Or did you
plant a garden at all? If
you did, a quick run-around with the
rototiller was probably all you needed
prepare the soil for seeding. Then buy
some bedding plants and it's done.
whether on the farm or
in town, everyone planted a vegetable
garden. It was the source of much of the
family's food. The farm garden was, of
course, much bigger – a couple of town
lots. A team of horses was "borrowed"
from field work to plow the
garden, then harrow it before the
vegetable planting could begin.
smaller garden in town was pure bullwork
– work it up with a shovel, rake it to
achieve a fairly smooth surface, then
the seeding by hand starts. And the
unwritten rule was that the garden had
to be planted during the Victoria Day
weekend in May.
Potatoes were a staple
food; there should
be enough left over from last year for
planting. If not, a sack of potatoes
would yield many times that quantity of
potatoes in fall. Other root vegetables
(carrots, turnips, beets, etc.) would be
stored along with potatoes in a root
cellar. This might have been a dug-out
beneath one of the rooms of the house
accessed through a lift-up trap door. Or
it could have been a separate building
or just a dug-out in a nearby hill.
could be saved from year to
year but the good old Eaton's catalogue
was a reliable source. Several
varieties of each vegetable were
available, at 10¢ for a small package.
Cabbages and cauliflowers were direct
seeded, rather than purchasing bedding
plants as we do today.
equipment was pretty basic.
Once the soil was tilled and smoothed,
all you really needed was a hoe. One
hand-made hoe in the museum came from
Charlotte Potter. The handle is a tree
67½ inches long and the hoe itself is a
half-moon shape, 12½ inches across and
5½ inches deep. This hoe was definitely
meant to be used by a 6-foot able-bodied
back then was not therapy,
nor was the goal to look better than the
neighbours. A good garden meant food
on the table. And that meant hard work!
potato planter donated by Brian
Standeven with Charlotte
Potter's home-made hoe