Single Brothers’ Garden

The Single Brothers’ Garden is an award-winning restoration made possible through the generous funding of The Garden Club Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. It is the largest interpreted garden in Old Salem.

Located to the rear of the Single Brothers’ House and Workshop, this kitchen garden historically fed the men and boys of the Single Brothers’ Choir who lived in the house, sometimes as many as sixty. The Single Sisters’ Choir, whose house is located diagonally across Salem Square from the Brothers’ House, cultivated similar extensive gardens east of the Square in the area that is now Salem College.

SBG late 19th c documentary cropIn 1769, the Single Brothers’ Choir constructed and cultivated their kitchen garden laid out in large squares on earthen terraces that extended from their back yard down to the creek. In addition to garden squares for vegetables, they also maintained a tree nursery and orchard. After the Single Brothers’ Choir disbanded in 1823, individuals began to rent garden squares in the old garden. The late 19th century photograph at right is looking west across the garden. Note the earthen terraces.

Historically, the Single Brothers’ Choir occupied nearly 700 acres that stretched to the west behind their house. This land included the garden, a spring house, stables, and their brewery/distillery and slaughterhouse, as well as fields, meadows and pastures that are seen in the foreground of the 1787 painting of Salem by Ludwig G. von Redeken at right.

VonRedeken View detail 3The Single Brothers’ Garden today is planted with examples of what the Brothers would have grown in their kitchen garden, as well as examples of their field crops.

Depending on the season, the large terraced garden squares grow heirloom vegetables and grains, including maize, squash, field peas, broom corn, winter wheat, oats, lettuce, peas, turnips, beets, cabbage, salsify, okra, potatoes, melon, peanuts, beans, sweet potatoes, and buckwheat. Heirloom herbs are grown as well. Apple and cherry trees have been re-established at perimeters, and grapes and gourds grow along the fence.