Current news stories suggest that gardening has a history, not just a past. Gardening practices and concepts do indeed reflect the tenor of the times as well as the skills and technologies of gardening. The reasons for gardening and the varieties of vegetables and fruits change over time. Arguments over the possibility of vegetable gardening on the northern Great Plains in 1874 gave way to reliably productive pioneer gardens after 1875.
During the two World Wars, gardening spread among non-gardeners for a short time. However, gardening apparently was lost to at least one generation, possibly two, from about 1960 to the present when women found paid work outside the home and used their paychecks to buy vegetables and fruits instead of growing them. That left only dedicated gardening hobbyists in the dirt on weekends; growing food to feed the family was not necessary. This is entirely speculative, of course, because non-gardeners do not create records about not gardening.
This online exhibit follows several threads through North Dakota history. Each of these constitutes a brief chapter listed below. Click to learn more about gardening in North Dakota.