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Heirloom Garden Program

About the garden


Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City volunteers partner with the Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum and the City of Gladstone to plan, plant and maintain a 60’ x 60’ heritage garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers, all plants grown before 1900.  In addition, the heritage garden includes raised beds for herbs, strawberries, asparagus and other perennials.  Beehives on the property improve pollination in the gardens and Big Shoal Farm.  Produce from the gardens is donated to Saint Charles Food Pantry and Synergy Services.  Master Gardeners also teach gardening classes at the annual Children’s Garden Day and the Big Shoal Country Fair, a daylong event that attracts over 1200 visitors.




8:30 a.m. - Weather Permitting


8:30 a.m. - Weather Permitting



Each season the museum donates hundreds of pounds of naturally grown fresh produce to local food banks and pantries in Gladstone and the Northland. The museum and our volunteers feel strongly about connecting people with fresh locally grown produce. Museum visitors are also welcome to take home a fresh-picked item from the sample basket inside the museum store with paid admission and a museum tour.



Do you have a love for gardening? The garden is made possible entirerly through volunteers.

Working in the garden is a great opportunity for anyone with a green thumb or who are eager to learn about organic gardening. The need is especially great in the spring and summer.  Garden volunteers would work directly with the appointed master gardener in charge of the project. If you would like to get involved you may contact us here.

Why Heirloom?

Heirloom seeds are different from today's genetically modified organisms (GMO) in that they are open-pollinated and grown on a small scale using traditional techniques.
Produce from our garden is grown from seeds that are at least 100 years old. We like to grow food the way the Atkins and Johnson families did!


In March of 2014 two bee hives were moved to the property. The bees seem to really like the farm, and their honey production reflects that! Nestled near the Big Shoal Farm, our bees have fields of sunflowers, pumpkins, and corn, as well fields of clover and wildflowers to enjoy. Further north on the property the museum’s heirloom garden is filled with melon patches, tomatoes plants, rows of flowers and other treats honey bees love. Honey is harvested twice a year in - first in June and then again in August. The honey produced from August into the fall is enough for the bees to live on during the winter. Bees go back inside their hive and remain dormant throughout the cold winter months, eating their stored honey until spring. City staff and volunteers bottle and label the harvested honey for sale in our museum store. All proceeds from the sale of honey go to support the Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum.

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