In the Surgeon’s Report of August 1875 at Fort Hays there came this detail, “The potatoes in the hospital garden, now in the process of digging and storing in cellar, have done exceedingly well notwithstanding the extreme want of moisture during the months of April, May, and June. The tomatoes, beets, onions, sweet corn, squash, and melons have not yielded quite as well.” While gardens were first ordered by the United States War Department, the importance of gardens at military forts was the fact they kept the soldiers healthy. Just two months after Fort Hays was established in 1867 there was mention of a garden at the post. Vegetables from the gardens were an important part of the soldiers' nutrition and helped prevent dysentery and scurvy. The size of gardens ranged from less than an acre to 20 acres for more. Just as today drought, insects, and inexperience contributed to poor crop failure at the fort.