A New Kitchen Garden for the White House

Did you see the news yesterday about a kitchen garden at the White House? Michelle Obama is breaking ground today on a new White House kitchen garden, which reportedly will be filled with organic seeds and seedlings and fertilized with compost from the White House kitchens. That last nugget of information nearly sent us into spasms of joy: the White House composts? Excellent!

What do you think about this new garden? Do you think it will prompt other Americans to plant their own backyard vegetable gardens?

The garden, as you can see from the White House's plan above, will be rather large - about an acre - and have the potential to produce a lot more food than the small container gardens the cooks have been keeping on the roof. It also will be visible from the street, and Obama intends to bring a whole class of children in to help break ground. We love that passersby will be able to see a garden on the lawn of the White House, and the crowds of visiting schoolchildren will associate a big kitchen garden with the seat of power in our nation.

We liked this quote from the First Lady, too:

“A real delicious heirloom tomato is one of the sweetest things that you’ll ever eat,” she said. “And my children know the difference, and that’s how I’ve been able to get them to try different things.

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House?”

Yes! This makes us so happy. Apparently this garden will be overseen by Sam Kass, a chef the Obamas brought along with them from Chicago, and the garden is only the first step in creating a "16-acre edible landscape" around the White House.

We had hoped the First Lady would work towards better food during her time in the White House, modeling an example like this, but this goes rather beyond our wildest dreams.

One final point: we are so inspired, looking at the big layout of the garden above (don't we wish we had a whole acre and professional gardeners to help us tend it!). One thing we noticed is that the mint has been given its own little plot off to the side and away from the other vegetables and herbs. The gardeners obviously know what they're doing: mint is wildly, rampantly aggressive, and you should never plant it near other things you like - it will take over!

To read the full story of the garden try these sources:

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House - NY Times
Obamas ready to start a White House garden - Chicago Tribune
Foodies Celebrate White House Veggie Garden - ABC News

Related: Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook

(Image: The White House, via The New York Times)

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