Over the next few weeks, the White House will be preparing its organic garden for the upcoming spring planting, which will add an extra 500 square feet of space, as per the request of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Despite the “snowmageddon” of 2010, the White House’s garden continues to flourish and was harvested in early March.
“We have been enjoying the lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, and greens ever since. From the beginning, we wanted to demonstrate that a four-season garden was indeed possible even in Washington D.C.,” says White House chef Sam Kass.
Using a smaller version of “hoop houses,” White House gardeners protected the precious produce from up to two feet of snow in one week.
The structures were made from a series of four to five metal bars arched over the beds. A fixed plastic covering trapped the heat of the sun during the day to keep the plants from freezing at night.
“We were cautiously optimistic that our hoop houses would protect the crops and were pleasantly surprised,” Kass says. “All told we harvested just under 50 pounds of produce. A modest harvest compared to what the summer had brought, but it is exciting to have been able to produce food during a long harsh winter.”
Last spring, the First Lady installed a 1,100-square-foot organic garden to promote locally grown fruits and vegetables to educate Americans about eating healthy.
The garden features 55 different types of vegetables, many at the request of the White House kitchen staff. All the crops will start with organic seeds, and the Obamas use several methods to ensure the garden is environmentally friendly.