Friday, March 25, 2011

You Can Garden Like Michelle Obama, With Special White House Seed Sampler Pack

The temperature is in the low 2os today in Washington, DC, but First Lady Michelle Obama's White House Kitchen Garden was re-planted for Spring last week. And now, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has made it very easy for home gardeners to follow Mrs. Obama's lead. For the second year, they're offering a Kitchen Garden Sampler White House Edition seed pack. Available for $18, it contains seeds for President Jefferson's favorite vegetables, which are being grown in Mrs. Obama's garden in a special bed in honor of the former Gardener in Chief. (Above: Mrs. Obama planting spinach last week)

Gleaned from Jefferson's lush and historically accurate garden at Monticello, his plantation home in Virginia, the Kitchen Garden Sampler White House Edition has seeds for Tennis-ball Lettuce, Prickly-seeded Spinach, Red Calico Lima Bean, Sesame, Globe Artichoke, and Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage.

During last week's Spring Planting of the 34 newly boxed beds, the Jefferson favorites installed in Mrs. Obama's 1,500 square foot Kitchen Garden included Tennis-ball, Brown Dutch, and Aleppo lettuces; broccoli and purple broccoli; artichokes; kale; and three kinds of cabbage--Savoy, red, and Early Jersey Wakefield. (Above: The seed pack)

The text on the seed packet reads:

Michelle Obama recently declared that the White House kitchen garden “has been one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life so far.” An admirer of Thomas Jefferson and inspired by a visit to the Monticello garden, White House Chef and Coordinator of the White House Food Initiative, Sam Kass, reserved a discrete section of this garden in honor of Thomas Jefferson. In the spring of 2009 it was planted with seeds and plants of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite vegetable varieties. The Jefferson legacy in gardening and food is not a mere historical curiosity, but a compelling force in the movement toward a more sustainable agricultural future. This sampler includes the following seed packs: Tennis-ball Lettuce, Prickly-seeded Spinach, Red Calico Lima Bean, Sesame, Globe Artichoke, and Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage

The First Lady made her declaration about the garden being "one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life so far" as she spoke at the opening ceremony for the Farmers Market By the White House, in September of 2009. The market, run by FRESHFARM Markets, is located two blocks from the White House on 810 Vermont Avenue, NW. It opens for its third season this year on May 5.

Related: Does President Obama work in the Kitchen Garden? Find out here. The First Lady first broke ground for the Kitchen Garden on March 20, 2009. Originally 1,q00 square feet, the garden was expanded by 400 square feet at the First Lady's behest during the second Spring Planting on March 31, 2010. The First Lady will publish a book about the Kitchen Garden in April of 2012, she announced last week, after school kids and Senior East Wing staffers joined Mrs. Obama for the Spring Planting. A video and transcript of Mrs. Obama's remarks at the Spring Planting is here. Read about Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Gardening gear here.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama.com