White House vegetable garden

white house south lawn with vegetable garden
white house vegetable garden

I was in Washington DC for a business conference (AACR) this week and had one tourist location I made sure to find time for: the White House Vegetable Garden! I wasn’t able to get a tour, but did peek through the fence and take photos.

It seems to be planted nicely already. What do you think is in? I think I see onions, and broccoli. The poles are maybe for a pea trellis? Maybe rhubarb in the raised beds at the left? Probably salad greens too. There is a big stack of beehives about 50 feet from the garden, by the tree in the middle of the lawn. Looks great!

I added a diagram below of the garden last year and a link to a nice news article about the garden.

me by the white house vegetable garden white house vegetable garden through the trees
white house vegetable garden information plaque

This year’s White House vegetable garden is 1500 square feet (about 26 by 60 feet). That’s a bit bigger than my vegetable garden space of about 1000 square feet: community plot (25 x 30) and my home garden (a 10 x 12 bed and five 10 x 3.5 beds). This amount of space can produce a ton of food – even with a amateur gardener. The link below says the White House garden produced 1000 pounds of food last year. I’m sure they could put a small farm on the lawn, but I think the point is to have a family garden. This is a perfect scale for a family.

The article also says Michelle expanded the garden this year. “The newly planted garden is 400 square feet larger than last year and will contain four new vegetables: bok choy, cauliflower, artichokes, and mustard greens.”

April 1, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor, Michelle Obama expands the White House garden,

21 Comments. Leave new

  • From your photos it seems like a rather small garden. I wonder how productive it is? I do have to give them credit though for actually doing it.

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  • The size was my initial thought, too. When I heard that they were doing it, I thought for sure it'd be huge… I mean, look at how much land they have! Plus, then, wouldn't it make a better statement? It'd be interesting to know if any of the first family actually spend time in the garden at all.

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  • Yes, it seems small, but maybe only because I was pretty far away. And they are a small family and probably travel a lot. This plot probably doesn't feed all the 100 odd white house staff.

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  • Great photos. Didn't know you could see it from the street.

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  • I wish I could have fit my good camera in my luggage. Then the photo would have been clearer.

    The garden is very visible from the road. We were surprised at this too. I wonder how much time they spend in the garden. Maybe just public events.

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  • I think the White House chef runs the garden. I did see a photo of Hillary and the President having a meeting near the garden.

    Meanwhile the oldhousegardens.com newsletter just came out and says Jackson&Perkins, Wayside, and Park Seed are filing bankruptcy but hope to continue in business.

    Holy cow, I can hardly imagine no J&P. I have hardly bought from them for some years because they no longer carry my old favorites, but they have always supplied wonderfully healthy plants.

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  • That's disappointing news.

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  • I love that they made it a small garden- seems so much more attainable to the average american to see a small, manageable garden instead of a big, giant farm. I think it's awfully charming and heartwarming!

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  • Very interesting!

    The article you've linked to, it actually states that the garden produced **1,000** (not 100) pounds of food last year. I actually think that is a lot – compared to my small backyard garden. 🙂

    If you click to see more photos/the photo gallery, it shows the garden in a bit more detail. It looks much bigger in those pictures.

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  • Thanks for catching my type-o Amanda. I fixed it. 1000 lbs is a lot. Daphne grew 219 lbs last year and that seems like a lot. My guess is I grew about the same.

    My heaviest crops:
    pumpkins – 50 lbs
    squash – 60 lbs
    potatoes – 30 lbs
    carrots and beets – 15 lbs each

    I wonder what they grew that was so heavy?

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  • Weight – looks like sweet potatoes in that wheelbarrow.

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  • Your community plot is huge! Around here it seems as if 4X8 or maybe 8X8 are the standard sizes for community plots.

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  • The google doc leads to a dead link.

    Annie's Granny grew over 1000 pounds last year. Course she had over over 440 pounds just of tomatoes, so ymmv. I'll be happy with 100 this year. 🙂

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  • Do they give the 1000 lbs of food away? I would like to know how many tax dollars are spent producing this food (Hopefully 0?).

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, Kathy… I enjoy it thoroughly.

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  • What a beautiful garden! I would have loved to walk there, and see all the gorgeous flowers! Thanks for sharing

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  • DJ,

    Some of the produce was used in the White House kitchen, some was given to area food banks.

    God forbid the White House should attempt to encourage health living habits, in the process potentially saving lives and healthcare costs. There's always taxpayer money available for wars, though. $500 billion a year currently. I rarely hear anyone complain about that.

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  • not sure if it would top my list for DC, but am excited to hear that they are gardening again.

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  • It does look smaller than one would think for a White House. I'll be there is arugula.

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  • I bet more tax $ is spent on the lawn.

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  • I can think of another tourist location a mere 2 hours from DC that would have been a lovely destination for you 🙂

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  • And I did list that as the best spot to visit, but 2 hours in a cab is a lot. I think it may be a summer get away location.

    Reply

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