Located behind the Carlton House, the kitchen garden is a smaller version of those maintained by rural Florida settlers. Over 100 years ago it took a garden approximately one half-acre in size to feed a family of six.
Plants grown in a kitchen garden would vary according to the season of the year. Corn, beans, peas, summer squash and other frost tender plants would be grown in the spring. Only plants that could tolerate the heat, like cowpeas, okra, sweet potatoes, etc. were grown in the summer. During the late fall and winter, settlers planted collard, turnip and mustard greens, cabbages, and onions. These plants were usually not harmed by cold weather and some said their flavor was improved by light frosts.
Cracker Country’s kitchen garden has herbs, old garden roses, and heirloom flowers planted around the sides of the garden. Heirloom vegetables are planted in rows in the center. Only heirloom plants varieties are grown in the Cracker Country kitchen garden. These plants are the same varieties that were grown in the late 1890s. Some of them have unique names like Greasy Collard Greens, Pole Cat Peas, Whippoorwill Peas, and Tobacco Worm Pole Beans.
Each year seeds are carefully collected and saved for planting next years crop. This also helps us preserve these rare old varieties for the future.