Image from statesman.com
Last year the First Lady planted an organic garden on the grounds of the White House. It was so exciting; a beacon of change: a new government, a new organic garden--the first since war-time's Victory Garden.
The harvest was a huge success. Fifty five different kinds of vegetables, including lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, and greens were grown. This resulted in 1,000 pounds (!) of food, harvested and eaten by White House staff and at State dinners as well as donated to nearby homeless shelters. Now, into its second year, the garden is being expanded by another 400 square feet.
Image from The Seattle Times
The newly planted garden is being enlarged from 1,100 sq. ft to 1,500 sq.ft. It will contain four new vegetables: bok choy, white cauliflower, artichokes and mustard greens. Some other new foods -- figs, corn, melons and pumpkins -- will also be planted in the fertile soil. Last year's successes such as peas, spinach, carrots, sorrel, radish, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and leeks will be planted again. Also around for the second year is the White House beehive.
Joined by school children in a symbolic planting, they all performed a "growing dance" around the wooden planter. The group chanted "grow, rhubarb, grow" several times then circled the planter and finished by throwing their hands in the air.
Image from Inhabitat
They wanted to demonstrate that a four season garden was possible in Washington D.C. So they protected the seedlings by using small "hoop houses." These are simple structures that many growers use. Metal bars arched over the beds are covered with plastic covering. This keeps the snow out and traps in the heat by day so that plants don't freeze over night.
They harvested 50 pounds of food during the winter using these structures. Given the snow in Washington this past winter, that was quite an achievement. The White House chef said that they had "been enjoying the lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, and greens."