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Listen to audio by Dr. James Tuck
One of the things that all settlers who came to the New World did was to begin some efforts at gardening. Captain Wynne, the first Governor of Avalon, was no exception. He left us some records of his garden, which he described as about two acres in size, and fenced, probably to keep out livestock. He named some of the crops that were grown in the garden. At Avalon, today, we have reproduced a garden much smaller in size, but faithful to the design of kitchen gardens, as they were known, from the early 17th century. Based on Captain Wynne's records, on some treatises on gardening and with the help of Peter Scott, a botanist at Memorial University, the garden you see here duplicates pretty closely what a portion of Captain Wynne's garden might have looked like. The treatise on gardening says that you must have raised beds, which we've done, it says you must have stone walkways, which we've duplicated, and since Captain Wynne said the garden was fenced rather than walled we built a wooden, or wattle, fence to keep animals from destroying very important food crops.

The gateway to the garden duplicates gateways seen on illustrations of the early or mid-17th century and the crops that are grown here duplicate as far as possible the crops that were grown by Captain Wynne and other settlers. They include turnips and carrots which at that time were purple in colour rather than orange, coleworts which was an old name for plants in the cabbage family, radishes, peas, and European broad beans. The beans are not the kind that we're familiar with from our own gardens, but the beans that are known in Portugal for example as fava beans. Two acres of garden must have produced a fair amount of food, and we think that if their garden was near as successful as our garden in some years the colonists must have eaten rather well.

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