Not only was agriculture George Washington’s primary source of income, but farming was also one of Washington’s true passions. During his time at Mount Vernon, Washington raised over 60 different crops at his five nearby farms. Despite being raised within Virginia’s tobacco culture, Washington was an early proponent of abandoning tobacco for wheat, corn, oats, rye, and other grains that would help feed the growing population in America.
Washington was clearly interested in incorporating the latest agricultural techniques into his farming operations and experimented with many different crops, fertilizers, and processes. Washington was an avid proponent of scientifically monitored crop rotations. He also was highly interested in developing more effective fertilizers, improved plow designs, innovative grain treading techniques, and in breeding mules, which he considered superior to horses for agricultural work. In addition to crops, Washington raised sheep, cattle, hogs, and horses on his land. Washington’s gristmill and distillery further advanced the value of his prodigious agricultural output.
George Washington took an early interest in husbandry and agricultural improvement. Learn more about Washington’s desire to improve the state of American agriculture through careful experimentation.
This map shows the historic boundaries of George Washington's five farms at Mount Vernon superimposed over today's modern landscape. Much of this once-rural landscape remains free from development today.
Learn more about Washington’s remarkable and innovative 16-sided treading barn located on his Dogue Run farm.