Gardens were important to a family’s necessary self-sufficiency and were primarily cared for by the women and children. The primary reason for the garden was to provide food for survival.
However, it was also believed that gardening provided children with many positives, such as physical and mental health benefits, an appreciation of nature, and the love of a healthy diet.
Settlers brought seeds with them from the regions where they previously lived. Some seeds did well, but in Florida the seasons are upside down from northern states, so settlers had to experiment. Just as a northern garden was coming to an end in August and September, it was planting time in Florida.
Seeds were precious and saved from year to year. Pumpkin seeds were initially bartered for with the Seminole Indians. Other seed varieties were traded between neighbors for other needed items like eggs. People who could afford to do so ordered garden seeds from free catalogs, with a year’s worth of seeds costing about $10. Catalog companies even offered prizes to those who grew the largest vegetables with their company’s seeds!