Encouraged by their gardening success of this last year, the Obamas and their staff are expanding their organic edible garden by 500 square feet in 2010. This new addition will raise the total growing space to 1,600 square feet. A winter harvest took place earlier in March, and the staff was awarded with a bounty of winter vegetables and proved that year round gardening is possible, even with the large amounts of snow the DC area received.

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ead White House chef Sam Kass and his garden crew covered their winter crop with hoop houses to keep away the snow and provide a mini greenhouse effect. Hoop houses are typically made of PVC pipe (any better solutions?) curved in a semi-circle, stuck into the ground and covered in a semi-transparent plastic. On the March 10th harvest, the staff had a beautiful spread of a number of lettuces, spinach, turnips, arugula, carrots. Leeks, garlic and peas are now planted, but will be harvested later in the spring.

Kass said in a video about the harvest, “It’s more humble than a summer harvest, but we did pretty great. Nobody had any expectation that we’d be able to grow any food during January and February.” In total, the harvest produced 50 pounds of edibles despite the “snowmageddon” of 2010.

At the request of the First Lady, 500 sq feet more of the White House lawn will be dug up for more garden space. Last year, the staff grew 55 different types of vegetables, which were grown from organic seed. The First Lady began the edible garden in hopes of educating children about locally grown food and inspiring them to eat healthier, and hopefully this message has also been passed onto the rest of America. Of course, not all of us have a personal chef and gardening crew at our disposal, but it is wonderful to see the White House lawn put to good use.

Via Earth 911.com