Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Planning the Spring White House Garden

Michelle Obama has used the White House garden to host many educational events. On October 29, 2009, she hosted a fall harvest with help from students of Washington's Bancroft and Kimball Elementary Schools.

In its first year, aides say the White House garden has ex-“seeded” expectations. It's become so popular that even foreign dignitaries ask Mrs. Abeam about it when they meet. Crops have been donated to a neighborhood soup kitchen, and the first lady's green thumb has inspired others to start gardening, too.

The garden now is ready for winter, fitted with protective coverings called “hoop houses,” a kind of temporary green house, to help keep various crops — spinach, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, cabbage and other greens — growing during the cold months.

The 1,100-square-foot plot, about the size of a small apartment, has yielded more than 1,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, fennel, lettuce, other vegetables and herbs that White House and visiting chefs have used to feed the Obama family and guests.

A nearby beehive, bolted to the South Lawn to withstand wind gusts from the president's helicopter, produced 134 pounds of honey. Some was given to spouses who accompanied world leaders to an international economic summit last year in Pittsburgh.

This year, Mrs. Obama plans to involve more students from other schools. Statistics show that two out of three Americans are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. Mrs. Obama aims to pay more attention to childhood obesity this year.

Courtesy: AP/The Today Show
Photo: Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images file