Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden

Un journal d'un Jardin Potager du Pays des Illinois

Tag: tools

Jardin Potager Weekend, Février 2012

JMA Primitive ToolsAs winter continues its journey, dreams of the upcoming garden season are quickly becoming reality.  Jardin seeds collected throughout the previous growing season are catalogued and set aside, ready for planting as the temperatures begin their steady rise.  New seed varieties to be tried in this year’s garden are ordered and are beginning to arrive in the post.  Winter has been mild and kind, and we anticipate finalizing garden plans and the work preparing and amending the raised beds.  By late February the beds will be turned and the early crops of peas, kale, lettuce, and spinach will be direct sown with beets, cabbage, leeks, radishes, and turnips to follow quickly behind if the temperatures remain constant.

On Saturday, February 25, 10 – 4 PM, come and visit our jardin potager at historic Fort de Chartres.  Join in our historic journey and watch us begin the annual work of gardening in the Illinois Country.  Volunteers as habitants, prepare kitchen garden beds with reproduction tools and plant heirloom seeds of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, all heirloom varieties that might have been grown in Upper Louisiana. We celebrate the approach of spring with the age old activities that bring the promise of future harvests of the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Thank you once again to Silvertree Forge, Jas. Adams, Proprietor, for offering to replace the wooden handles of newly donated period garden hoes and pitch fork.  (Thank you, Shawna Kadlec, for the donation!)  Mr. Adams has been kind enough to create our most excellent reproduction primitive garden tools used in our heritage garden.  If interested in participating or for more information about period garden tools, please visit the Participer page of our garden blog.

Vers la fin du Printemps

7 May, Tuesday

76 Degrees F

Sunny, Windy

The morning sky was dark and gray, threatening clouds overhead, as day dawned on the Annual Les Amis de Fort de Chartres Kid’s Day. The skies soon gave way to a steady rain, not an auspicious beginning for the day of scheduled 18th century family activities. But soon the rain subsided and the sun peered through the fog, as mists rose from the road leading to the fort and from the fort grounds. Families began arriving and the annual event sponsored by the volunteer organization (Friends of Fort de Chartres) was soon underway. With cannons firing, the fort’s volunteer event featured games, archery, rope making, dancing, singing, and an artifact display. In the garden, our visitors used the native hoe, learned about the 1700s French kitchen garden, and adopted our donated native pecan trees. The heirloom cabbage, carrots, lettuces, peas, onions, and turnips were growing strongly and it seemed one could stand and watch the asparagus grow in front on one’s eyes. From the rain cooled temperatures of the morning, the day soon warmed and the jardin potager welcomed all who visited.

22 May, Sunday

87 Degrees F

Sunny, Windy

Continuing this May, the garden grew in pace with the wet and cool conditions. As temperatures rose and fell and continuing rain, every moment the sun shone was an opportunity to plant and work in the garden. Preparing beds and nurturing the emerging plants, struggling beets and spinach weakened as this wet season moved along.  The day was very warm and mon ami Toni accompanied me to work in the squash and melon bed. Earlier in the week, the large bed beyond the garden fence was tilled and prepared for planting. Our day’s work this afternoon included measuring, creating mounds, dibbling holes for the seeds, then planting. Once planted, we watered the mounds thoroughly and took a moment to do some quick weeding in the other beds as well as watering the new fruit trees. Very productive afternoon’s work, accomplished with the help of a friend.

Earlier in the week, the native Three Sisters Garden area was hoed and weeded by Dennis and Jeremy. One afternoon before the rains came, a quick trip to the fort was in order to create the mounds and plant the corn in the center of each mound. We were excited this year to try the native Bear Island Flint corn, which features dried yellow, white, red, some speckled, and occasionally all burgundy ears. This Native American variety reportedly makes good corn flour, slightly pink, and we hoped that the hardness of the cobs would deter the raccoons. Scarlet Runner beans were planted on the outer rim of the mounds and the winter squash in the spaces between. Sophie, the new feline fort mascot, kept me company and surveyed the completed garden area. It is hard to tell if she approved of my afternoon’s work, but it was nice to have the company none the less.

Malheur Mars

Malheur Mars

14 March, Monday

Snow, 36 degrees

Winds 11 mph, NNE

The first post of the gardening New Year was to have descriptions of the garden and planting activity in our jardin potager, but alas, the weather has been a difficult friend this past month. The beds have been too wet to work but we look forward with hope to the days soon when we can prepare the beds and begin planting. The seeds are ordered and although we direct sow most of the vegetables varieties, a few of the varieties have been started and are ready for transplant. This time last year, the cabbage, leeks, and spinach had already been planted but the rain and snow have made it impossible yet this year.  We are hoping for improved weather soon, as our seeds and transplants are prepared and ready to be sowed.

On Saturday, March 26, 10 – 4 PM, come and visit our jardin potager at historic Fort de Chartres. Join us as we step back in time and watch us begin the work of gardening in the Illinois Country.  Volunteers as l’habitants, prepare kitchen garden beds with some reproduction tools and plant heirloom seeds of JMA Primitive Toolsvegetables, herbs, and flowers that might have been grown in this Upper Louisiana region. Celebrate the approach of spring with the age old activities that bring the promise of future harvests of spring, summer, and fall seasons. Thank you to Silvertree Forge, Jas. Adams, Proprietor, for making the primitive gardens tools we use at the heritage garden. If interested, please visit the Participatez page of our garden blog and request contact information regarding Silvertree Forge.

Please note this list of events this spring at Fort de Chartres and travel to the Illinois Country:

  • March 26, Garden Day at Fort de Chartres, 10 – 4 PM (details above)
  • April 1, 2nd Annual School Day Event, sponsored by Save Illinois History. Registration required.
  • April 2 – 4,  Colonial Trade Faire and Rifle/Musket Frolic at Fort de Chartres
  • Kids Day on May 7 th from 10 am to 4 pm, 18th century activities and more! (information soon to follow). This event sponsored by Les Amis de Fort de Chartres (The Friends of Fort de Chartres).