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Fans of the diary may have noticed that Pepys rarely refers to vegetables only meat and fish. They did eat vegetables in the 17th century but probably these were less available in central London than in the countryside or on private estates. They were also less fashionable than today. Wealthy houses had kitchen gardens and many of the traditional English vegetables we eat today were grown although there were some suprising omissions - the potato had still to make a significant impact. Some vegetables, like artichokes, were also valued for their medicinal properties.
For anyone interested in the seventeenth century diet, the National Trust is currently restoring the kitchen garden at Ham House (home in the seventeenth century to the Countess of Dysart and her husband the Duke of Lauderdale) using the original plans. The kitchen garden will grow only vegetables eaten in the mid seventeenth century and using the techniques available at the time. This is an opportunity to visit a genuine seventeenth century house and gardens.
Ham House is on the Thames near Richmond in Surrey. The garden is open to the public when the house is open. Head gardener is Peter Clarke.