The White House Kitchen Garden

The schematic plan for the White House kitchen gardenPrudently scheduled for the spring equinox, the ceremonial ground-breaking for the White House kitchen garden took place on Friday and featured Michelle Obama and a group of Washington third-graders. The schoolkids will continue to assist in the garden, which, in addition to feeding the first family and guests, has an impressive political agenda: promoting nutritious local food and cooking, bringing attention to a practical energy crisis remedy, and proving that organic gardening methods have a place even on the country’s loftiest lawn.

In its initial form, the garden is mainly a utilitarian mix of greens, peas, berries, and workhorse herbs — no carrots or tomatoes in sight, yet — but Mrs. Obama has already indicated there will be a place for tomatillos in the future, and there are other signs that this garden is much more substantial than its political show. I was tickled to read that:

  • White House compost will be used in conjunction with other organic fertilizers,
  • there is a place for Swiss Chard which, in my opinion, is “the better spinach” and should become as common and popular as lettuce,
  • flowers, some of which will be edible, are included in the plan, too, providing at least the rudiments of versatile kitchen garden design,
  • and companion plants are being used — notably hyssop, which attracts just about every beneficial flying beast a gardener could want and improves the growth of nearby kale and collards.

In short, this is a savvily planned garden that might also be truly sustainable and extraordinary. For now, it’s enough for me that homegrown vegetables (chard!) have earned a place in history beside the Obamas.

3 Responses to “The White House Kitchen Garden”

  1. J Schott

    Speaking of attracting flying creatures, if you like bumblebees, grow chives. Bumbles love the blooms and you won’t believe the number that visit.

  2. Samantha

    There are some really tasty articles here I can see… Keep cooking some more!

  3. Kate

    @J Schott – thanks for that great tip – I’ll bet chives are easier to find than hyssop, too. I personally love chive flowers. The day my “Dr. Seuss” garden becomes a reality, they’re goin’ in!

    @Samantha – very much appreciated and duly noted. So glad you stopped by!

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