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December 9, 2009

White House vegetable garden



It is a different kind of hoops at the White House, where President Obama regularly plays pick-up basketball with friends and aides.

Perhaps taking the advice from a young woman intern the Slow Food blog, the White House has put so-called hoop houses over the White House vegetable garden, to trap the heat of the sun and continue to grow crops all winter.

Emily Stephenson made the suggestion, and even included diagrams of how the hoop houses could best be installed.

And, sure enough, the hoops when up and then the coverings went on. (Not the plastic that is ordinarily used, but a bio-friendly fabric.)

Eddie Gehman Kohan, who does such an excellent job of
keeping track of such things on the blog Obama Foodorama, says the White House is growing lettuces, cabbage, winter radishes, onions, broccoli, turnips and carrots, which will only add to the harvest already calculated to be more than 1,000 pounds.

The White House is located deep in Zone 7 so, barring terrible cold, the garden should remain warm, cozy and productive in its sunny spot on the South Lawn.

A hoop house is actually much larger that what the White House has installed, which might more correctly be called row covers. You can actually walk inside a real hoop house and tend plants on tables.

But these row covers can easily be flipped off for weeding, watering or harvesting.

Photos courtesy of Obama Foodorama

Posted by Susan Reimer at 11:14 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: White House Vegetable Garden



Great idea and neet looking "greenhouses"

Your readers with late season herb and vegetable gardens may well find that they will grow more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

They may want to visit - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling backyard gardeners to share their crops with neighborhood food pantries.

The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

More than 1,200 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the
pantry (for after the growing season). enables people to help their community by reaching into their back yard instead of their back pocket.

Lastly, if your reader's community has a food pantry, they should make sure the pantry registers on Its free.

Just as an FYI -- wanted to share with you some great work being done in Uganda with Project Disc (part of SlowFood Iternational) to help build gardens in schools to teach nutrition and the importance of vegetables. We visited nearly a dozen of their schools last week.
Here is the link on the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet Blog

How to Keep Kids ”Down on the Farm” (1st in series)

Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack are also blogging from across East Africa on a website called Border Jumpers, check it out at

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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