go to gardening exhibit home page go to exhibit themes go to exhibit objects and images go to will gallery go to exhibit resources
Pioneer Gardens title image

11 year old Leon just with gian banana squash
11 year old Leon Just with 47 lb. banana squash measuring
33 inches long, 28 inches girth, Bismarck, ND
SHSND# 0080 box 4 file 13-46
In the same article, Lounsberry drew a word picture of garden produce from the Bismarck area that must have inspired the perennially popular giant vegetable postcard photos. Lounsberry swore that L. F. Hildebrand raised an acorn squash that weighed 31 pounds. “It was grown in the open air, without irrigation, and was wholly ripe. Sunday we tried it for dinner, and found it to be as nice as the same variety in any other country.” Hildebrand’s garden also produced potato vines six feet in length. Colonel Orlando Moore, of Hazen’s command, on return from a visit to Fargo, reported seeing a cucumber four feet in length. Toward the end of the article, the editor noted some trouble with drought and grasshoppers which ate much of the cereal crops. The final sentence read: “Tomatoes, even, have ripened in several instances.”

While Lounsberry did not report on the results of his own pampered garden project, he noted with some glee that Captain Braithwaite of Fort Buford brought some mammoth potatoes from Hazen’s own garden. One of them weighed 2 ½ pounds. “No country can do better,” crowed Lounsberry. (Tribune, November 4, 1874)

Linda Slaughter also entered the vegetable bragging contest in her The New Northwest, a boomer pamphlet published in 1874. She listed the vegetables grown near Bismarck, stated that her own table was “furnished almost exclusively with vegetable grown in Bismarck and vicinity; some of them, too of enormous in size, . . . and purchased at reasonable rates.” She reported that potatoes yielded 200 bushels per acre. (p. 4-5)