Michelle Obama's got nothing on me. Oh, okay, there are those degrees from Princeton and Harvard as well as her wonderfully toned upper arms. Oh, and one more thing. She's got 1,100 square feet just lying around the yard, unharrassed by deer and waiting to be planted with vegetables. I actually think the newly planted White House vegetable garden is a brilliant idea. I hope it does serve to showcase seasonal vegetables and healthy eating. I love that some of the bounty will be shared with DC soup kitchens. My mom recently told me about a New Jersey elementary school near us that had students bring in apples to donate to a local soup kitchen and food pantry to honor Johnny Appleseed Day. That story made me feel good all day as did the one about the new White House vegetable garden.
Unfortunately, I pretty much have two brown thumbs, a mostly shaded yard, and sometimes as many as a dozen deer at a time walking through that shade eating everything green in their paths. These factors are working against a successful garden here on the grounds of The Book Bench estate. My husband and kids have worked some agricultural magic in the past, but it's a struggle as the little patch has to be surrounded by four feet of chicken coop type fencing. That does detract from the aesthetics a bit. I've got the answer this year: the kitchen windowsill! We'll be planting lamb's ear, polka dot plant, sensitive plant, spearmint, lemon balm, and cinnamon basil thanks to "Sprout Your Own Leafy Wonders" and "Sprout Your Own Sweet Scents." Put out by Chronicle Books, each set comes with planting trays, peat pellets, seed packets, and well written booklets. The booklets provide instructions on planting and later repotting (very ambitious), information about the plants in particular and growing things in general, and growth logs. As an added bonus, it's all environmentally friendly, using biodegradable planters and 100% recyclable packaging. Take that, Mrs. Obama! Actually, I'm wishing success to all of this year's gardeners and recommending these little kits as great birthday presents for kids who may have an interest in growing things but less available lawn space than Sasha and Malia.