Garden Gate: Third president knew his microclimates - Kodiak Daily Mirror: Marion Owen

Garden Gate: Third president knew his microclimates

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2017 9:00 am

Better late than never. Last Monday was President’s Day. Friday came, and something got me thinking about Thomas Jefferson’s gardens at Monticello. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t just a gardener extraordinaire, he honestly liked to eat vegetables, which, he said, “constitute my principal diet.” His role in linking garden and kitchen into a truly international cuisine was a pioneering concept in the history of American food. 

A melting pot of immigrant vegetables grew in his Monticello garden, an Ellis Island, if you will, of hardy plants: 330 varieties of 89 species of vegetables and herbs and 170 varieties of the finest fruit varieties known at the time. With a keen understanding of microclimates, Jefferson laid out the terraced beds along a south-facing slope. Thus, Jefferson’s garden supported the likes of tropical lovers such as sweet potatoes, peanuts and lima beans in the same garden as cauliflower, endive, celery and other cool-weather crops.

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