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February 14, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg Publishes the Ultimate Organic Gardening Guide

A new book co-published by Colonial Williamsburg and Rodale Inc. introduces today’s gardeners to the art of the well-ordered 18th-century kitchen garden. In “Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way,” historic gardener Wesley Greene mixes history and folklore with practical advice on growing vegetables and herbs.

Greene founded the Colonial Garden and Plant Nursery in the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg. There he and other historic gardeners study and interpret 18th-century plants, tools and cultural techniques and share their knowledge with visitors to the garden.

Now Greene offers readers the wisdom of gardeners who grew purple broccoli and three-foot-long cucumbers, improved melon seeds by walking around with them in their pockets, sheltered transplants with oiled paper, heated hotbeds for January seedlings with manure, used lime water to control aphids and trapped slugs in the lettuce beds with a simple tile.

“What connects all generations of vegetable gardeners is the optimism of committing seed to earth,” explains Greene. “It’s an unpredictable endeavor, and yet generations of garden writers have dared to predict that a seed planted in April will provide a harvest in July. In this book, we give you the best advice for the management of your kitchen garden from the most notable gardeners and botanists of the 18th century.”

The book, illustrated with images by Colonial Williamsburg photographer Barbara Lombardi, has received pre-publication praise from Greene’s fellow historic gardeners. J. Dean Norton, director of horticulture at Mount Vernon, said, “Greene’s historical guide to 18th-century vegetables and gardening practices showcases tried-and-true techniques that are remarkably relevant for today’s home vegetable growers — all thoroughly researched, beautifully illustrated and written to inform and entertain.” Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, called the book “a steaming hotbed of garden wisdom.”

“Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way” was funded in part by a gift from longtime Colonial Williamsburg supporters Teresa and Ken Wood. The book is co-published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Rodale Inc. and is available for $30 at WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 A Visitor Center Drive, Everything WILLIAMSBURG in Merchants Square, by phone at 1-800-446-9240 or from

Rodale Books publishes award-winning, bestselling titles that provide authoritative content in the subjects of health, wellness, fitness, gardening, food & cooking, and the environment. Rodale Books offers engaging and reliable books of all kinds — service, narrative, illustrated and lifestyle — that reflect our commitment to helping readers improve their lives and the world around them. For the latest news on our books and authors, visit or follow us on Twitter @rodalebooks. Rodale Books are also available for download as e-books.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the foundation’s preservation, research and educational programs.

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280