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Ancient Greek Farming Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kathryn Miedema Dominguez

Kathryn has taught elementary students for over ten years and has her master's degree in elementary education.

Farming in ancient Greece consisted of growing crops like wheat, barley, olives, and grapes. They also grew fruits and vegetables in smaller quantities near their homes. In this lesson, you will learn about what and how they farmed.

What Did The Ancient Greeks Farm?

Did you know that some ancient Greeks didn't eat beans because they thought the souls of dead people were in them? Although some believed this superstition, most ancient Greeks ate beans as a big part of their diet. Along with beans, they grew many different crops.

Wheat and barley were the most commonly grown crops for making porridge and bread. Olive trees were grown and pressed for olive oil. In addition, grape vines were farmed to make wine. Wheat, barley, olives, and grapes were four of the top crops of ancient Greece. However, they grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, too.

Olives ready for harvest.
Olive tree

Pears, figs, apples, and pomegranates were planted at their homes along with vegetables. The most widespread vegetables were cucumbers, lettuce, garlic, and onions. Almost everyone in ancient Greece was part of farming.

Grapes on vine ready for harvest.
Grape vine

Who Were The Farmers in Ancient Greece?

The land in Greece was not very good for farming so they had to make sure they grew a lot in the small plots. Most of the population were farmers who had their own holdings. They would grow enough for their families to survive, and trade or sell any extras in the local markets. These plots of land would be passed down to the sons in the family.

How Did They Take Care of Their Crops?

In the fall, the soil was prepared by plowing the fields. Grain crops such as wheat and barley were planted at this time and harvested in April. Olives grow on trees and were picked between November and February. Grape vines are like trees and continue to grow from year to year. However, they have to be pruned in the spring and then harvested in fall.

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