We continue our short historical list of various vegetable names and their descriptions (no exact dates I’m afraid).
Mint (spearmint) had been noted by Plato’s wife as a useful scent in Ancient Greece.
it was probably introduced into England by the Romans.
The best to grow for all ordinary purposes is the true spear mint. This herb is increased by division of the roots in spring and covering them with two inches of soil. It requires rich and moist ground.
Cuttings of the young shoots root freely in the early summer if kept moist and shaded. It is very necessary to keep the mint bed clear from weeds, and to allow plenty of space for growing.
Peppermint is grown in the same way.
The mushroom was one of the table delicacies in the early days of English history.
From some of the Roman records we read that the Emperor Claudius met his death at the hands of his wife Agrippina (who was also his niece), who had prepared him a dishful of the poisonous species.
In France mushrooms form a very large article of consumption, and beds of them are cultivated frequentlymiles in extent.
Mustard and Cress
It is almost useless to write anything on this small salad, as its culture is so easy, but a book on vegetable culture would not be complete without mentioning it.
They will grow in any soil or situation.
Mustard is the native white mustard in its seed leaves, and cress is a cruciferous plant introduced before 1548, but from what country is not known.
Onions probably originated in the Middle east, or Asia. The exact origins are not well-documented, and neither is their introduction into England.
This is a biennial, herb and a native of Sardinia, Parsley was known in England prior to 1548.
Parsley is much more difficult to grow well than most people imagine, and good, deep, rich soil is needed for growing.
The parsnip is a very nutritious root. It contains three times more flesh-forming and strength giving qualitiesthan the potato, and only half the quantity of Carbohydrate and starch.
The parsnip is a hardy biennial plant, and a native of England, and is almost frost-proof except in very damp or heavy soils.
The pea is a native of the South of Europe but was not known in France till the middle of the sixteenth century.
They were grown but never eaten till a gardener named Michaux first introduced them as a table vegetable and was then brought into England in the reign of Henry VIII.
Peas are one of the most popular and most important vegetables grown in England today.
The potato was first brought to England from Virginia by Sir Walter Raleigh, which, of course, is known by everybody.
The potato was formerly called the Potato of Virginia (America), and was thought at first very inferior to the Convolvulus Batatus, which was called the Spanish Potato, and the Jerusalem Artichoke, which was called the Potato of Canada.
The potato has a well-known history in England and was introduced in the 16th Century.
Radishes were introduced into England from China before 1584.
The Ancient Greeks esteemed radishes above all other roots, and it is recorded that in the oblations of garden fruits which they offered to Apollo in his temple at Delphos, radishes were presented in beaten gold, whilst other kinds were offered in lead and silver.
Introduced into England in the 14th Century.
There are four kinds of spinach, the smooth seeded or summer spinach and the prickly seeded or winter spinach.
The word tomato is derived from the Aztecs, and that is about this very popular fruit.
It is strange that there is no factual history on the introduction of the tomato to England.
An individual named Bradbury, during the seventeenth century, was the first to cultivate it in this country (it hailed from Holland in the first instance).
This man-made use of some natural watercourses running through his market-garden for the purpose.
He simply sowed the seeds in a ditch and regulated the height of the water by means of dams of earth at regular intervals.’
End of part II (the final part).
Remember to research the history of vegetables since it is a sine qua non
for all vegans to know the origins, historical context, and methods of how to cultivate vegetables.
Peace and love to all vegans.