Eat Like Michelle Obama: Tips On Making Your Own White House Kitchen Garden

white house gardenYesterday was a pretty neat fall day. I toured the White House Fall Garden with a good friend and Taylor. I was not really sure what to expect, but it was pretty educational – and we got to see the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden, which I had wanted to see in person.

I’m sure you are familiar with this garden. It has been touted in her campaign to end obesity and harvested for the DC Food Pantry. Michelle Obama has even written a book about it, ‘AMERICAN GROWN: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.’ Here is a book review on it – if you wanted to read more. Also, this looks like a great book if you wanted to read about all the U.S. President’s beautiful gardens!

As I scanned the greenery of her garden and saw the signs for peppers and lattices overgrown with ivy like plants, I wondered just what is planted in her garden and can I make one to?

So here is the gist ladies – you too can make one. Obviously, not on this grand of a scale (you don’t have gardeners paid to tend to it); but, who says you can’t turn your balcony or little patch of green backyard into a little harvesters dream for one or a small family?

lbj tree

Looking at the LBJ tree – channeling my Texas roots.

Mrs. O is currently growing – various kinds of lettuces (one being the peppery arugula), blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peas, spinach, fennel, carrots, kale, herbs and broccoli. Fitness Magazine reports that the White House spent about $200 on start-up seeds alone for the garden (so it can get a little pricey to start your own!)

So, here are a few little tips that might help when even contemplating starting your very own garden:

Start small. If you are a condo dweller, like me, space is limited. I (have not yet) but am planning to start a little herb garden in the spring and also plant some lettuces. These seeds are inexpensive to plant and will save you bucks in the grocery store.  Organic lettuce can be pricey. Johnnyseeds.com sells a variety of organic salad seed mixes. How fun! You can harvest your own salads.

Plant produce that you can plan a meal around. Fitness Magazine also suggests, “Heartier items like squash, potatoes, and beans can substitute for meat and still be satisfying.” Remember, I made a whole meal around spaghetti squash a while back.

Connect with an online gardening community. Kitchen Gardeners is a pretty cool website to find out what plants work best in specific climates. Here is an online site that lists some online gardening communities to join – check it out here.  

george bush

Leeann and I with our favorite Texan President and First Lady (and Barney!)

All in all, you can start a garden, maybe not just like the First Lady’s, but you can save a pretty penny on some organic produce by growing the hearty stuff at home. Give it a try. I know, I will.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. – Alfred Austin

And this Bible verse is also beautiful…

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.

– Jeremiah 29:5
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