Ball-Sellers House is a reminder of Arlington’s agricultural past and a rare example of a home dating to the 1750’s that was owned by an ordinary person. It sits in a neighborhood off Carlin Springs Road that used to be farmland and is the site of a Plot Against Hunger garden.
Earlier this year, Michael Polovina was volunteering for Plot at the Arlington Green Living Expo when he was asked if we would be interested in planting and maintaining the garden at Ball Sellers House. Produce could, of course, go to AFAC. Michael jumped at the chance.
The garden is intended to show visitors what the Ball family might have been growing in the 1750s and what it might have looked like. On the surface this means no metal tomato cages, plastic stakes or other modern garden equipment. Another consideration is crops that might have been planted. Most of what we plant in the garden now was unknown in the 18th century. The Ball family probably thought tomatoes were poisonous, though Thomas Jefferson was growing an Italian variety, Costeluto Genovese, at Monticello.
Since part of the goal was to donate food to AFAC, Michael steered a middle way, planting some crops like tomatoes along with squash, beans, lettuces, and cole crops. The plants are thriving and soon will be producing crops.
The Ball Sellers garden will be on the Plot Against Hunger Garden Tours on July 7 from 9:00 AM to noon. The tours will include eight gardens around Arlington, including schools, churches, and a private residence. For more information, on the tours, check out the Plot Against Hunger website, which has a map of the gardens and describes them. Check it out and come visit the garden.