Crops grown in the Maryland colony included tobacco, corn, soybeans, other vegetables and grains. Tobacco was the main cash crop in colonial Maryland. By the 1700s, tobacco had become such big business that the Acts of Assembly forced landowners to grow other crops, such as corn and grains, that could be used for food. After the Civil War many landowners switched to less labor-intensive crops, such as vegetables.
When European colonists first began arriving in 1634, land was distributed for farming through government grants. Recipients were often sons of English noblemen. Indentured servants commonly worked the larger plantations in exchange for their passage to Maryland. Once they worked off their debt they were given land grants to farm. During the 1700s the number of indentured servants to work on farms decreased, and slaves were introduced. After the Civil War, many plantation owners took the labor involved in growing and harvesting crops into consideration because of a lack of available farm workers. Colonial farming equipment, such as horse-drawn plows and planting and harvesting by hand, remained largely unchanged from the time of the European settlers' arrival until after the Civil War. Farming the large plantations, often larger than 100 acres, required many workers for planting, plant care and harvest.