With preparations for the fifth annual White House Garden underway as we inch closer to spring, new details regarding the success of the South Lawn plot have come to light.
In an interview with CBS Baltimore, White House chef Sam Kass revealed that nearly 4,000 lbs. of food has been grown since the garden was put in place in 2009. Not bad for a 1,500 square foot plot started on a budget of only $200.
“Our garden has been thriving all winter long,” Kass told the site. “We had peas through January, which is unheard of.”
Of course, the success of the garden also depends heavily on the enthusiastic school children who assist every year in planting, maintaining, and harvesting the veggies. Last year, in participation with the First Lady, school kids planted varieties that included potatoes, mustard greens, carrots, onions, broccoli, swiss chard, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, and kale.
And while the veggies aren’t certified organic, the White House does follow sustainable growing methods and does not use pesticides. As Kass told Better Homes and Gardens last year, “– we use natural controls. We have ladybugs and praying mantises — they do a pretty good job of keeping our garden pest-free.”
The White House also donates 1/3 of all produce to shelters in the DC area, who use the veggies to cook up healthy meals for those in need.