Frequently Asked Questions about the Monticello Vegetable Garden
What are the dimensions of the Vegetable Garden? The garden platform, enlarged by Jefferson in 1808, is 1,000 feet long and 80 feet wide, and contains about 2 acres.
Why is the soil in the vegetable garden so red? Visitors are often surprised by the red color of the clay soil in the garden. Technically, it is a Davidson clay; the reddish color a result of the soil's high iron content. Soil amendments, such as compost, rotted leaves, or manure, are added at least once a year to improve drainage and promote greater fertility.
How many people tend the Vegetable Garden Today? A full-time Vegetable Gardener, aided by summer assistants, cares for the garden, which is often planted three times a year -- for spring, summer, and fall harvests.
What happens to the produce grown at Monticello? The vegetables, herbs, fruit grown at Monticello are used for our the tasting events that are part of our Saturdays in the Gardens series, or are distributed to employees.
How are the vegetables and other plants propagated at Monticello? In many cases, in order to preserve a rare variety, plants are left out to set seed, which is collected, sometimes distributed to other historic sites, but always saved for the next season. Herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, are often cut for drying in the kitchen.
What kinds of herbs did Jefferson grow? Jefferson's central reference to herbs was a list of sixteen medicinal, fragrant, and culinary herbs in 1794; however, by 1814 he would write that "[my] garden is so bare of kitchen herbs, as to have but a single plant of sage, & that stripped of all its leaves." Herbs are distributed randomly throughout the garden rather than in a formal, isolated "herb garden."