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Pioneer Gardens title image

man cultivating garden
Man Cultivating Garden
SHSND# 2003-P13-P17-109
The Martins and Diedes with their young children made their land claims in spring 1910. The already settled Maerschbeckers provided the Martins with food from their root cellar. They and others shared garden seeds which the newcomers planted at the end of the wheat fields. Pauline Neher’s mother gave birth that spring and was sheltered by the Jaeger family (Reich Germans). Mrs. Jaeger provided not only midwifery for Christina Neher, but excellent food necessary for her health and the health of her infant and the toddler who stayed with her. Potatoes, carrots, and beets from the root cellar were still available from the crop of the previous year. When Mrs. Neher was ready to leave the Jaeger’s home, she took buckets of stored vegetables with her (Homesteading, p. 55). While Christina was recovering from childbirth, Fred and Sophie Martin put in a garden and got an early harvest of beet tops, onion tops, and dill to season rabbit soup. (Homesteading, p. 56).

Another neighbor’s established garden was the model for the Nehers and Martins. Elizabeth Boehler had placed her garden on good fertile soil. She had a root cellar lined with prairie stones which kept the root crops safe and cool throughout the year. Her garden included watermelon, potatoes, and cucumbers. These grew well because she talked to them in the garden. She pickled the watermelon and cucumbers in a barrel. But she was best known for her herbs. She grew plants that served as insect repellents, medicines, and perfumes. The chamomile she grew cured diarrhea in the Neher’s infant daughter. (Homesteading, p. 60, 63).