that it increased my knowledge of my garden tour.
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