Historical Skills

Brought to you by Historic St. Mary’s City, Southern Maryland

growing plants and vegtables, historic st marys city

With HSMC staff teleworking, some have found time to use their skills at home. Education Director Peter built a raised garden bed (planned prior to the pandemic).

As a former supervisor of the Godiah Spray plantation, Peter has plenty of experience. Raised garden beds are what make up the plantation kitchen garden area, and was a popular method of planting in England during the 17th century. These were raised rectangular gardens, being narrow allowing for access from either side. The “kitchen” garden would have had a variety of plants and herbs used for medicine, seasoning food, and consumption.

historical gardening historic st marys city

Peter, much as the colonists would have, had his children assisting with the planting. He and his family started with pots and took the opportunity to measure the growth daily as a STEM activity (pun intended). Here’s a simple seed germinating idea for families


  • a glass jar
  • paper towels
  • water
  • seeds

Put sheets of paper towel, one at a time, into the glass jar. Once it is full, add water to wet it, but try not to oversoak. Make sure the paper towel is packed so the seeds will stay in place once you put them there, and also be easily visible. Take the seeds, and place them down the side of the glass jar, supporting them with the wet paper towel. Somehow label the seed on the outside in order to make observations and comparisons. Keep checking back on your little seeds. Perhaps mark their growth on a calendar or in a notebook. If you have a few different varieties, what grew better? Once they start germinating, plant them in soil.