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Heirloom Gardening

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

Coggeshall's teaching garden presents an opportunity for families, classrooms, and visitors to learn about historic and modern gardening methods and heirloom plant varieties. 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.

In addition to using various modern gardening methods, 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.

Heirloom Seeds Available

At Coggeshall, we also continue the historic practice of cultivating plants and saving their seed to be used the following year. While many of them are heirloom varieites, some varieties that are seed-saved and planted over several years have likely experienced changes in their genetics due to open pollination in our garden. We sell a limited supply of heirloom and "Coggeshall variety" seeds collected from our garden. E-mail McKayla to find out what's available. 



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


  • 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


  • 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)