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George Washington loved farming, and would have rather been known as a farmer than as President of the United States. Throughout his life, he was interested in creating new and evolving plans for his farms and gardens. Check out some of his passion projects!

Washington's Farms

George Washington turned to cash crops for economic gain. Unfortunately, cash crops were dangerous to the grounds and could exhaust the soil. To fix this issue, Washington implemented crop rotations to ensure that the soil never got overused from one specific crop. 

Farming in the 18th Century

Enslaved Farmers

The enslaved field workers had long and tiresome days of doing back breaking work in varying weather conditions. See what a typical day looked like for these workers in this timeline.

See the timeline

Treading Barn

Washington needed a strategic new way to thresh wheat. After many trials and errors, Washington, his hired help, and his enslaved workers figured out the perfect solution: the 16-sided treading barn.

How does it work?

Agricultural Technology

Many different tools were used to help plant, plow, and nurture the different crops at Mount Vernon. Washington consistently tried to find ways to make farming more efficient and cost-effective.

so many solutions

Explore the Farm

Fun Fact

Washington used a dung repository in order to fertilize his crops with manure.

Why manure?

Houses of the Enslaved

Many of the enslaved lived in small wooden cabins on the farms surrounding George Washington's various estates. Aside from their cabins, most enslaved peoples had gardens and chicken coops so that they could supplement the rations given to them by George Washington.

Explore the houses

Primary Source: Crop Rotation

Washington wanted to make sure he didn't deplete the soil when planting cash crops. He also wanted to make a profit. So, Washington used this plan in order to balance land usage and plowing.

See the plan

Primary Source: Persimmon Seeds

Washington planted a variety of crops, and some unsprouted seeds were discovered by Mount Vernon archeologists. These discoveries give archeologists and historians a better understanding of Washington's farm.

Ancient Seeds

George Washington: A Farmer?

George Washington was passionate about farming and the science behind it. However, all of the work in the fields and to the grounds was done by the enslaved. 

Do you think George Washington was actually a farmer?

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