LARNED — The Fort Larned National Historic Site will celebrate National Volunteer Week by planting the Fort Larned Heritage Vegetable Garden Saturday, April 21.
Larned Girl Scout Troop No. 78 will join Fort Larned staff and other volunteers in rolling up their sleeves and digging in the dirt.
The Girl Scout troop adopted last year’s garden, the first garden of the 21st Century at Fort Larned. The Girl Scouts are looking forward to another successful year. The garden will be slightly larger this year and include heritage blue corn from the Hopi Reservation donated by volunteer Bill Wolfe.
The Girl Scouts will try cultivating other vegetable plants, includin beans, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, squash, leeks, radishes, turnips and melon. These garden crops are listed in the 1860s and 1870s historical records of Fort Larned.
Fort Larned records also indicate that garden vegetables added to the variety and taste of the bland diet served at the post. More often than not the gardens were failures because of the hot winds, insects and lack of irrigation. There was always cause to celebrate however when the gardens did produce.
In June 1870, Assistant Surgeon A.A. Woodhull wrote, “The experience of this year fully demonstrates that gardens may be cultivated at Fort Larned with results sufficient to warrant the labor.”
The National Park Service is proud to join with the National Park Foundation, the friends group of America’s national parks, to partner with National Volunteer Week encouraging all Americans to “picture yourself in a park.”
Rusti Gardner, administrative support, Fort Larned NHS National Park Service, said volunteers are needed at Fort Larned to join others in a friendly, pleasant atmosphere to help preserve and maintain the buildings and grounds and bring the frontier fort to life for park visitors.
Volunteers perform in living history programs, historical candlelight tours, guided tours of the buildings and doing demonstrations such as cooking and blacksmithing or become part of the cannon crew or rifle squad.
Special skills such as photography, providing programs at schools, night sky programs, historic research and prairie restoration are also needed.
Please call Fort Larned, (620) 285-6911 for more information.
Fort Larned National Historic Site is six miles west of Larned on Kansas K-156. There is no admission fee. Information on visiting is available at www.nps.gov/fols, or by calling the fort.
For information on area tourism partners, lodging, dining, and community services go to www.larnedks.org or call (620) 285-6916.