In Jefferson’s day, a variety of pumpkins and winter squashes were cultivated in the Monticello garden and his writings are filled with references to them. As early as 1774 he noted in his Garden Book “Zucche bianche” and “Zucche nere,” which he described as white and black pumpkins. In his only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson described Cucurbita pepo and C. melopepo as being “found in Virginia when first visited by the English,” but surmised they were “natives of more southern climates….” Jefferson sent seed of several pumpkin and squash varieties to Madame de Tessé and Phillip Mazzei, including Cymling or Pattypan squash, which were integral in the gardens of the enslaved African Americans at Monticello. Here’s a slideshow of what’s growing in the gardens today:
Many of the winter squashes you see here are available to purchase for your own garden at The Shop at Monticello.
Looking for a new take on your own butternut squash soup, or the perfect fall salad bowl? Try these recipes, shared by Monticello Senior Historian Ann Lucas and our Farm Table Food and Beverage Manager, David Givens. Enjoy!