Rotation in London's Early Market Gardens
early nineteenth century treatise on how to rotate your kitchen
crop rotation practices in market gardening about London
during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
varied from region to region, as also distance from
market, the following passage from Mr Middleton, commenting
about 1808, fairly accurately describes the market gardener's
practice of this time:
farming gardeners at Kensington, Fulham, and other places,
raise a succession of, first, cabbages; secondly, either
potatoes or turnips; and thirdly, wheat every two years.
Although there is no fallow, their land is kept as clean,
and nearly as rich, as a good kitchen garden.
of them have adopted the following valuable rotation, namely,
they manure heavily a clover lay for, first, potatoes; secondly,
wheat, and third, clover, and successively repeat the same
potato crop is the cleansing one. The roots are taken
up with three-tined forks (dung or manure forks), the
haulm is removed and used in littering the farm yards.
rubbish is then harrowed out, raked together and carried away.
In this state the land is sown with wheat, which is covered
by a thin ploughing, that being all the tillage it receives,
excepting for the potatoes.
crops are all great: the first is from seven to ten tons, the
second is about forty bushels; the third, four tons of clover
hay at two cuttings.
the neighbourhood of Heston and Norwood, the course
is beans, pease, and wheat; the former twice-hoed,
and earthed up at the latter hoeing.
the strong and common field lands between Harrow and
Uxbridge, the rotation is now similar, but formerly
it was fallow, wheat, and then beans, broadcast. The
bean and pea crops are invariably grown in rows fifteen
the light-land tracts between Longford and Sunbury,
the rotation is usually as follows: wheat, barley,
hog-pease in rows twice-hoed; a few acres of beans,
and two or three acres of tares; then wheat, barley,
and lastly, clover. The latter is mown twice, and
coming once only every six years, is generally a good
crop. In this course the land is kept from exhaustion
by the great quantities of manure obtained from the
inns at brentford, Hounslow, Staines and other places.
the eastern side of Middlesex, in the common fields
which have been enclosed in the past few years, the
ancient course was fallow, wheat and barely, but the
fallow has now given way to potatoes or turnips.
also visit Old London Maps
on the web as many of the maps
and views available there have plans and depictions of gardens
the medieval period through to the late nineteenth century.
© Sara Douglass Enterprises Pty Ltd 2006
specifically stated otherwise
No material may be reproduced without permission