[Sdpg] Early Fruit & Vegetable Seed Catalogs of Southern California: 1888 - 1945

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Thu Jan 26 09:50:58 PST 2012


Early Fruit & Vegetable Seed Catalogs of Southern California: 1888 - 1945
November 27, 2011News from the LibraryShareThis

Since there has been a renewed interest in home fruit and vegetable 
gardening, we thought we'd look back at some of the old southern 
California seed catalogs from our library.
California's Horticultural History
Horticulture is as important to California's history as the Spanish 
Missions and the Gold Rush. The Spanish missionaries brought with them 
many fruits and vegetables from Europe to California and planted several 
orchards. When the Gold Rush brought a population explosion in the mid 
1800s, so did the demand for vegetables as miners started to develop 
scurvy from their meat-heavy diets. Farms were quickly established and 
made huge profits.  In 1854 the State Agricultural Society was formed, 
and by 1870 over 57,000 people were making a living through agriculture 
(Roske, 259). By the end of 19th century California had established 
itself as an agricultural empire. Pioneers seeking the promise of riches 
through gold mining also discovered the promise of a fruitful land.

In Everyman's Eden, Ralph Roske explains,

By 1859, market garden produce had already passed the one million dollar 
mark in value. During these early years, vegetable production, except 
for potatoes, was almost entirely for local consumption. Numerous market 
gardens ringed California's larger cities. With the coming of the 
railroad and refrigerated freight cars, by 1879 California vegetables 
reached Cheyenne and Denver nearly twelve months of the year. By 1881 
steamers were carrying California vegetables to British Columbia, 
Washington and Central America. As a result of these wide markets, 
vegetable production moved out of the market-garden stage. By 1899, the 
value of California vegetables had reached nearly six million dollars (397).

While vegetable growing proved to be a lucrative industry, fruit growing 
was even more profitable. An 1893 report from the Transactions of the 
California State Agricultural Society reported that fruit growing was 
the chief industry. Growing citrus, figs, grapes olives, and prunes was 
not possible anywhere else in all of America or Europe (110).  In 
particular, Southern California soon established itself as a citrus 
empire with over 170,000 acres of citrus by the 1930s (Sackman, 7).

Southern California's mild climate was the perfect environment to raise 
fruits and vegetables and it was heavily promoted as an earthly 
paradise.  As scores of people came to the area in the late 1800s and 
early 1900s to profit from such an Eden, many nurseries had established 
themselves in order to service them. They promoted the growing of citrus 
orchards, avocados, berries, lettuce, rhubarb, and everything in 
between. They appealed to both the large-scale farmer and the home 
gardener offering advice on what crops to grow and when and what items 
to plant in your victory garden.

This exhibit highlights some of the fruits and vegetables offered in 
southern California nurseries' catalogs from the turn of the 20th 
century up to World War II.
Please browse the different time periods and subjects by clicking on a 
link below:
| Seed Catalogs - Home | 1888-1909 | 1910-1919 | 1920-1929 | 1930-1939 | 
1940-1945 | Avocados | Wartime | Aggeler & Musser | Germain's | 
Bibliography |

Visit our Flickr page to view a slideshow of our online collection of 
early southern California fruit and vegetable seed catalogs:

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/san-diego-permaculture/attachments/20120126/4e7e45df/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 477648 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/san-diego-permaculture/attachments/20120126/4e7e45df/attachment.jpe>

More information about the San-Diego-Permaculture mailing list