Gardens in the news

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I ran across these two articles about gardens. I hope this is the correct place to share. I'll put them in separate posts because of the size.

First lady breaks ground on 'kitchen garden'
Students will help plant fruits, vegetables to supply White House kitchen

WASHINGTON - The White House has a new garden.

First lady Michelle Obama broke ground Friday on a new garden near the fountain on the South Lawn that will supply the White House kitchen.

She was joined by students from Bancroft Elementary School in the District of Columbia. The children will stay involved with the project, including planting the fruits, vegetables and herbs in the coming weeks and harvesting the crops later in the year.
Mrs. Obama spent time earlier this week at an exhibit on rooftop gardening.

"We're going to get a big one in our back yard, the South Lawn," she promised the volunteers.

Such a White House garden has been a dream of noted California chef Alice Waters, considered a leader in the movement to encourage consumption of locally grown, organic food. She has been appealing for change through the taste buds since the 1960s.

She organized a series of fundraising dinners in Washington before President Barack Obama's inauguration in January that served foods purchased from local producers at an area farmer's market to show how it can be done.

Reached Thursday at her Berkeley, Calif., restaurant, Chez Panisse, Waters said she was thrilled by the news.

"It just tells you that this country cares about people's good health and about the care of the land," she said. "To have this sort of 'victory' garden, this message goes out that everyone can grow a garden and have free food."

Victory gardens were vegetable gardens planted during the world wars with encouragement from the government to make sure there was enough food for civilians and the troops. Waters says her family had such a garden.

Waters has been lobbying for a vegetable garden at the White House since 1992. Recent White Houses have grown some herbs and have practiced limited container gardening on the mansion's roof to supply it with tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables.

The new garden is the first on the White House grounds in many decades, Waters said.

She said Michelle Obama always has been receptive to the idea.

"She talks about food in connection with children, and it's a beautiful thing," Waters said.

Waters also has pushed the administration to adopt her Edible Schoolyard project in which children plant their own produce to eat in the school cafeteria. Most public schools are serving too much processed food that is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, she argues.

Economy turns gardening into growth industry
Seed sales surge as consumers look to cut costs at the grocery store

updated 6:37 p.m. ET, Sun., March. 15, 2009

LONG BEACH, California - With the recession in full swing, many Americans are returning to their roots — literally — cultivating vegetables in their backyards to squeeze every penny out of their food budget.

Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.

"People's home grocery budget got absolutely shredded and now we've seen just this dramatic increase in the demand for our vegetable seeds. We're selling out," said George Ball, CEO of Burpee Seeds, the largest mail-order seed company in the U.S. "I've never seen anything like it."

Gardening advocates, who have long struggled to get America grubby, have dubbed the newly planted tracts "recession gardens" and hope to shape the interest into a movement similar to the victory gardens of World War II.

Those gardens, modeled after a White House patch planted by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943, were intended to inspire self-sufficiency, and at their peak supplied 40 percent of the nation's fresh produce, said Roger Doiron, founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International.

Doiron and several colleagues are petitioning President Obama to plant a similar garden at the White House as part of his call for a responsible, eco-friendly economic turnaround. Proponents have collected 75,000 signatures on an online petition.

"It's really part of our history and it's part of the White House's history," Doiron said. "When I found out why it had been done over the course of history and I looked at where we are now, it makes sense again."

But for many Americans, the appeal of backyard gardening isn't in its history — it's in the savings.

The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.

Doiron spent nine months weighing and recording each vegetable he pulled from his 1,600-square-foot (150-sq. meter) garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the final winter leaves of Belgian endive, he found he had saved about $2,150 by growing produce for his family of five instead of buying it.

Adriana Martinez, an accountant who reduced her grocery bill to $40 a week by gardening, said there's peace of mind in knowing where her food comes from. And she said the effort has fostered a sense of community through a neighborhood veggie co-op.

"We're helping to feed each other and what better time than now?" Martinez said.

A new report by the National Gardening Association predicts a 19 percent increase in home gardening in 2009, based on spring seed sales data and a telephone survey. One-fifth of respondents said they planned to start a food garden this year and more than half said they already were gardening to save on groceries.

Community gardens nationwide are also seeing a surge of interest. The waiting list at the 312-plot Long Beach Community Garden has nearly quadrupled — and no one is leaving, said Lonnie Brundage, who runs the garden's membership list.

"They're growing for themselves, but you figure if they can use our community garden year-round they can save $2,000 or $3,000 or $4,000 a year," she said. "It doesn't take a lot for it to add up."

Seed companies say this renaissance has rescued their vegetable business after years of drooping sales. Orders for vegetable seeds have skyrocketed, while orders for ornamental flowers are flat or down, said Richard Chamberlin, president of Harris Seeds in Rochester, New York.

Business there has increased 40 percent in the last year, with the most growth among vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and kitchen herbs that can thrive in small urban plots or patio containers, he said. Harris Seeds recently had to reorder pepper and tomato seeds.

"I think if things were fine, you wouldn't see people doing this. They're just too busy," Chamberlin said. "Gardening for most Americans was a dirty word because it meant work and nobody wanted more work — but that's changed."


New Member
I get the greenhouse grower news in my inmail and they were predicting back in January that the horticulture industry would have increases this spring. Looks like it's true.


New Member
Thanks for sharing those articles. I am not surprised to hear people are turning to gardening to save on their food budgets. I suspected that it would happen so the day they put seeds on sale I picked up what I will need in my veggie garden this season. I'm glad I did I would be sorely disappointed if I couldn't find them when I need them.
Maybe this will teach children to enjoy gardening as well. I've tried to get my kids and grandkids to garden. They all seem to enjoy it when they are little but that wears off at the get into the teen years and none of them have really taken to it.
I'm excited about people going outside and getting their hands dirty. We won't keep everyone, most will probably go back to a lawn service and a few hanging baskets from Walmart when the economy improves, but I'm optimistic that at least a few will get bitten by the gardening bug and get infected with the joy that most of us find in a bit of compost and seeds.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Bernie that is why I get my seeds as soon as they come out, I want to make sure I get them,
I saw it on the news about the first lady and the garden, i think it's great. other presidents should have done it too. fresh produce is the best esp. when you have grown it. hopefully it will get kids to eat more of it too since they helped grow it instead of eating junk food. my nephew loves to come to my house and eat the beans, maters, cukes, etc off the vines. he also likes to help me in the gardens and he helps his mom and grammie too. wished we had a longer growing season as he wants to grow watermelons but our season is not long enough, going to try again and start some inside but they don't do too well planted out when they are bigger than seedlings. someday i might have a greenhouse to start them in but he won't be 7 then. we got one about the size of a golfball last yr, covered it when it got cold so it could stay outside longer but it got too cold for it to grow anymore
I just saw on GMA about people turning to gardening to stretch their food dollars. I think that it is great. My daughter is doing some gardening too, and she goes to a MOP's (mothers of pre-schoolers) group that had a day about gardening the other day. Next week they are going to go to a nursery that lets the kids plant some of their own things! I think that is great! The more people that garden the better!
I saw a picture in "The Daily News" of Mitchele with a shovel turning the soil at the White House ---and her hands were "dirty", garden soil under her nails. What a girl !! I love that couple!


Super Moderator
Staff member
I can just imagine Hillary C. or Laura B. in the white house garden with a shovel!!! LOL ..I bet neither have ever gotten the pleasure of seeing something grow from seeds that they planted themselves! I just can't picture these ex-first ladies with dirt on their hands!!
Thanks for sharing the articles Blue. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to