Sunday, June 14, 2009

Victory Garden: Obama Inspiration

Not unlike many households in America, we find ourselves following the Obama family with interest. Perhaps it's because we share some commonalities: we have two small girls, we are multi-racial, and the girls desperately want a puppy (nope, not gonna happen). We are also trying to eat more locally grown, organic produce.

Miss D. came home from school this spring all a-buzz about the Victory Garden the Obamas were planting.

"Can we plant a victory garden this year, Mama?" she asked.

Miss M. overheard her sister's plea and seconded the vote.

Problem is, I have a black thumb. I kill living green things. No lie, I even killed a cactus once. It's that bad. But it's pretty hard when faced with enthusiasm like this.

Oh boy.

The Obama victory garden is, of course, a much more grandiose affair. We don't have 1100 square feet to plant on, we don't have beehives and beekeepers, and we certainly don't have hordes of volunteers clamoring to do such thrilling tasks as spread shit and yank up weeds.

But the great news is, we have lovely, generous neighbors who also happen to have two girls, a mixed race family, and an interest in all things Obama.

They wanted to plant a Victory Garden, too. And after a little negotiating, we came up with a pretty swell plan. The K Family (and welcome to brand new baby boy G who is joining the girls!) next door offered to grow the veggies, and we agreed to focus on herbs.

I put mint IN the garden, which is probably a bad idea. If it threatens to take over, we may need to find a new home for it.

I found some cool varieties of Thai basil, and since both families love Asian food, that went in. Along with flat leaf parsley, italian basil, rosemary, cilantro and chives.

The K family planted broccoli, which looks pretty cool.

They also planted zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, and some dang gorgeous peppers.

And my favorite flower in the entire world.

Did I mention how blessed we are to have such amazing neighbors? So welcome to the K-T Victory Garden. The garden has 4 eager little workers waiting to get their hands dirty this summer and hopefully try some new, fresh produce. And at the rate the rain's been falling, it looks like it might be a bumper crop year.

We will keep you posted.


  1. Good luck on your garden!! In mine, the rosemary and lavender I planted did not flourish b/c I put them in a spot that did not get full sun- a mistake. My cilantro is flourishing but I learned about "bolting" and sowed a second crop so I could have continuous cilantro; will soon be sowing a third seed crop (we love cilantro).

    None of my basil took off so I transplanted seedlings and they seem to be finally doing well; I am sure you know about pinching off the top two terminal leaves on each bunch as it grows so that the plant becomes bushier and produces more basil (if not, consider that a tip.)

    I am hoping that Michelle Obama will champion a change in school lunch standards around the nation; an article I read recently talked about her views on the issue. I am about to address this topic in a post on my blog. She mentioned that planting the Victory Garden was the beginning of awareness for young people and we need to educate children in schools about healthy eating . . .

  2. Siren,

    I definitely agree on the school lunch issue. Jamie Oliver has done wonders for England, and I'd like to see a grass-roots movement like that in the States.

    Thanks for the basil tip (didn't know) and if you don't mind my asking, what is "bolting?"

  3. Looks beautiful, make sure you show us your harvest!

  4. Hey - this is great! A great way to get the kids active, make/develop new friendships with the neighbours and eat healthy veg! I love it! I'm also envious as I wish I had my own garden. Such a good idea though!

  5. That's great! We have a small garden too. It's a lot of fun and very rewarding to pick your own produce. "Bolting" is when the herbs start to go to seed. You'll see a shoot coming from the top of the plant that looks different from the rest and will start to get seeds and small flowers on it. You want to pinch this off when you see it. That way the plant will keep making more leaves. Herbs (especially basil) will tend to "bolt" when it gets hot (above 85) outside.

  6. Phoo-D has it right. Because my basil never grew and I have these transplants that seem to be doing ok for now I haven't seen it in basil, but in the cilantro, their stems start to get really thick, and they start producing the feathery leaves instead of the flat ones.

  7. Good for you guys! My girls are obsessed with the Obamas as well, especially their dog. My basil bolted last year because I was clueless (it was my first time growing it). Hopefully this year I will do better. I also thought it was a little harder to grow cilantro than I thought it would be. That bolted as well. I am trying chives this year, and I am not sure if I need to cut that before it goes to seed as well. Anyone?

  8. Went outside today and the basil was starting to bolt--so glad I have plant-savvy friends to rely on!