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Pioneer Gardens title image

Farmstead with garden
Farmstead with garden SHSND# 0399-003
The next year, 1881, Elliott planted a kitchen garden for Spiritwood Farm. He found, as other pioneer gardeners did, that the growing season was far shorter than he had known before and his corn and tomatoes did not mature, but this was good ground for potatoes. Elliott continued to work and live on his farm until he proved up. Then he moved to Jamestown and farmed during the summer. Eventually, he moved to Fargo where he resumed his career in landscaping. (Sadie Walker Papers, IRS)

Pioneer woman Margaret Barr Roberts lost (literally) her husband in 1886. She remained on their badlands ranch by raising a garden, gathering wild fruits, and selling surplus fruits and vegetables (in addition to some other money raising activities). Her daughter remembered that her mother enjoyed gardening and raised potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, and “other vegetables.” The garden had been dug around the well which had a bucket on a pulley. Roberts would pull up four buckets of water every morning and let it stand in the sun all day. In the evening, her daughters would remove their shoes and water the garden under the direction of their mother.

Roberts and her daughters picked wild fruit in season including Juneberries, wild plums, chokecherries, and bullberries. She took surplus vegetables and fruit to Medora to sell to stores, private homes, and hotels. (Pelissier, pp 133-134)