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Sunday, January 17, 2010

The White House Vegetable Garden

OK, I'll admit it - I love Michelle Obama. I am not easily star struck, but I am a true fan. I love her intelligence, her ability and willingness to hug people, especially children. I admire the way she is raising her children, how she maintains a healthy relationship with her husband. And I am envious of her toned arms shown off in sleeveless dresses.

But it is her vegetable garden that makes me smile the most. The idea if turning the lawn into veggies was inpsired, and even if it wasn't orginally her idea, she is the one championing it and causing Americans all over the country to take up veggie gardening. I don't hink that we need to all become gardeners, but I know from experience that growing your own food - even lettuce on a deck - gets us connected to the earth again. It reminds us to eat real food, not simply overprocessed and overmarketed goods.

Every child should get the chance to shell peas. When my son was little, I used to put fresh peas in his lunch bag, but he would only eat them if they were still in the pod! Involving the local schoolchildren in the White House vegetable garden is such a life changing experience for them, and I admire her taking the time to get her hands dirty with them. When I was a naturalist for a summer at a Girl Scout camp in Ohio, one girl was traumatized to learn that carrots were actually roots living in dirt.  Too sad - and preventable.

My friends think of me as a gardener, but I'm basically a vegetable gardener that has discovered the joy of perennial borders. My heart lies in the tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and green beans of the raised beds. The rise in popularity of my hobby has had its drawbacks - some of my supply vendors were sold out or backed up so that the season was nearly over by the time I got supplies - but I welcome new hobbyists to find the same joy I do in planting seeds, watching them grow, nuturing the plants, harvesting the food, and composting the remains to begin the year again.

And maybe, just maybe, digging new beds will help my arms to look a little bit more like the First Lady's.

Copyright 2010,

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