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Coggeshall Farm Museum

Heirloom Gardening

Connie and Saro in GardenCoggeshall Farm Museum has over 60 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs in its heirloom kitchen garden.

Through our daily work in the garden, which includes growing, harvesting and seed saving, we are helping to preserve edible plants which might otherwise cease to be part of our ecosystem.

Our goal is to plant varieties common in the 1790s or earlier. In some cases, where the plant is extinct or simply not available, we find a similar variety that has the same attributes, or we select the next oldest variety.

We seek advice from period literature in planning and cultivating the garden. Our sources include American Gardener’s Calendar (Bernard M’Mahon, 1806), Treatise on Gardening  (Virginia writer, 1793), The New England Farmer (Samuel Dean, 1797) and others.

The garden is planted according to a four-square plan. We work our garden by hand using period tools. The garden is fenced to keep livestock out, and we plant varieties near the edges of wall that don't  need to be rotated. The plants in the central quadrants are rotated seasonally.

Heirloom Seeds Available

We sell a limited supply of heirloom seeds collected from our garden. Email Eleanor Langham to find out what's available.

Varieties

1600s

  • Early Scarlet Hoorn Carrot (1610)
  • Early Mohawk Bean
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  •  Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash

1700s

  • Windsor Fava Beans
  • Tennis Ball Lettuce
  • Brown Dutch Lettuce
  • Bath Cos Lettuce
  • Deer Tongue Lettuce
  • Prussian Blue Peas
  • Long Red Radish
  • Haldenstein Spinach
  • Cylindra Beets
  • Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet
  • Cranberry Bush Beans
  • True Red Cranberry Pole Beans
  • White Dutch Runner Beans
  • Jacob’s Cattle Bush Beans
  • Chanterais Melon
  • White Portugal Onion
  • Jaune de Paille Vertus Onion
  • Green Hubbard Squash

1800s

  • Wethersfield Red Onion
  • Canada Crookneck Squash
  • Wren’s Egg Pole Bean
  • Hollow Crown Parsnip
  • Purple Top Milan Turnip
  • Late Flat Dutch Cabbage
  • Prince Albert Peas
  • Champion of England Peas
  • Coer De Boeuf Cabbage
  • Belgian White Carrots
  • Jaune de Doubs Carrot
  • Long Anglais Cucumbers
  • Purple Top White Globe Turnip
  • Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage (1889, but looks like older extinct varieties)