Everyone is thrilled with Michelle Obama’s herb & veggie garden

First Lady plants Kitchen Garden at White House in Washington

Michelle Obama spent some time Thursday in her garden, as many ladies do, come springtime. Except that Michelle’s garden is the new White House fruit and vegetable garden, and what the garden produces will most likely be served to heads of state.

Michelle planted some good stuff – lettace, dill, oregano, rosemary, onions, shallots, cucumbers, peppers and peas. No carrots? Oh, well. Students from Bancroft Elementary School helped the First Lady plant, and she told the students that everyone in the world is excited about the White House garden. US Magazine has more:

First Lady Michelle Obama threw on a pair of brown gloves and helped plant the first fruit and vegetable seeds Thursday in the new White House garden.

Among the crops planted: lettuce, herbs – including dill, oregano and rosemary – onions, shallots, cucumbers, peppers and peas.

Twenty-five students from Washington’s Bancroft Elementary School helped her plant.
“One thing I want to let you know — I don’t know if you were paying attention, but the President and I, we went on this long trip. We were in many, many countries — we were in Europe. And the number one question I got as the First Lady from world leaders — they were all excited about this garden,” she said.

“Every single person, from Prince Charles on down, they were excited about the fact that we were planting a garden, because in many countries they really believe in the importance of planting and growing your own food. So they were fascinated and grateful to all of you for helping make this possible.”

She then asked the students to guess the cost of the garden. After one guessed “over $100,000,” she said President Barack Obama would “go crazy” if it cost that much.

The garden “hasn’t cost us more than $200″ and would yield “a ton of stuff,” she finally told them.

Asked when the much anticipated White House dog would arrival, the first lady said, “Soon … so soon.”

From US Magazine

National Geographic had a special about Air Force One, and it had a lot of cool information not only about the plane, but the food served to the president, his staff and the press. Apparently, for both Air Force One and the White House, military personnel and Secret Service agents don plain clothes and travel all over Washington, Maryland and Virginia to buy food. They don’t go to the same places from week to week, just so no one knows who is buying the food and for what purpose. Even when they bring the food back to the plane or the White House, there’s no way of knowing exactly what will make it to the President, so it’s a way of protecting him in case some rogue produce vendor is trying to poison the president. I mention this because I’d bet the Secret Service is really pleased they will have less shopping to do – the White House chefs can simply go to the back garden to get their salads and herbs.

First Lady plants Kitchen Garden at White House in Washington

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51 Responses to “Everyone is thrilled with Michelle Obama’s herb & veggie garden”

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  1. for_realz says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the Obamas!

    Finally a First Family that we can be proud of again!

  2. gavin says:

    ..What penny pincher’s they are. So I suppose we should all be able to plant our own food when they put the nail in the bankrupting American people coffin bailing out money making banks like Wells Fargo with out tax payer money.
    Penny wise pound foolish here folks. This kind of PR move is an advance layering move so when people are starving they can hold themselves up as example of producing their own food. Did they have a greenthumb before entering the whitehouse? Or no, too busy serving on fake boards with their neighborhood friends. I am sorry I voted for these fakers,
    So Barack would go crazy if a garden cost a lot of money…but does not even think twice to utilize Air Force one to plan dream date like the Chicago Valentine’s affair… millions on their valentine’s date at taxpayer expense? Strange…. strange what kind of sugar coating can be crammed down the American people’s throats.

  3. Tori says:

    @Gavin – You’re an idiot. Do you even read articles before you post about them?

  4. Orangejulius says:

    It’s wonderful to see her doing this. What a great example to set. She’s walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

  5. Annie says:

    @Tori – My vote is no. lol.

    I think it’s great what they’re doing and screw any naysayers, they’ll find something wrong with anything!

    If she were to run into a burning house and save a baby right now, someone, somewhere would find an awful spin on it.

    It’s just how some people are.

    On that note: LOVE THE OBAMAS TOO!! I’m so proud. :D Because you know what? Growing your own garden doesn’t just cut back your expenses, but it’s a million times healthier!

  6. Ernestine says:

    Shut the fuck up and swallow your bitter-ass pill, Gavin.

    Yay, Obamas!

  7. for_realz says:

    @ gavin

    Maybe you would be more comfortable on some other web site where your inane comments are appreciated.

  8. boomchakaboom says:

    Whether you like the Obamas or not, a garden is just awesome. We always have one and nothing taste better than it does fresh from the garden. I can’t imagine why anyone, GAVIN, would object to a little self sustaining project. What the heck do you think Victory Gardens were all about? Why don’t YOU go plant a tomato or something else to stuff in your mouth?

  9. MomInNH says:

    I love growing my own herbs, veggies and a few fruits with my children! It’s easier to get a child to eat a vegetable they’ve grown themselves and I can feed my family delicious meals for less by growing things myself.

    I think the Obamas are trying to encourage people to think about what they’re spending money on and how they can bring that cost down. It might mean buying store brand items instead of brand names, growing your own foods if you live in a place where that’s an option for you. Even in an apartment you can grow several things in pots.

    And Gavin… I think I have a ladder here to help you off your high horse.

  10. SolitaryAngel says:

    AMEN, everyone except GAVIN! (You need a nice hot cup of STFU btw). I was raised with vegetable gardens & fruit trees, and it’s wonderful to walk outside and pick your own dinner or snack. It’s about time we had someone in the House who talks the talk and walks the walk!

    Yes we can!

  11. Anna says:

    The point is: Michelle is setting a great example, in lots of ways. I love this First Family and I’m not even American. They are an inspiration and they are good people.

    As far as Air Force One goes: I think the coolest feature on the plane is a fully operational (no pun intended) operation room. Yep, they can actually perform surgery on AFO. I want a plane like that too! :)

  12. Mori says:

    They’re in Washington, DC. Same weather there as here in Michigan. Totally staged. You’ll notice that none of those herbs are large because they’ve JUST BEEN PLANTED!

    Any gardener would know this.

  13. geronimo says:

    “…because in many countries they really believe in the importance of planting and growing your own food.”

    I was kind of thrown by this remark. Do Americans not believe in this? Do they not do this, grow their own? I grew up with all-year-round fresh garden produce so the idea that it’s not the norm for most people I find really strange.

    Oh, and Gavin, stick something fresh and home-grown in that pie-hole of yours and give your brain some much-needed nourishment.

  14. JaundiceMachine says:

    Very awesome! Thanks for covering this story, Kaiser. I’ve been rooting for the Victory Garden since my hippy grandma sent me this website – http://www.eattheview.org/. So for once, I’m one step ahead of the gossip!

    Ps – Gavin you are a bitter little turd. Go stick your head in a plastic bag and think about life for a while!
    It doesn’t matter if Michelle hasn’t planted so much as sunflower previously – she is using her power and influence to introduce the concept of sustainable living to the masses. It’s called the power of celebrity, and I would hope one would grasp that concept before spouting off on a celebrity website.

  15. Mori says:

    I also wanted to add in, (being as I actually LIVE on a farm in Michigan) Washington, D.C. is the same Zone as Michigan. We begin planting the second week of MAY.

    Everyone should learn to grow some sort of food, even if you live in an apartment and it’s just herbs but this is nothing more than a foto op. The ground in this Zone is still rock hard.

  16. for_realz says:

    @ Mori

    And what exactly is wrong with planting seedlings that have already been sprouted?

    Considering how many people there are to feed in the White House, not everything can be started from seed.

    Any gardener would know this….sheesh!

    Just as anyone who viewed these pictures would realize that they were taken during the ground breaking, not “totally staged”.

  17. for_realz says:


    Maybe you need to spend some time sharpening your tools and less time on the internet.

    A garden is a bit different from whatever farm you may live on. Hope you don’t share your nasty attitude with your plants.

  18. okay... says:

    Hey people, guess what? Not everyone has to agree with you.

    “Celebitchy aims to be a friendly, welcoming site where people can discuss entertainment stories and current events in a lighthearted, safe environment without fear of harassment, excessive negativity, or bullying. Different opinions, backgrounds, ages, and nationalities are welcome here – hatred and bigotry are not.”

    You all need to chill the hell out. I’ve been coming to this site for a long time. I don’t post much, but I do read a lot of the comments. Some of you are ridiculous with the way you attack those who don’t agree with you. Everyone is allowed their own opinion and they have just as much right to voice that opinion as you do. Gavin didn’t attack any of you. You may not agree with what he said and that’s fine but you don’t need to tell him to leave the site or to STFU. Come on people, play nice.

  19. M.I. Opinion says:

    Many vegtables and herbs need to be planted BEFORE the last frost. Lettuce, Peas, ect…which is exactly what they are doing at the right time of year. After Mother’s day in May for everything else. Planting is usually done in stages so that the gifts from the garden don’t all come to fruition all at once.

    @Geronimo: I grew up in Chicago, and with the exception of maybe an odd person or two, nobody grew their own food. I live downtown, and for the past 10 years I have had an amazing veggie garden on our roof deck, all grown in pots. You should see the looks on peoples’s faces when they would come to see it…they’d even ask to bring their kids back to see it, it was considered so unusual. Now, with the Obama’s showing how easy and fun it is, I bet a lot more people will try it!

  20. Kaiser says:

    Geronimo – You’d be surprised. Backyard gardens went out of style for a while, but thankfully they’ve come back in vogue the past few years.

    Mori – What? We plant in the Spring. As in, right now.

  21. Dingles says:

    I love this family and this administration so much. To me, they represent the American dream and what American citizens are supposed to be and can be. Michelle Obama is made of win, far as I’m concerned.

  22. geronimo says:

    @M.I. Opinion – beautiful! And a really important point, that not having a ‘garden’ is no barrier to having a garden. And I agree with you, kaiser and all the other green thumbed posters here, anything that encourages people to do this is a good thing and worth celebrating.

  23. michellle says:

    I too love the Obamas, despite disagreeing w/ some of this administration’s decisions. So pleased to see them representing the US overseas, (moronic gifts aside.)Regardless, what type of fool would begrudge gardening, especially those involving the participation of inner city school kids?

    Geronimo: That statement is a huge generalization. Many people here do indeed grow their own or ar least supplement their diets this way. Though it was a more traditional practice prior to the WWII economic boom. However, today it is again on the rise as people are becoming wiser about biodiverse habitats & the benefits of green gardening as organic food is costly. Still, the US remains a country where food is relatively very inexpensive & as a result portions like people tend to be huge. So yes there are many who find both the art & science of gardening pointless. Too bad but to each his own I suppose.

    Mori: As a gardener w/ an undergrad BS in plant science, living in DC I’d like to point out our earth is not rock hard. Granted most are focusing on cold hardy plants at the moment but it is possible to successfully plant the same seedlings Michelle & co. have at this time so long as they are protected by tenting/plastics. Personally, I’d have waited out the frost cycle just to be sure & to avoid having to bother w/ protective coverings. So I guess there’s room for photo-op speculation. But so what? It’s a positive message & considering how well maintaind their grounds are I doubt the added attention is a big problem. Finally, it is indeed customary to start seedlings from seeds indoors, so while they may have simply bought those small plants they may have also started them themselves. While this type of plant cultivation falls more within horticulture rather than agronomy I’m surprised a farmer like yourself wouldn’t know these things.

  24. Bodhi says:

    I LOVE that the Obama’s have planted this garden!

  25. geronimo says:

    @Michelle – I guess it was just a simplified way of explaining the concept of growing your own to kids who wouldn’t necessarily have had any experience of it.

  26. Kelly says:

    Mori, of course that photo is of them planting seeds and starts, not harvesting the. They dug the plot a couple weeks ago. What did you think they were doing?

    Here in DC we’re beyond our last frost date, my seedlings are already being hardened off on my front porch as I write this (its a beautiful 68 degrees) and the soil is warming up nicely. Finaly, our area is a few zones WARMER than yours. How experienced are you, I wonder…

  27. JaundiceMachine says:

    I hope that the Obamas start a compost pile, next. It’s the next logical step, and it will help provide nutrients for next year’s crop as well.

    In fact, with the amount of food waste generated by the average American household everyone should consider composting. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s sustainable.

    I’m an urban apartment dweller and I’ve started vermicomposting this winter. I’m amazed at how dramatically my garbage has been reduced – and I’m anticipating a summer harvest for my dirt (which will make my little herb garden so happy!).

    Check out some of these sites – they all have easy, inexpensive ideas for vermicomposting.



    (A cheap, easy explanation on a bin set-up. This is the bin I use. Cannot stress how easyit is to make. Even without powertools.)

    http://www.wormwoman.com/acatalog/index.html (*Mary Appelhof is a pioneer in composting. Her book “Worms Eat My Garbage” is a great step-by-step guide for anyone considering starting a wormery. She spells out the process for everyone, from “fair-weather composters” (yours truly!) to the hard-core wormers. She also provides ideas for progress charts and harvest schedules – it’s great way to get kids involved in the “experiment”!)

    And for those of you who are grossed out by worms – consider Bokashi. It’s a Japanese pickling solution that quickly decomposes food waste. It’s a great alternative if you don’t have a porch for worm storage. My friend’s been doing it with great results!



  28. daisy424 says:

    Geronimo, I have always had a veggie garden and split it up in sections so my kids could each grow what they wanted.
    Unfortunately they always lost interest by late summer and I was the one pulling up the slack. We have a very short growing season here in NE Ohio. Seems like by the time I was getting decent tomatoes, it was Autumn so I switched to cherry tomatoes.
    btw, a couple days ago, my blooming daffodils were covered in snow….

    Side note;CB thanks for the edit feature again!!!!

  29. Leandra says:

    Growing gardens has fallen out of style lately even for those with available land when it’s so easy to just buy the stuff….Mrs. Obama is setting a good example which is great and a money saver too….good on her!

  30. Annie says:

    I grow my own fresh herbs and can’t wait to move into a more permanent place so that I can start growing more!

    And I can tell you this, when I have kids, we’re gonna be growing a vegetable garden without a doubt. Right now, my parents are starting one for my younger sister and she’s really learning from it.

    I’m glad they’re putting it “back in style”. It’s just practical and gets kids off their asses! The obesity problem is horrible enough and gen y is just too damn spoiled. It’ll be good to teach the next generation appreciation and the positive results of hard work.

  31. yae says:

    Nothing more delicious than an omelete cooked in olive oil with a sprig of rosemary from my garden. What a wonderful, earthy gesture on Michelle’s part

  32. Lynda Pringle says:

    I think we need an explanation of what constitutes a trollish post. I thought “swallowing bitter pills” was crossing that line. How was my post any worse? Of course, I have no quibble with you censoring your own blog but keep in mind that is what you are doing – censoring opposing opinions rather than keeping the truly offensive away. :-)

  33. Lynda Pringle says:

    One last thing – I enjoy your blog – so no hard feelings on my part about my political posts being moderated – I will continue to read it since it’s good.

  34. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Actually this is very smart. It’s good to have what my grandfather always called a “kitchen herb garden” even if you have nothing else going on. I have sweet basil, pineapple sage, and a lovely rosemary that I can just step out to the south side of the house and pick for use in recipes. I’m planning on getting some thyme in there, too.

    I also grow our tomatoes (cherry and regular sized), bell peppers, strawberries, lots of other foods.

    I was honestly surprised the White House cooking staff didn’t already have at least an herb garden, but I guess they didn’t. It’s a good idea for any family–many herbs are easy to grow and easy to use and there are lots of veggies that are easy to grow, as well.

    I can’t believe anyone could actually find FAULT with the First Lady planting an herb and veggie garden, good Lord people!

  35. Jean says:

    Alice Walters, one of the early advocates of home gardening, has been interviewed (60 Minutes, maybe??), and she said it has long been her hope that a President would start a garden at the White House.
    As an Master Gardener and a strong supporter of backyard vegetable and herb gardening, I love what the Obama family is doing.

  36. ChristinaT says:

    tomatoes are the best thing to grow in a garden… especially heirlooms… why would she skip tomatoes????

  37. nina says:

    I don’t think its about the money. It’s more about eating healthy and teaching people about going organic and living a healthy lifestyle. Everything in my salad comes from my garden. It’s fresh, its clean and tastes wonderful.

  38. drm says:

    @nina – exactly it is about being ENCOURAGING. Many people have never grown their own veggies or gardened. I think its fantastic a wonderful example of cheeful, resourceful thinking. We all know obesity is rising, that there are kids in America and all over the world who form part of the ‘urban poor’ who have never had fresh vegetables store bought or otherwise. Many cities are bringing back allotments which were so popular during WWII and afterwards for growing vegetables and the Obamas’ example can only encourage many people to give it a go.

    And Gavin? If the President wants to take his wife on a dream date then he bloody well can. They sacrifice so much both individually, as a couple and as a family…STFU.

  39. me says:

    interesting. most gossip readers voted obama.

  40. lachica says:

    lol @ # 39.

    i think it’s possible for this to be a PR move (which it is) and also to be a good thing (which it also is). i don’t see these positions as mutually exclusive. it’s kind of sad when folks become so either-or that they can’t see that the point being made by the person they are criticizing (in this case Gavin) can quite easily co-exist with theirs. it is terrific that the Obamas are planting a veggie garden and setting a wonderful example of how to cope in these tough times. it is also true that Barack Obama spent $125 million wasteful dollars on his inauguration, which is $80 million more than Bush spent on his. and those are tax dollars people. this garden is indeed evidence that he is being penny wise and pound foolish.

  41. Bellatrix says:

    I’ve grown up surrounded by homegrown herbs, plants and fruit. It seems as though it is a normal thing to do…
    As Geronimo, I wasn’t aware that Americans weren’t into growing their own “backyard food” anymore.

    I thought it was a part of life as in the cycle of seasons. Can’t have strawberries in the winter for example: that makes sense…
    You couldn’t bring up children more aware of the global ecology system than with a garden. It’s a patch of real nature that makes you slow down and learn that options are not always available and that you have to work hand in hand with our planet (sounds yummy corny) in order to achieve something good you’ll enjoy.

    We’ve moved a lot and I have had the great pleasure to enjoy very different kinds of garden delights depending on the climat. From sprouts to raspberries (which I thought were extremely easy to grow to my own surprise) to having fig trees, lemon trees, elder trees…
    Herbs can be done by apartment owners too (which is my case now) and there’s even a very cute expression from Corsica that compares spoiled children to basilica grown on the window sill…

    My two cents here is that nobody has mentionned growing mint. I couldn’t live without my homegrown mint plant. It requires almost no attention and makes for a daily companion (fresh mint tea, in vegetable and fruit salads, etc.). There isn’t an easier plant to grow in my opinion.

    If you have a spot in your backyard (not a huge space, mind you but still enough for them to run and fool around), a few chickens make it even more fun.
    I have great childhood memories of having to save up the eggs because we needed them for the cake to bake the next day and we only had two chickens. Or the time our chickens discovered their first snowflakes. Gardens are true treats!

  42. NJMDPS says:

    Great photo op for her!

  43. czarina says:

    Has the Whitehouse never had a vegetable garden before? I mean, is this an entirely new thing?
    People are making a huge political/economic issue out of it, but it could be that Mrs. Obama was encouraging young people to be aware of plants and agriculture, the life cycle of plants, etc. which they learn in school, rather than trying to drive home some economic lesson (i.e. that you need to save money by growing your own vegetables.)
    My kids have always been encouraged to grow plants, etc. in school.
    Not everything the First Lady does has to have overwhelming political/economic connotations.
    Sometimes there are other lessons to learn, too.

  44. daisy424 says:

    Czarina, I found this interesting;
    ‘Several past U.S. presidents had vegetable gardens on the White House lawn. Eleanor Roosevelt started a victory garden on the White House lawn in 1943, which encouraged millions to do the same in their own front yards.’

    I would wager that at the very least, the earliest occupants of the WH have had veggie gardens.

    I have never found it to be more economical to grow my own vegetables though. Herbs in pots on my deck, yes. It seems that by the time I would add up the cost of topsoil, sand, peat, compost, baskets for the beans & tomatoes, watering (and a rototiller if you don’t own own already), it was cheaper to buy the green beans or tomatoes from local farm stands here in the Midwest. Plus our dogs would always help themselves to whatever they could reach!
    But gardening with my kids was a great way to get them outside in the sun & fresh air away from TV & video games.
    I do still grow the herbs.

  45. czarina says:

    @daisy424–Thanks for the info! I was sure it couldn’t have been a totally new idea!
    I agree for the average urban/suburbanite growing your own veggies is not more economical. I, myself, have never been a gardener, except the summer I was I was pregnant with my first child. I guess all those gestating hormones took over and I had a garden dug in my backyard and grew EVERYTHING. It turned out wonderfully, but after that summer I never had the time to take care of a garden again!

  46. Tess says:


    They sacrifice so much for us???? Individually…as a couple…

    hey, drm, you really are a stitch.

    Is that why politicians beg, borrow, and steal, not to mention throwing longtime friends and associates under the bus? Just so they can get to the point where they can do some serious sacrificing for us? The little people???

    Oh, yeah. Nothing in it for them. Not at all.

  47. Aspen says:

    “If the President wants to take his wife on a dream date then he bloody well can. They sacrifice so much both individually, as a couple and as a family…STFU.”

    Okay…my response to this has NOTHING to do with the Obamas because I honestly don’t care if they went out on a date together in Air Force One. I didn’t care when Hillary took Chelsea all over creation and spent all that money, either.

    But I laughed out LOUD at this quote. Yeah…I’m sure you’d feel that way if it was John and Cindy McCain or if it had been George and Laura Bush, right? Maybe I’m way off base in my assumption that this was just blatant Obama worship, but the tone of this entire comment list would indicate that I’m not.

    As for the veggie garden? I seriously want to adopt Michelle Obama. I love this woman. I really, REALLY dislike what’s going on in our government right now, but I adore Michelle Obama. She is a wonderful First Lady.

  48. the original kate says:

    um…..WTF is wrong with you people (mori & gavin)? it’s a freaking vegetable garden, that’s all. mori, you should concentrate on your own garden and stay out of the obama’s. and gavin….what exactly is your problem? you seem to have no idea of how lovely fresh herbs are in cooking, or how nice tomatoes are right off the vine, chopped and put in a salad. maybe the next time you are going to mc donalds you should go to a farmer’s market instead…you might learn something.

  49. the original kate says:

    @ bellatrix & daisy: i really enjoyed reading your posts. i also grow peppermint in my back yard and use it alot (ok, mostly in mojitos!). i am curious if either of you bake? i am a baker by profession and i have a mother levain in my kitchen that i use for bread sponges. i started it about 4 years ago from fermenting grapes, and it now lives in a plastic bin with a lid in my pantry. it is pretty big, and i “feed” it daily…my boyfriend calls it “the blob”. it really makes a big difference in baking bread, the levain adds a richness and depth that store-bought yeast simply can’t. also you will never have bread that fails to rise when you use levain! as for chickens, i would love some in my yard,but i have two mastiffs, and they would really love chickens in the yeard!

  50. daisy424 says:

    @ Kate, I admit that I had to google levain, and was surprised at what I found! I never knew about it.
    I used to bake more when the kids were young, and bread was a favorite in our house. Mmmm, warm fresh baked bread with butter, sometimes honey! I would hide wheat germ in it, they never knew it was good for them. I bet your sourdough is to die for. Thanks for the info!
    As far as your Mastiffs, dear god, they must be huge pups, but I bet they would love chasing the chickens! lol

    @czarina, sounds like you were ‘nesting’ when you prepped your garden. I know, it’s hard with little ones to keep up with hobbies. I started with watermelons or pumpkins with my kids. Some of them only got as big as softballs, but they were proud that they grew something.
    As far as your comments about the first Lady, I agree. I appreciate what she is trying to convey, not just the students, but to the country as well.

    @Aspen, amen!!

  51. gg says:

    kate, that is really interesting! Thanks for the info. I will check it out further.

    I am a huge gardening fan. However, a) it certainly hasn’t saved any money, after all the expensive supplies, including daily watering, and then all the squirrels, bugs and birds eating the outcome; and b) starting seeds right in the ground is really not so smart (depending of course on the type). A hard rain will break delicate seedlings. I have enjoyed using fresh herbs but I learned a long time ago that if you’re going to plant seeds, start them indoors first. No way is this little garden going to “feed the white house” though – that’s totally farfetched.

    It’s a wonderful message to get people outside and children interested in plants though. There are waaay too many morbidly obese people in the world right now sitting around doing nothing, day after day. Being outside is great therapy, physical and mental.