How does First Lady Michelle Obama's White House kitchen garden grow?
Without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and with lots of leafy greens all in a row.
See it for yourself, at the White House's Fall Garden Tours:
- Friday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Michelle Obama started the kitchen garden in 2009—it's the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden, according to the White House's blog. Although it is not a certified organic garden, it is not treated with pesticides or synthetics, James R. Adams, National Park Service ranger, told Patch.
At this time of the year, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes still are being harvested in the garden. When the weather turns colder, leafy greens—bok choy, kale, spinach—and root vegetables will be harvested.
The garden also produces hyacinth beans, which were grown from heirloom seeds from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Adams said.
The garden's produce is harvested by National Park Service employees as well as by White House chefs, who often pick produce from the garden as it is needed in the kitchen. The produce is used for the first family's meals as well as for functions at the White House. Leftover produce is donated to Miriam's Kitchen in Washington, DC, Adams added.
Next to the White House Kitchen Garden is the beehive, home to about 70,000 to 80,000 bees in the springtime, Susie Morrison, assistant White House pastry chef, told Patch.
The honey harvested from the beehive is used in the White House kitchen as an alternative to white sugar. Many of the desserts produced in the kitchen are fruit-based and sweetened with honey, Morrison said.
The honey is also used to brew beer, Morrison added.
Fall Garden Tours are free and open to the public, but tickets are required for all visitors (including small children). On Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, the National Park Service will distribute free, timed tickets at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion (at 15th and E streets NW) starting at 8 a.m.
"Tickets will be distributed—one ticket per person—on a first-come, first-served basis," according to the White House's blog.