By Eddie Gehman Kohan, Founder, ObamaFoodorama.com
The White House Kitchen Garden is “beautiful” and “amazing,” says First Lady Michelle Obama, who started it in 2009 to teach kids about the wonders of fresh fruits and vegetables. Every year Mrs. Obama invites elementary school children from around the nation to help her plant and harvest.
Dozens of vegetable varieties grow in the garden, including carrots, lettuces, cucumbers, broccoli, pumpkins, tomatoes, and eggplant.
And Mrs. Obama has also included some unusual plant varieties to show kids the many options for growing their own. These include sea kale, grown in Europe since Roman times; Kohlrabi, a cabbage variety popular in German-speaking countries; and mizuna, a Japanese variety of mustard.
You don’t have to have a big backyard to grow your own vegetables at home, Mrs. Obama says. It’s an easy and fun project to create a container garden for a porch, a patio, or a balcony that gets plenty of sunlight. And a sunny windowsill is ideal for a miniature herb garden.
For a container garden, big flower pots, utility buckets, and plastic-lined baskets are perfect for growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and lettuces. Vegetables can be grown from seed or young plants can be transplanted.
For a windowsill garden, little flowers pots, plastic beverage bottles cut in half, and even old serving bowls can be used to grow fresh herbs for your favorite recipes. Basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and mint all grow quickly. Seeds can be started in an egg carton, and then moved into larger containers when they need more room.
Visit the Let’s Move website for information about all kinds of gardening: http://www.letsmove.gov/gardening-guide