Michelle Obama's White House Garden

Three years ago First Lady Michelle Obama, with the help of 23 fifth-graders, did something that no one had done since World War II - they dug up grass to plant vegetables. And if Michelle Obama can dig up grass for a vegetable garden, why can’t you?

(Photographs by Quentin Bacon for American Grown, except where noted)

Here is how she did it:

The 1,100-square-foot White House Kitchen Garden cost $200 to create (excluding the salaries of the National Park Service staff who tended it) and yielded, by the end of its first growing season, 740 pounds of fresh produce.

We can all do that math. The First Lady, whose public campaign against childhood obesity prompted her to empty her own pantry of sugary drinks and microwave meals, added a beehive next.

And last week marked the publication of American Grown, her book that exhorts the rest of us to grow our own food, too. Grab a pitchfork:

Above: Marigolds, to keep away aphids, edge the White House garden paths. Marigold Villandry. Image by Flower Gal, via Flickr.

Above: The White House garden, spring of 2011. Among the vegetables cultivated: Red and Green Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, Broccoli, Carrots and Kale.

Above: The original planting plan, circa 2009, of the First Lady's vegetable garden. Image via White House.

Above: seed ruler to help you see how far apart you should plant your seeds.

Above: The First Lady's new book, American Grown, is $17.75 from Amazon

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