A comparison of relationships farm women had with their gardens in the Tall-Grass Prairie and Great Plains regions between 1900 and 1920

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2000
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Orgler, Lisa Nunamaker
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Chidister, Mark
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Abstract
This research is a study of relationships farm women had with their gardens between 1900 and 1920, particularly of women who lived in the Tall-Grass Prairie and Great Plains regions of the United States. This study also seeked to determine if the region, i.e. Tall-Grass Prairie vs. Great Plains, affected the nature of the relationship farm women had with their garden. It was typical for farm women across the country to have gardens and tend them daily. Women also raised poultry, churned butter, took care of their families, and helped their husband tend the farm in a multitude of ways. These tasks were not unique by any means. However, each woman accomplished these tasks differently in part because of variations in her own region. This study looked at one task on the farm woman's long list, that of, gardening. It examined the physical features of the garden - the placement of the garden within the farmyard and the plant materials contained within it, but also explored the relationship farm women developed with their gardens. Gardens of this era served the basic needs of the family, by producing food, but also served other less survivalistic functions by providing spiritual, psychological, and artistic outlets. By studying two regional farm journals, Wallaces' Farmer and Nebraska Farmer, this research demonstrated that gardens were similarly used in both regions, but the relationships formed were unique to each area. Both journals revealed five similar relationships: economic, spiritual, psychological, aesthetic, and associative. The Great Plains region fashioned four additional relationships: character, civic, physical, and competitive due to cultural and physical differences.
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