A Garden At The White House

This is interesting:

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.

***

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

I honestly don’t understand how people can dislike beets, but overall this is pretty cool. I’m actually throwing in a small garden at my brothers house this summer, and we talked about it tonight at dinner.






108 replies
  1. 1
    sammie says:

    We dislike beets because they tast like dirt. That is all.

  2. 2
    PDXChris says:

    I used to dislike beets, since I was fed them as a child, pickled, purple, and out of the can. Disgusting. Then my wife made roasted yellow beets with some feta cheese and pine nuts, and I changed my mind.

    The story is very cool, regardless. My kids and I spend long hours in the summer tending to our modest garden, gaining an appreciation for where some of our food comes from.

  3. 3
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Because beets are from the Devil, that’s why. Like cabbage, only worse.

  4. 4

    Ha! Everyone knows beets are red and a favourite staple of the Ruskies. SociObama is trying to throw us off the scent.

  5. 5
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Next you’ll be telling us that you like Brussels Sprouts.

  6. 6
    Indylib says:

    Restart the ‘arugala is un-amerikin’ bullshit in 3…2…1

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    Yes, I like Brussel Sprouts. My grandfather called them “damned little cabbages,” though.

    And I like beets in any form. Raw, steamed, pickled, roasted, etc. Good stuff.

  8. 8
    Anton Sirius says:

    @Indylib:

    I rather think that’s why it’s there.

  9. 9
    C Nelson Reilly says:

    I’ll be anxious to see the unusual varieties of herbs like "Thai basil." Probably will have a "Humboldt oregano" and a "Jamaican Pajammy Jam marjoram" in there somewhere.

  10. 10
    ed says:

    I honestly don’t understand how people can dislike beets

    ‘Cause they’re fuckin’ disgusting.

  11. 11
    Keith says:

    I’ve never actually had a beet before except for slivers of pickled beets in a falafel sandwich. Maybe it’s regional?
    Speaking of food, anyone here familiar with shad roe and know when it’s in season this year? I’ve been trying to find it fresh all month but haven’t had any luck; I’ve only been able to find one place (online) that even has it in cans.

  12. 12
    randiego says:

    Order a burger in Australia and it comes with a slice of beet. Disgusting. Like Vegemite, I just never understood it.

  13. 13
    bootlegger says:

    The garden will remind people that times are tough and we need to conserve. This is the exact opposite of the, um , conservative position where we should spend, spend, spend our way to prosperity, as individuals and not collectively of course. From W encouraging us to shop and his administration denying the existence of a "recession" (boy, that seems mild today doesn’t it) to McCain claiming the fundamentals of our economy are strong and Limbaugh pimpin’ for AIG million dollar bonuses, a frugal garden is the LAST thing they want Murkans to get in to.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    Brussels sprouts are great pickled, kosher style. Stick a toothpick through a couple of ’em and drop ’em in a martini — yum.

  15. 15
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @bootlegger:
    I still remember the Republicans clapping their flippers with glee when Reagan had Carter’s solar water-heating system removed from the White House roof.

  16. 16
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    I honestly don’t understand how people can dislike beets

    Seriously! Roast those em-effers! So caramelized and sweet with an excellent texture. Added bonus: Purple pee.

    Up the beets!

  17. 17
    Laura W says:

    This is Super Cool!
    Did y’all not see Alice Waters on 60 Minutes last week talking about this very thing?

    The bestselling author has been pushing for the garden since at least 1993; she may see her wish come true with the current White House occupants, both of whom know a thing or two about healthful food. Then again, former President Clinton is a known Chez Panisse fan, and we saw no garden bloom at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. under his watch, other than a small one on the roof that Hillary Rodham Clinton helped set up (It also should be noted that Laura Bush, to her credit, advised the White House kitchen staff to buy organic produce whenever possible, even though no large garden grew under her watch, either).

    Others have called on Obama to help set an example to our fast food-obsessed nation via an organic garden at the White House, most notably the White House Organic Farm Project and Kitchen Gardeners International’s campaign at eattheview.com. With fast-food consumption up in tough economic times, there are those who think the time has come for a garden that is not the Rose Garden to bloom in Washington, D.C. — if only as a symbol.

    Boiled Kale!

  18. 18
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    I never liked beets until I had some baby beets, freshly picked and gently cooked with a little butter. They don’t taste like dirt then, but they do taste a lot like corn. Ah, sweetness …

  19. 19
    Krista says:

    This is delightful.

    Sigh…I only wish we could somehow harness the energy generated from Right-Wing outrage and head explosions. I’m convinced it would go a long way towards ending your dependence on foreign oil. Michelle Malkin and her readers could probably generate enough energy to power the entire Midwest.

  20. 20
    Ninerdave says:

    We dislike beets because they tast like dirt. That is all.

    Exactly.

    Brussels Spouts on the other hand are divine.

    Wife and I are throwing in a veggie and flower garden this year. In addition I’ll be trying to grow wine grapes.

  21. 21
    Indylib says:

    Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing.

    I love Michelle, she’s such a mom.

  22. 22
    Aimai says:

    Those aren’t pickled beets in your falafel sandwich they are pickled turnips probably. I love beets and make a killer beet soup,cold or hot, by grating beets and cooking them with garlic,Ginger,onion and orange juice. Purée and salt and pepper it and serve it with sour cream.

    Aimai

  23. 23
    Just Some (Whistles) says:

    @Laura W:

    Boiled Kale!

    wut?

  24. 24
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    In addition I’ll be trying to grow wine grapes.

    Good luck with that. Train ’em right and train ’em early. When the wife and I moved into our place, the previous owners had a couple of Thompsons vines, and they were all over the place. They did bear some fruit, which wasn’t too bad. But talk about high-maintenance. Also, it can take years until they produce fruit good enough to do anything with.

    I suggest you grow lemons and use them for whisky sours.

    But that’s just me.

  25. 25
    The Other Steve says:

    This is a TERRIBLE waste of tax dollars.

    don’t the Obama’s have anything better to do then waste our tax dollars on meaningless gestures and public stunts!

  26. 26
    Robert Sneddon says:

    To the people who claim beets taste like dirt — how do you know what dirt tastes like?

    Mmmm, pickled beetroot (as it’s known in the UK). Dad used to grow a bunch of it in the garden and harvest and pickle it in the autumn. Problem was all the neighbours and family knew about it and by the time it got to be November we were digging at the back of the cupboard hoping against hope to find just one more semi-forgotten jar and cursing Dad’s open-handed generosity.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Surabaya Stew says:

    Leafy fresh herbs are the best. Basil, parsley, dill, mint, tarragon; all of these rock!

    Beets just suck.

  29. 29
    Comrade Stuck says:

    I love the baby kind of Brussel Sprouts, but the fully mature one don’t go down so good. GAs GAs Gas.

    And then there’s Kale, boiled kind!

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    @Polish the Guillotines: One of my college flatmates and I loved to load up on fresh veggies at one of the farmers’ markets in town. One night we pigged out on fresh beets — steamed with butter and a little salt, yum yum. The following day I scared the bejeesus out of myself when I went potty — until I remembered those beets.

  31. 31
    JL says:

    The Repubs are probably checking to make sure that no tax payer money is used for the garden.

  32. 32

    Beets – Good. Brussels Sprouts – European.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    I honestly don’t understand how people can dislike beets, but overall this is pretty cool.

    Because they taste horrible.

    Also, second on the coolness. Of course, maybe the Obamas know something we don’t?

  34. 34
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    @Ash Can: Our son (now 7 years old) LOVES blueberries. Back when he was around 2 and in day care, we got a frantic call about black poop.

    Which also reminds me of a tactic a friend of mine used to get his son to eat asparagus. He told him it makes your pee smell funny. That’s all it took for the kid to clean his plate.

    Food is fun.

  35. 35
    Krista says:

    Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing.

    Good for her. I love the fact that Michelle obviously adores Barack, but she’s real about it, and isn’t about to let him get too big for his britches with her, just because he’s President.

  36. 36
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Beets are best picked small (about golf ball size) and then pickled in the delightful pickle spices and malt vinegar that make British pickles so delightful. That is exactly the reason I am growing them, apparently my DH likes them as a veg, I am growing them so I can throw them in some vinegar and pickle them, then to be consumed with vast amounts of mature cheddar, crackers, pickled onions, french gherkins, and baby pickled beets. Ahhhhh bliss.

    As an aside, don’t I get a HT for this story at least? Sheesh. In all seriousness though, I think it is wonderful that the Obamas are doing this, do you know that there are 23 million acres of lawn in the US, said 23 million acres of lawn could give up about one acre per household and grow food, also do you know that your average vegetable travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate? 1,500 miles that is an awful lot of gas and emissions to get your lettuce to your plate. On a thread about this very subject a person from Florida was talking about going into a store and seeing Oranges from China and California on sale in the store IN FLORIDA! WTF.

    Simple fact is this, you can dig up one tiny patch of your sorry arsed, weed infested, cide dependent lawn and plant some veggies, and if you can’t do that, dig the damn thing up and plant a wildflower meadow, not only will it give the bees something to feed on but it will feed the birds once the flowers turn to seed.

    Dig a garden, grow some veggies, especially grow veggies that grow like weeds, (beans, squash) whatever you can’t use give to the local food bank or soup kitchen. It is a win win that cannot be beat.

  37. 37
    gnomedad says:

    Why can’t she grow beets just because the President doesn’t like them? Is he going to say, "Ewww, they’re touching my arugula!"?

  38. 38
    TenguPhule says:

    the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II.

    Am I the only one saddened by this fact?

  39. 39
  40. 40
    geg6 says:

    I love this idea! I love to garden. And I love beets…and Brussel sprouts…and asparagus. Damn, now I’m hungry.

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    The Repubs are probably checking to make sure that no tax payer money is used for the garden.

    If any of those assholes bitch about the garden, Michelle should grab them by the ear, haul their sorry cans over to her garden, and make them pull weeds for an hour or two. In other words, make them do a little real work for once in their lives.

  42. 42
    douglasfactors says:

    She should grow Belgian endive, just to piss off the ghost of Lee Atwater.

  43. 43
    bootlegger says:

    @Dennis-SGMM: Hopefully that’s next for Obama. Maybe a wind turbine on the roof.

  44. 44
    San says:

    Beets are yummy.
    I just had a salad — arugula, roasted beets, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar/garlic/olive oil dressing.

  45. 45
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Ninerdave:

    I bought some grape vines from Lowes once, they were reduced by 75% and the poor things were growing out of the plastic bags and cardboard boxes that they were contained in, I felt so sorry for them, and at 75% off I decided I couldn’t resist. I bought two (the most pathetic looking trying hard ones) I planted them by the fence at the side of my yard, cause I figured they would grow along the fence and I would have a nice crop of grapes. *time passes, time passes* Last year (my most recent recollection) they are at least 40 feet tall, having grown up the trees which are by the fence, I would guess that there were about 100lb of grapes on there but you know I just have no compunction to get a step ladder and harvest them, the birds however (especially the Blue Jays and Mocking Birds) think this situation is the greatest thing in the world. I think I ate a grape or two last year, I might have even eaten a whole bunch, other than that, the birds think I am the bees knees.

  46. 46
    qwerty42 says:

    tomatoes.
    alone. in a BLT. in salsa. in … well, a lot.

    anyone tried growing cherries? there is a new variety based on a Hungarian developed stock called "balaton" (after the lake)

    corn. a lot of it. a few friends over on a summer evening. eat outside because it is so nice out. geeze, i’m ready for spring.

  47. 47
    gwangung says:

    Oh, hell. I just ate…and you guys are making me HUNGRY again…

  48. 48
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @qwerty42:

    AND TOMORROW IS SPRING! It’s official, tomorrow is spring, I cannot wait until the Canada Geese start heading north, passing over my area and honking all the way, with suitcases and "Canada or bust" stickers on their butt. Tomorrow is spring……. I am so longing for this.

  49. 49
    jibeaux says:

    If you like roasted beets, take a stab at this recipe, it’s great. I just use plain old goat cheese instead of "quark" and I haven’t even tried to find styrian pumpkin oil or whatever, but the vinaigrette is really nice and you can put the leftover on other salads…

  50. 50
    Wiesel says:

    I hate beets because I had too much Borscht growing up. To me beets and cereal with powdered milk on it are the foods you eat when your family can’t afford anything else.

    Now I’m much better off and I can afford to eat things besides beets, cereal and powdered milk. I thank G-d every time I eat meat, cheese, or tasty fish – because it’s not beets.

    Oh, by the way, eating beets while your Grandparents tell you stories of "The Beet Winter" doesn’t help one gain appreciation for beets. Every time I see or smell beets, I think of some of the stories they told and thank G-d that I have what I do. But I still don’t eat beets, and I won’t again – unless I have nothing else to eat.

    At least the beets give me perspective… I hope the garden teaches Sasha and Malia some of what I learned in our family’s garden growing up.

  51. 51
    Ed Marshall says:

    We are renting a ginormous plot in a local park for the purpose. $50/yr. If you don’t have anything like it in your area ask the city council or whatever why.

  52. 52
    JoyceH says:

    Hmm – what about the Raccoon Issue? A month or so ago, there was a lot of attention to the fact that there were several raccoons on the White House grounds, a big one and several medium ones. I’ve seen press reports that the big one was caught and removed, but what about the others?

    Last year it turned out that all my gardening work went to feed marauding rabbits, so I’m wondering if the raccoon issue has been resolved.

  53. 53
    Xenos says:

    I tried renting a lovely plot in the community gardens, 20′ by 40′, put in corn, sunflowers, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots. The corn and sunflowers did not last the first night (very happy birds, though), but everything else went well until I took a couple weeks off in July. The weeds just overran everything.

    So this year, I will start earlier and will not skimp on the roto-tilling and ground cover stuff I was too cheap to buy last year. Just no way to avoid it, I guess.

  54. 54
    Andre says:

    For fuck’s sake, it’s not "arugula", it’s ROCKET.

    Arugula is only one of its vernacular names, and only in Spanish. English speakers call it rocket. Why do conservatives insist on using a foreign name for something with an English name?

    If you really want to convince your audience you’re talking about something exotic, call it Eruca sativa.

    And even then it’s not as strange a food as "surf and turf".

  55. 55
    Smudgemo says:

    I just harvested a bag-full of arugula (rocket, if one prefers) before dinner because it is growing like crazy and crowding the spinach. I also grabbed three salads worth of baby lettuces (the kind that Chez Panisse here in Berkeley charges a fortune for) and some tasty radishes for dinner. After dinner, my 2yo and I picked spinach leaves for her to snack on because (get this) they taste good.

    Damn shame for those folks that don’t like beets. They grow fairly easily, have lots of good stuff for you and taste awesome cooked in orange juice. Vegetables are so incredible when you pick them and eat them an hour later.

    Vegetable gardens are cool, and aren’t all that hard to keep. Start small and remember that plants want to grow. My favorite how-to book on gardening is Gardening When it Counts by Steve Solomon. If you like advice from crusty, old dudes, this one is for you. Weeds are less of an issue if you space plants properly to get a hoe in there.

  56. 56
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Laura W:

    Yes, Waters has also been a big force behind the Edible Schoolyardprogram. Sounds like the DC schoolkids are already on board.

    Speaking of kale, I had something amazingly delicious and possibly addictive the other day:

    Kale Chips

    And I thought of you, Laura W !

  57. 57
    Anton Sirius says:

    @Ash Can:

    Actually, she should do that to all Congresscritters whether they bitch about the garden or not.

  58. 58
    garyb50 says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: So right on. This was my one suggestion for the stimulus package: Change local zoning to allow vegetable gardening in front yards, have a new department of city workers go out, take up the sod & till the ground & let you plant your garden.

  59. 59
    DFS says:

    Interesting thing I discovered on a trip to New Zealand last year: they are absolutely mad for beets down there (although they call it "beetroot" instead). Beets are ubiquitous to the point that McDonald’s puts a slice of beet on the burgers there.

    Nobody could tell me exactly how or why this came about, though.

  60. 60
    Keith says:

    @Aimai:
    In that case, I definitely have never had a beet before. Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, okra (even boiled and slimy, although deep-fried is best), every squash I’ve ever seen – but growing up all along the Gulf Coast, I never had a beet.

  61. 61
    AhabTRuler says:

    the ghost of Lee Atwater

    is too busy burning in hell to notice such trivialities.

  62. 62
    garyb50 says:

    Oh, & as someone who’s done a vegetable garden almost everywhere I’ve lived my whole life, this came as a real shocker: After buying a bunch of Asparagus on sale @ Krogers a couple days ago I decided I would try to grow some for the first time in my life. Days to Maturity: 912 ! ! !

  63. 63
    randiego says:

    Hmm – what about the Raccoon Issue? A month or so ago, there was a lot of attention to the fact that there were several raccoons on the White House grounds, a big one and several medium ones. I’ve seen press reports that the big one was caught and removed, but what about the others?

    this reminds me… when I lived in DC, there was a big problem with beavers (yes beavers) on the Mall, because they were killing cherry trees…

    random, I know…

  64. 64
    Wilson Heath says:

    Never liked standard grocery-variety dreck beets as a kid. Had some beets that impressed me since and am taking a chance on some homegrown heirloom-type stuff this year. Mrs. Heath thinks this is madness. We will see.

  65. 65
    RueM says:

    @JoyceH:
    Might I suggest square foot gardening? Not only is the small size useful for making it easier to weed and destroy land pests, there’s several cool, easy to make cover types to deter birds, or-my typical pests-your beloved housepets.

    And I hated beets with a mighty passion, until I made a pact with myself to try every cheap vegetable I could buy for a dollar in the local farmers market. Without reservations or hesitations. If the swill that is served from cans tasted like a real, fresh beet, they’d be served at McDonalds.

    I’ve turned my small yard into multiple square foot raised beds with potted coffee and banana plants for fun and new berry bushes.
    As a jamaican, is there really Pajama Jammy Jamaican Jam Marjoram? I mean, seriously?

  66. 66
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Keith:

    I had a friend who grew up in PA, and never saw an artichoke until she moved to CA. Thought it was some sort of pine cone.

  67. 67
    Joshua Norton says:

    I’m actually throwing in a small garden at my brothers house this summer, and we talked about it tonight at dinner.

    If I had the space I’d do the same thing. I’m in the middle of reading "The Omnivore’s Dilemma" and it’s an amazing revelation of agri-business and how our food is grown and processed. The amount of corn you unknowingly eat in processed food (and as feed in animals like beef and chicken) is staggering, just as an example of what I’ve read so far.

    I’d rather grow my own and know what I’m eating.

  68. 68
    sab says:

    I can’t wait until the new puppy (due to arrive by April) destroys the garden, because puppies do destroy everything they can. We’ll see if the Obama parents are as unflappable as they seem to be now.

  69. 69
    AhabTRuler says:

    there was a big problem with beavers (yes beavers) on the Mall

    [eschews cheap, obvious jokes]
    C’mon it’s not like your talking about Vegas or something, we have lots of beavers in this area.

    I had a friend who grew up in PA, and never saw an artichoke until she moved to CA.

    We have those out here, too.

  70. 70
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @AhabTRuler:

    I had a friend who grew up in PA, and never saw an artichoke until she moved to CA.

    We have those out here, too.

    Possibly it had to do with her upbringing in a ’50s Irish-Catholic blue collar family.

    Or not.

  71. 71
    andy in nz says:

    @DFS

    We like beetroot on our burgers cause that is how they came till the golden arches arrived. Did you get a burger with an egg (sunny side up) in it, pure golden yolky bliss!!

    We were once a very poor rural nation where preserved beetroot was in every home (cheap and easy), specially during WW2 when we sent all the good stuff to the UK.

    Oh and we are at the end of the world and insane, hence the love of the beet!

    Personally I like fresh beetroot cut into thin slivers or grated washed until water runs clear on Rocket salad.

  72. 72
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Seems I have a comment that’s either in moderation purgatory or disappeared down the black hole.

    So to repeat the important part, just in case:

    Attention Laura W: Kale Chips !

  73. 73
    mey says:

    The freepers already decided this would be so awesome! Or not.

  74. 74
    SeanH says:

    Why do conservatives insist on using a foreign name for something with an English name?

    Because rocket’s the Limey name for it. The American English name for is arugula.

  75. 75
    Blue Raven says:

    Pickled beets are evil. Fresh beets or canned, though, are devoon.

    I’m old enough that I remember vegetables and fruits having seasons in my local grocery store in Massachusetts. The first bag of oranges was like Christmas to me every year when my mom pulled it out of the grocery bag. I knew I was in paradise when I moved to CA, ate at the late and lamented Good Earth Restaurant for the first time, and saw their idea of a plate garnish was orange slices. Took me years to adjust to avocado, though now I’ll buy one to eat all by myself (the hubby’s not a fan of them as a straight-up snack; he’s a guacamole man).

  76. 76
    Andre says:

    @andy in nz:

    Not to mention that even McDonalds made a Kiwiburger with beetroot AND a fried egg in it.

  77. 77
    2th&nayle says:

    @garyb50: Call around to your local feed store or green houses to see if you can locate some asparagus ‘crowns’ to plant. You’ll still have to wait till next season to harvest the shoots, but it’s better than waiting 912 days. Be sure to plant them where the drainage is good. Asparagus is real susceptible to root rot. Well worth the trouble, in my book.
    @Keith: Don’t feel too bad, I’m from Arkanstone and I had to travel all the way to Montana to taste my first beet. I ask my cousin what was that growing in the field next to his house. He told me it was sugar beets. I didn’t know a sugar beet from a hickory nut, so we pulled a couple up and took a pocket knife and peeled it and ate it like a turnip. Not bad! Course our hands looked liked like we’d been to an Iragi election, but we were kids and didn’t care.

  78. 78
    2th&nayle says:

    @garyb50: Call around to your local feed store or green houses to see if you can locate some asparagus ‘crowns’ to plant. You’ll still have to wait till next season to harvest the shoots, but it’s better than waiting 912 days. Be sure to plant them where the drainage is good. Asparagus is real susceptible to root rot. Well worth the trouble, in my book.@Keith: Don’t feel too bad, I’m from Arkanstone and I had to travel all the way to Montana to taste my first beet. I ask my cousin what was that growing in the field next to his house. He told me it was sugar beets. I didn’t know a sugar beet from a hickory nut, so we pulled a couple up and took a pocket knife and peeled it and ate it like a turnip. Not bad! Course our hands looked liked like we’d been to an Iraqi election, but we were kids and didn’t care.

  79. 79
    StonyPillow says:

    Socialist bees in the White House.

  80. 80
    Blogreeder says:

    I honestly don’t understand how people can dislike beets, but overall this is pretty cool.

    How soon before he puts back the solar panals, you suppose? And maybe a windmill?

  81. 81
    Krista says:

    How soon before he puts back the solar panals, you suppose? And maybe a windmill?

    That would be awesome. Although I’m not sure how windy it is there, so the windmill might not be all that efficient.

  82. 82
    Ash Can says:

    @Krista:

    Although I’m not sure how windy it is there

    That close to Capitol Hill? Should be no problem.

  83. 83
    jibeaux says:

    Also, if they can really get a bunch of fresh produce going for just $200 worth of seeds and mulch, that should actually generate enough positive cash flow to offset the cost of the green dye for the fountains. I’m sure one of the complainers will point this out.

  84. 84
    lutton says:

    More people should keep bees. That’s very cool. I’ve been considering it, but figured my urban neighbors would freak out.

  85. 85
    guest says:

    while they’re at it, they should bring back jfk’s pool that nixon boarded over.

    why did nixon do that?

  86. 86
    guest says:

    @Blogreeder:

    a small effort had already been made:

    http://blog.coolerplanet.com/2.....ite-house/

    the bush white house didn’t want to publicize it.

  87. 87
    aimai says:

    People who want to put in new Gardens should definitely look at the book recommended up above "Square Foot Gardening"

    Its a very engineering based approach to gardening which focuses on growing plants in series in a very small area so that you are always harvesting and replanting in a rational sequence instead of broadcasting seed and spending most of your time weeding and then being faced with a flood of zuchinni and tomatoes all at once. Of course, I’ve never actually planted this kind of garden (!) but I’d like to. And the books really cool.

    aimai

  88. 88
    Krista says:

    why did nixon do that?

    Evidently, it was to give the press more standing room when covering White House events. Wacky.

  89. 89
    KRK says:

    @2th&nayle:

    Sugar beets are cousins to beets (aka beetroot), but not the exact same thing. Sugar beets are grown for processing into sugar, not for direct consumption (except by the curious visitor). For example, if you’re old enough to remember the old brand, "U&I sugar" was beet sugar (originally) from Utah & Idaho as compared to "C&H sugar" (cane sugar from California and Hawaii).

  90. 90
    R-Jud says:

    I’ve been growing herbs since I was a Chicago apartment-dweller and have tried many varieties of basil. Thai Basil has a liquorice flavor to it that definitely makes a difference in stir-fries, but ordinary basil is still closer to my heart and taste buds. Folks growing herbs might also want to try lemon balm (melissa officinalis)– it makes a pleasing hot drink and is super stuffed under the skin of a roasting chicken with lemon zest and sage. And peppermint is nice, but spearmint is superior.

    I will definitely pick up Square Foot Gardening for next year (this year’s plots are already arranged and the seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse). For those of you with limited space you may want to try growing potatoes in a container— we used a large garbage can, and were eating last summer’s crop until about three weeks ago.

  91. 91
    Jon H says:

    Seems like that’d be an idea opportunity to get some DC schoolkids onto the grounds to do some amateur archaeology before the planting. Who knows what would turn up in the dirt.

  92. 92
    guest says:

    @JL:

    The Repubs are probably checking to make sure that no tax payer money is used for the garden.

    rush volunteered to provide the manure.

  93. 93
    Bill Belichick says:

    Once that first batch of cilantro bolts the WH lawn will forever after have cilantro sprouting all over it.

  94. 94
    guest says:

    @R-Jud:

    Folks growing herbs might also want to try lemon balm (melissa officinalis)—it makes a pleasing hot drink.

    sounds wonderful.

  95. 95
    Cris says:

    Forget boiled kale. Deep-fry that stuff.

  96. 96
    Stephen1947 says:

    My main experience of beets for all of formative years was the commercially canned variety – almost as yucky as canned peas… So I totally agree with the Prez – in so many ways a man after my own heart. What I could never understand is how that Publican who sired George W Shrub could have not liked broccoli – probably my favorite vegetable!

  97. 97
    2th&nayle says:

    @KRK: Well, I stand corrected! Thank you for pointing out the difference. Having never seen one before, one beet was about like another to me. Then and now. I do remember my Aunt Myrna being pissed because we got beet juice on us, so I guess those must have been the table variety. Stupid Cousin!

  98. 98
    Joel says:

    Beets are awesome, but most people only encounter the vile, gelatinous, canned variety. Also, the flavor of geosmin is hard for a lot of people to get over.

    But roast them in the oven for an hour, peel the skins and eat? Yum. Delicious. Sweetest vegetable there is.

  99. 99
    LD50 says:

    What I could never understand is how that Publican who sired George W Shrub could have not liked broccoli – probably my favorite vegetable!

    Broccoli? One of nature’s deadliest vegetables! Why, it tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste!

  100. 100
    guest says:

    @Joel:

    an hour?

  101. 101
    guest says:

    @LD50:

    broccoli in teriyaki sauce is yummy.

  102. 102
    ksmiami says:

    I wish we could tax the fuck out of fast food. I like a burger and fries as much as the next person, but between the environmental and health degradation these companies cause plus the insidious way they market to kids, a surcharge like the smoiking tax seems like a smart thing to do and I have a lot of friends in the industry. I am against mandating morality, but people really should not be eating this crap more than 1-2 times per month. It’s like my dad’s cardiologist said, between a fancy packaged burger and an apple, who wins?

  103. 103
    Lrae says:

    I know I am way late jumping into this conversation, but here is a Web site describing the garden to be and even has a cute picture (photo-shopped, surely) of Barack Obama on a shovel: http://www.eattheview.org/petition.

  104. 104
    proteus says:

    Pickle the beets and they will do you well!

  105. 105

    The people I have met who claim to not like beets typically say they "taste like dirt." IMHO, this is because whoever prepared the beets for them didn’t understand that you have to PEEL THEM FIRST.

    I mean really. Is that so hard? You’d think that the White House chefs would know to do that, but at this point it’s possibly a little late to get the Prez to change his mind.

    Oh, I know! Sneak him some of those heirloom varietal beets, the ones that aren’t red.

  106. 106

    I’ve been into organic gardening since I was a kid. I had one of the world’s first organic gardening web sites. It is so incredible to see the first family growing some of their own food, organically! The organic movement has come a long way.

    I always hated beets. The closest thing I like is a turnip green (not the turnip itself). A few years ago, we got our hands on a fresh, organic beet, which we boiled and then grilled. It was good. Guess I should grow a few and see how they go. Anyone has a few seeds, I can trade for all kinds of heirloom seeds (something else I was happy to see the Obamas* do).

    * Wow, I just had to add "Obamas" to my dictionary.

  107. 107
    Troll says:

    Look at me! I said something! Wheeeeee!

  108. 108
    J. B. Roth says:

    While Michelle Obama is planting her White House garden, certain members of Congress are getting ready to deprive us of the right to have our own private garden.

    BEWARE OF THE "Food Safety Modernization Act".

    House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. DeLauro’s husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto – the world’s leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

    DeLauro’s act has 39 co-sponsors and was referred to the House Agriculture Committee on Feb. 4. It calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration to allow the government to regulate food production at all levels – and even mandates property seizure, fines of up to $1 million per offense and criminal prosecution for producers, manufacturers and distributors who fail to comply with regulations.

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