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string(138) "INSERT INTO #__redirection (oldurl, newurl, Itemid) VALUES ('lawyer_directory.html', 'index.php?option=com_content&id=26&task=view', '34')" The Pennsylvania German FOURSQUARE GARDEN | Magazine Antiques | Find ... - Legal Mojo

The Pennsylvania-German FOURSQUARE GARDEN | Magazine Antiques | Find ...

Benjamin Franklin did not particularly like the Pennsylvania Germans, but along with many of his compatriots, he admired the rich produce of their farms and gardens, and, indeed, the Pennsylvania Germans' reputation for gardening excellence continued well into the nineteenth century. In 1832 one English horticultural journal noted that in the United States, "It is chiefly among the Dutch and German settlers that vegetables are cultivated; and the overplus beyond their family wants is occasionally offered for sale." [1]

When most outsiders hear the phrases "Pennsylvania German" or "Pennsylvania Dutch," they automatically conjure images of picturesquely garbed Amish and Old Order Mennonites. But the vast majority of German immigrants were Lutherans and members of the German Reformed Church (now the United Church of Christ) who came here, not because of religious persecution, but because they were economically devastated, their lands having been decimated by wars that raged for decades. [2]

The oldest surviving garden plans that relate to the evolution of the Pennsylvania-German kitchen garden are the medicinal gardens of the Benedictine cloisters of Saint Gall in Switzerland and Reichenau in Germany. Plans dating from the 800s for their berbularis, or herb gardens, called for "creating a quadrant Innenbof [courtyard] or atriolum [small atrium] and dividing it into garden beds." [3] In turn, this plan was copied and adopted in cloisters and monasteries throughout Europe. By the Middle Ages, the enclosed kitchen garden laid out in quadrants with raised beds and pathways between them was widely promoted as the most efficient way of providing the vegetable needs for a household. By the Renaissance, city views show that this type of garden was widely used in urban settings as well. It was this tried-and-true garden form that immigrants from what now constitutes modem Germany and Switzerland brought with them to Pennsylvania.

To this day, many Pennsylvania Germans retain a closeness to the soil that goes beyond mere occupation. It has religious overtones. "Perhaps it has something to do with their unique history, perhaps it has something to do with their sense of clan and place." [4] In addition to a passion for gardening, the Pennsylvania Germans maintain a strong desire to preserve ancestral seeds, perhaps summed up in the saying "Gude Sume, Gude Gaarde" ("Good seeds, good garden"). [5] An extraordinary number of American heirloom seed varieties bear the prefix German or Amish.

In sharp distinction to the general American concept of vegetable gardening as a male pursuit, the Pennsylvania-German kitchen garden was always considered to be primarily the woman's province. The men in the family were expected to build the garden, spread manure on the beds in fall, and turn over the soil for spring planting, but the women and children planted, weeded, watered, and picked. The most common Pennsylvania-German garden contained four symmetrical raised garden beds, although six, eight, or other even numbers of beds were not unknown. The beds were divided by narrow paths of packed earth, and the gardeners' regular attention to the beds was all that was required to keep weeds in the paths to a minimum. Paving was rare. The raised beds were usually bordered with planks of first-growth pine or oak (good woods that would last for twenty to thirty years, much longer than modem-day lumber), which were held in place by stakes of the same wood eight to twelve inches high (see Fig. 2). The garden was al ways fenced, historically with a pale or picket fence, which was inexpensive in an age of abundant first-growth lumber; long lasting; and most important of all, allowed for a free flow of air in the garden -- very necessary in the humid summers of eastern and south central Pennsylvania. [6]

The principal function of the fence was to keep animals out, particularly rabbits, but also skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs, all notorious crop destroyers. Deer, the bane of modern gardeners, were no problem for the Pennsylvania Germans, who simply slaughtered them for meat. The fence was usually between thirty-six and forty inches high, and the pales typically extended into the ground or into a sill board that extended into the ground. Additionally, the pales were close together, seldom more than several inches apart, and the top of each one was cut into a point, symmetrically or on a diagonal, which allowed rainwater to drain easily, preventing the wood from rotting, and also made the fence uncomfortable to scale and unpleasant for a marauding cow to graze over. Pales were attached by two nails, one near the top, one near the bottom, to the supporting rails, and the nails were reused when the fence needed to be replaced.

The prime function of the raised beds was to promote easy drainage, but they also allowed for conditioning the soil so that the gardener could grow a larger assortment of crops than would he successful otherwise. Because of the quick drainage of the beds, cool soil vegetables like English (sweet) peas, lettuces, spring onions, and radishes could be planted earlier than they could in the surrounding fields, where wet conditions would rot the precious seed. If the soil on the farm or homestead was heavy clay, or rocky, one or more beds might be filled with sieved soil, enhanced with sand, so that root crops like carrots could grow to their full potential. Great attention was paid to keeping the soil in beds friable and loose. Cultivation was never done with a plow or a cultivator, but always with a hoe. When planting rows, boards were often placed across the edging planks, so that the gardener could lean into the bed without having to rest the weight of her hand on the soil.

Benjamin Franklin did not particularly like the Pennsylvania Germans, but along with many of his compatriots, he admired the rich produce of their farms and gardens, and, indeed, the Pennsylvania Germans' reputation for gardening excellence continued well into the nineteenth century. In 1832 one English horticultural journal noted that in the United States, "It is chiefly among the Dutch and German settlers that vegetables are cultivated; and the overplus beyond their family wants is occasionally offered for sale." [1]

When most outsiders hear the phrases "Pennsylvania German" or "Pennsylvania Dutch," they automatically conjure images of picturesquely garbed Amish and Old Order Mennonites. But the vast majority of German immigrants were Lutherans and members of the German Reformed Church (now the United Church of Christ) who came here, not because of religious persecution, but because they were economically devastated, their lands having been decimated by wars that raged for decades. [2]

The oldest surviving garden plans that relate to the evolution of the Pennsylvania-German kitchen garden are the medicinal gardens of the Benedictine cloisters of Saint Gall in Switzerland and Reichenau in Germany. Plans dating from the 800s for their berbularis, or herb gardens, called for "creating a quadrant Innenbof [courtyard] or atriolum [small atrium] and dividing it into garden beds." [3] In turn, this plan was copied and adopted in cloisters and monasteries throughout Europe. By the Middle Ages, the enclosed kitchen garden laid out in quadrants with raised beds and pathways between them was widely promoted as the most efficient way of providing the vegetable needs for a household. By the Renaissance, city views show that this type of garden was widely used in urban settings as well. It was this tried-and-true garden form that immigrants from what now constitutes modem Germany and Switzerland brought with them to Pennsylvania.

To this day, many Pennsylvania Germans retain a closeness to the soil that goes beyond mere occupation. It has religious overtones. "Perhaps it has something to do with their unique history, perhaps it has something to do with their sense of clan and place." [4] In addition to a passion for gardening, the Pennsylvania Germans maintain a strong desire to preserve ancestral seeds, perhaps summed up in the saying "Gude Sume, Gude Gaarde" ("Good seeds, good garden"). [5] An extraordinary number of American heirloom seed varieties bear the prefix German or Amish.

In sharp distinction to the general American concept of vegetable gardening as a male pursuit, the Pennsylvania-German kitchen garden was always considered to be primarily the woman's province. The men in the family were expected to build the garden, spread manure on the beds in fall, and turn over the soil for spring planting, but the women and children planted, weeded, watered, and picked. The most common Pennsylvania-German garden contained four symmetrical raised garden beds, although six, eight, or other even numbers of beds were not unknown. The beds were divided by narrow paths of packed earth, and the gardeners' regular attention to the beds was all that was required to keep weeds in the paths to a minimum. Paving was rare. The raised beds were usually bordered with planks of first-growth pine or oak (good woods that would last for twenty to thirty years, much longer than modem-day lumber), which were held in place by stakes of the same wood eight to twelve inches high (see Fig. 2). The garden was al ways fenced, historically with a pale or picket fence, which was inexpensive in an age of abundant first-growth lumber; long lasting; and most important of all, allowed for a free flow of air in the garden -- very necessary in the humid summers of eastern and south central Pennsylvania. [6]

The principal function of the fence was to keep animals out, particularly rabbits, but also skunks, raccoons, and groundhogs, all notorious crop destroyers. Deer, the bane of modern gardeners, were no problem for the Pennsylvania Germans, who simply slaughtered them for meat. The fence was usually between thirty-six and forty inches high, and the pales typically extended into the ground or into a sill board that extended into the ground. Additionally, the pales were close together, seldom more than several inches apart, and the top of each one was cut into a point, symmetrically or on a diagonal, which allowed rainwater to drain easily, preventing the wood from rotting, and also made the fence uncomfortable to scale and unpleasant for a marauding cow to graze over. Pales were attached by two nails, one near the top, one near the bottom, to the supporting rails, and the nails were reused when the fence needed to be replaced.

The prime function of the raised beds was to promote easy drainage, but they also allowed for conditioning the soil so that the gardener could grow a larger assortment of crops than would he successful otherwise. Because of the quick drainage of the beds, cool soil vegetables like English (sweet) peas, lettuces, spring onions, and radishes could be planted earlier than they could in the surrounding fields, where wet conditions would rot the precious seed. If the soil on the farm or homestead was heavy clay, or rocky, one or more beds might be filled with sieved soil, enhanced with sand, so that root crops like carrots could grow to their full potential. Great attention was paid to keeping the soil in beds friable and loose. Cultivation was never done with a plow or a cultivator, but always with a hoe. When planting rows, boards were often placed across the edging planks, so that the gardener could lean into the bed without having to rest the weight of her hand on the soil.

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