Strategies for Successful Vegetable Gardens Offered at OSV's Garden Workshop

Strategies for Successful Vegetable Gardens Offered at Upcoming Garden Workshop at Old Sturbridge Village

Gardening tips, techniques and strategies for success will be featured at an upcoming Garden Workshop at Old Sturbridge Village on March 22.  The workshop, designed for the beginning-to-intermediate home gardener, offers tips for starting a first vegetable garden or improving the quality of an existing backyard vegetable garden.  The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, at Old Sturbridge Village and features a range of lectures, breakout panels, and a Local Harvest Lunch at the Village’s Oliver Wight Tavern.  The price to attend the workshop is $45 for Members and $55 for non-members.  Registration and full event details are available at

The workshop will include a keynote from author Jennifer Benner entitled “Non-Stop Garden.”  Benner is co-author of the book, The Nonstop Garden, a step-by-step guide to creating year-round interest in gardens through smart plant choices.  Her keynote address will highlight design strategies, plant choices from key plant groups (trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, edible, bulbs, and vines) and explore other ornamental elements that help gardeners achieve year-round appeal.   

Additional workshop programming will include information on starting, growing and maintaining successful gardens.  To start the growing season off right, Christie Higginbottom will present tips for success with common vegetables, including germination requirements for favorite heirloom vegetables, and will explain how to “Think Like a Plant” to ensure gardening success at harvest time.

Breakout sessions offered at the workshop will cover a diverse range of topics for better gardens.  Paul Rogers of Stone Hedge Gardens in Charlton will speak about the benefits of incorporating native New England plants into the garden landscape in a presentation called “A Conversation about Gardening with Native Plants.”   Mark and Tammy Doherty of Inishowen Farms in North Brookfield will discuss selecting pollinator-friendly plants for gardens during a breakout session on “Attracting Bees and Hummingbirds to Your Garden.”  Sal Gilbertie, of Gilbertie’s Herb Garden in Westport, CT, will discuss strategies to maximize harvests with a low-impact, all organic, and sustainable produce garden for gardeners with plots of all sizes during “Small Plot, High Yield Gardening.” 

Full details of the Garden Workshop and registration are available at

Old Sturbridge Village is one of the largest living history museums in the nation, celebrating life in early New England from 1790 to 1840. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but days and hours vary seasonally. The Village offers lodging at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges and several dining options on-site.  For more details, visit or call 800-SEE-1830.


Vegetable Gardening in the 19th Century

Did you know?

·         While many vegetable varieties available today are descendants of those grown in the nineteenth century, many of the original ancestors to modern vegetables are becoming increasingly difficult to find commercially.  Old Sturbridge Village sells the seeds for many varieties popular in the nineteenth century, such as Boston Marrow Squash, Green Nutmeg Melons, and Mangel Wurzel Beets, through its gift shop.

·          It is possible for vegetables to go extinct!  Old Sturbridge Village used many different sources to re-create their period gardens, including Fearing Burr’s 1865 The Field and Garden Vegetables of America, which describes nearly eleven-hundred different vegetable varieties available during the nineteenth century, very few of which are commercially available today. 

·         Nineteenth-century gardeners and cooks were quite ambivalent about the most commonly grown vegetable in today’s backyard gardens.  Nineteenth-century cookbooks feature both sweet and savory “receipts” (or recipes) for tomatoes, including Tomato Figs (candied tomatoes) and a sweet “Tomatoes Pie,” made the same way as a pumpkin pie, in addition to “Tomato Catsup,” the ancestor to America’s favorite condiment.

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