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Category — History

Which Major League Baseball team had the first “organic, edible garden?

Head Padres groundskeeper Luke Yoder in the bullpen garden at Petco Park. —

San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets

By Matthew T. Hall
Mar 26, 2014


This wasn’t your garden-variety controversy between baseball teams.

On second thought, that’s exactly what it was.

Wednesday the San Francisco Giants tweeted that they were the first team in Major League Baseball with an “organic, edible garden.”

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April 3, 2014   Comments Off

In 1969 Joe Pignatano Grew a Vegetable Garden in Shea Stadium

Joey Pignatano tending to his tomatoes using bats to prop them up in mets bullpen. Pitcher Jack Dilauro over his shoulder. 1969.

“In 1969 I discovered a wild tomato plant in the bullpen and nurtured it the rest of the season,” he remembered. “We got some tomatoes off it, but most important we won the whole thing. After that, I kept up the garden as long as I was with the Mets as a good luck charm.”

By Albin Krebs and Robert McG. Thomas
New York Times
October 8, 1981

It was back in 1969, Joe Pignatano recalled yesterday, that a stray tomato plant pushed its way up through the dirt beyond the right field fence in Shea Stadium. That was also the year the Mets won the World Series, and to Mr. Pignatano, a Mets pitching coach and amateur gardener, the plant was a good omen.

So the next year he planted a few omens of his own. The Mets never did win another World Series, but Mr. Pignatano never gave up on his bullpen garden: by this year, the 30-foot-long plot held not only tomatoes, but also vegetables such as pumpkins, eggplants, squash, zucchini, radishes and lettuce.

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April 2, 2014   Comments Off

April 1944 – Actress Laraine Day poses in Victory Garden cover shot

Actress Laraine Day (1920 – 2007) poses in a gardener’s costume while surrounded by various vegetables for the April 1944 issue of PIC magazine, New York. Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images.

Excerpt from her obituary in the New York Sun (Nov 11, 2007): Laraine Day, 87, Film Actress and ‘First Lady of Baseball’

After a quickie Mexican divorce of her first husband in 1947, the Mormon movie starlet married Durocher, the foul-mouthed New York Dodger’s skipper who up to that point was despised by all but the team’s fans. The pair settled down for a decade or so of married bliss that saw Day, who kept her movie-star name, dubbed by the press “the First Lady of Baseball.”

Durocher, in the meantime, incurred further obloquy by bolting the Dodgers mid-season in 1948 for the crosstown rival Giants. Yet the marriage seemed to soften his image as well, especially after Day began broadcasting a pre-game show on WPIX, the Giants’ station at that time, in which she focused on players’ human side rather than game action. By her own account, the first time Day encountered Durocher, her first question had been, “What is a Dodger?”

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March 31, 2014   Comments Off

1736: Unearthing the History of Sheffield’s Allotments

Ralph Gosling’s Plan of Sheffield in the year 1736. See larger image here.

Gardeners professions: Button makers, Shoe makers, Cutlers, Bakers, Innkeepers, Widows, Clerk, Grocer, Schoolmaster, Husbandman, Gardener

Jane Withers, Adam J Smith
Furnace Park
Mar 17, 2014


As shown in the above map (the Cathedral is circled in red), urban gardens dominated Sheffield city centre (seen by the yellow arrows radiating from the Cathedral). Although the gardens illustrated in 1736 cannot be proved as allotments (very little documentation survives alluding to the use of these plots) it was thought that the total number of gardens shown could be in excess of 200.

These plots were popular with craftsmen of the time, whose green fingers itched with creativity and cultivation. The popularity of the city centre escapes grew, and by 1780, Flavell claims that there is evidence of between 1500 and 1800 allotments being leased within the city boundaries of Sheffield (see the ‘Further Reading’ section at the end of this post). This expansion could be accredited to the discovery of a more efficient crucible method for producing steel, thoroughly placing Sheffield on the industrial map and causing a need for an alternative past time, away from the grime and smoke of the industrial sites.

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March 27, 2014   Comments Off

1946 – Hasty and Tardy in the Vegetable Garden

hast1Click on image to make larger.

“Watcha doin’ Tardy?” (Five pages)

Oct. 1946

Tardy is putting in a vegetable garden, and the next day, while checking on his carrots, Tardy discovers them all gone. He sets a trap to catch the thief and discovers that Hasty is responsible.

See the rest of the commix on next page.

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March 20, 2014   Comments Off

‘Roddy’ Victory Garden Cartoon – 1943


Green Hornet Comics #14
September 1943
Pencils: Jourdain

An obscure cartoon within a popular ‘Green Hornet’ issue. See the one page comic on the next page.

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March 18, 2014   Comments Off

The Gardens of the British Working Class


The imperatives of the ordinary gardener long ago were to produce food and grow herbs for medicinal purposes.

By Margaret Willes
Yale University Press
March 2014

This magnificently illustrated people’s history celebrates the extraordinary feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they toiled, planted, and loved was not their own. Spanning more than four centuries, from the earliest records of the laboring classes in the country to today, Margaret Willes’s research unearths lush gardens nurtured outside rough workers’ cottages and horticultural miracles performed in blackened yards, and reveals the ingenious, sometimes devious, methods employed by determined, obsessive, and eccentric workers to make their drab surroundings bloom.

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March 17, 2014   Comments Off

Gardening Thespians – Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh – 1941

“They had a piggery and six Guernsey cows. The whole gardens existed to support the house and they took produce back to their London home; milk, cream, strawberries, raspberries, soft fruits and flowers.”

By Zoltan Glass
Picture Post
People: Laurence Olivier; Vivien Leigh

1941: Actor Laurence Olivier (1907 – 1989) with his wife, actress Vivien Leigh (Vivian Mary Hartley, 1913 – 1967).

Excerpt from ‘Vivien Leigh was a dab hand with her roses’
By Faith Eckersall,
Dorest Echo, April 17, 2011

At the time he first saw her, Mike, who lives with his wife, Anne, in Colehill, didn’t know he would become one of Leigh’s gardeners, taken on by her estate manager at her home in Notley Abbey, a 12th century estate which was run by her brother-in-law, Dickie Olivier.

“After my dad died I’d had a brush with the law and I think it was decided that it might be a good idea if I had a little job,” says Mike.

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March 16, 2014   Comments Off

1751-1765 – Encyclopédie dirigée par Diderot and d’Alembert

Portion of larger image titled ‘Agriculture: Jardin Potager, Couches’. See complete image. Further enlargement at image.

Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

The Encyclopédie was an innovative encyclopedia in several respects. Among other things, it was the first encyclopedia to include contributions from many named contributors, and it was the first general encyclopedia to lavish attention on the mechanical arts. Still, the Encyclopédie is famous above all for representing the thought of the Enlightenment. According to Denis Diderot in the article “Encyclopédie”, the Encyclopédie’s aim was “to change the way people think”.

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March 13, 2014   Comments Off

‘Smitty’ Rooftop Victory Garden – 1942


Four page story!

“Ah! A letter for me!!”
Script, Pencils, Inks: Walter Berndt
Characters: Smitty; Mr. Bailey; Herby
Four Color (1942 Series)
(Must see. Mike)

Mr. Bailey puts in a Victory Garden on the roof of his office building. Later Herby tries to get up the nerve to buy a war stamp from a booth and get a kiss from a girl he likes.

“It’s a Victory Garden. Everybody’s doing something to help these days. Every little bit helps. I’ve got carrots, peas, onions, corn, all the good vegetables growing.”

See four full pages of the comix over the page.

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March 12, 2014   Comments Off

Kitchen Garden Estate


Traditional Country-House Techniques for The Modern Gardener or Smallholder

By Helene Gammack
National Trust

Peek behind the garden door at some of Britain’s grandest estates to discover the traditional crafts of growing, cooking, and self-sufficiency from past masters.

From “growing your own” and cooking with herbs to harvesting honey and keeping chickens, Britain’s great estates and country house gardens offer a wealth of inspiration to the modern gardener.

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March 4, 2014   Comments Off

WW1 Prison Camp became almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables

By the end of the war, the camp was almost self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, a far cry from the food poverty going on outside the walls. Click on image for larger version.

Gardening at Ruhleben in Berlin, a First World War prison camp

By Ed Cumming
The Telegraph
Feb 1, 2014


The 5,000 or so British men who found themselves in Germany when war broke out did not count themselves lucky at first. As potential enemy soldiers, they could not be allowed to go home. “What were four thousand Britishers doing in Germany when their country declared war? The answer – that none of them had the faintest idea of what was coming – is almost incomprehensible today,” wrote J Davidson Ketchum, a Canadian psychologist who was interned and wrote about the experience afterwards.

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February 8, 2014   Comments Off

In the summer of 1951 New York City was a marijuana jungle

Here we see inspectors from both the Sanitation and Police Departments overseeing a harvest in the shadow of the Brooklyn Federal Building. On the left we have Inspector Frank Creta from Sanitation and on the right a very nattily dressed Deputy Inspector from the Police Department, Peter E. Terranova.

The “daring marijuana farmers” who had established a “farm” in a lot at the heart of Brooklyn’s projected Civic Center

By Ben Gocker
Brooklyn Public Library
Jan 28, 2011


From underpasses in the Bronx to empty lots on Avenue X, the razor-toothed fronds of 10 foot tall Cannabis sativa plants could be seen all around the city happily waving in the wind like any other innocuous and legal weed. But for all their persistence in invading the city’s forgotten horticultural corners, these plants were likely waving farewell: New York was no friend to pot.

Over the course of the summer about 41,000 pounds of marijuana were uprooted and destroyed during a campaign to eradicate the psychotropic stuff from vacant lots in the city.

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January 26, 2014   Comments Off

1952: Indira Gandhi watches wheat harvest in rear garden of Prime Minister’s residence – India

Photo by James Burke. Apr 1952 LIFE. Click on image for larger version.

Teen Murti Bhavan in Delhi, India – the former residence of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who stayed here for 16 years until his death in 1964.

(Must see. Mike)
Excerpt: from Indira Priyadarshini, By Alaka Shankar

In early 1950, when the campaigns of ‘grow more food’ and ‘grow your own vegetables’ were launched, Indira got the front gardens and the back lawns converted into vegetable gardens and wheat fields. She supervised the cultivation. When the harvest time came, she distributed the vegetables and wheat to the servants and their families and to the senior staff and kept some for Teen Murti household.

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January 23, 2014   Comments Off

1939 Community Garden in Vancouver, BC: Good-Will Flourishes in Farmer-Citizens’ ‘Field’

filedspicsA back-to-the-land movement that has worked successfully for the past seven years is the Hastings East Community Farm, shown above. Upper left, a few of the 86 farmer-citizens who cultivate the eight-acre farm are shown in front of their tool-shed and meeting place. Upper right, Bill Graw, youngest member of the “field,” weeds a flower bed. Middle left, Wendell Bauman, who learned to farm near Odessa, stands among some of the farm’s seed rye. Next, Alex Devito, a native of Italy, shows off his prized garden peas. Middle right, Devito happily hoes his garden patch. Lower left, Y. Radonich, Montenegran, is shown working in his promising corn patch, while right, “Charlie” Mictchell, 76, oldest member of the “Field,” hoes his potatoes with the assistance of Bert Perfitt. Click on image for larger version.

Community Farmers Find Health, Happiness in Garden Project 4 Miles City’s Centre

By Ken Grant
Vancouver Sun
July 8, 1939

On a sunny slope four miles from the heart of Vancouver’s business section, 86 tanned farmer citizens are quietly working out their own back-to-the-land scheme for adding fresh vegetables to their none-too-large incomes or relief allowances.

Their eight acres of land adjoining the Old People’s Home are officially referred to as the Hastings East Community Farm, but to the 80 odd families who have taken part in the scheme for the past seven years, the land is simply known as “The Field.”

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January 21, 2014   Comments Off