CATCH THE BUZZ
An Organic Garden and honey bees move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
From the perspective of probably every beekeeper in the U.S., the first day of spring, 2009, should be one of the most memorable in decades. It was on that day that Michelle Obama announced that not only would there be a garden on the White House lawn, the first since FDR’s Victory Garden, but there would be, yes, BEE HIVES!
The chefs at the white house are looking forward to cooking with locally grown fresh vegetables (and sharing what they can’t use with a soup kitchen near the White House), and being able to use honey in some of their recipes. Honey produced right outside their kitchen door.
Mrs Obama readied the garden plot on the first day of spring with the help of a couple dozen local fifth graders. They worked to remove the sod and loosen the soil in preparation of planting of the spring crops. The L-shaped plot will contain year-round vegetables once completely established, with vegetables, berries and other tasty edibles. All will be raised organically.
To complete the garden, two bee hives will be moved in early this week. They will be managed by a White House employee who is a beekeeper and lives nearby. The hives belong to the beekeeper.
We found out that the beekeeper was a subscriber to our magazine, so we had a contact and were fortunate to have a phone conversation late last week. But, of course, there has to be some preparation for all this, so everything we discussed had to remain off the record. He is, however, a three year veteran beekeeper and had a strong desire to keep bees and beekeeping in front of the folks who live where he works, and to keep reminding them of the importance of the pollination efforts their bees will be performing.
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As far as we can tell, there’s never been a bee hive at the White House, so this first-ever apiary event is something that beekeepers everywhere are excited about. The calls and contacts received in our office once this broke exceeded any event in the 23 years I’ve been here.
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At the ground breaking on Friday the kids, with the help of the First Lady removed sod and started the process. In a couple of weeks the planting will take place. The early spring garden, as with many early spring gardens will be red romaine lettuce, oakleaf lettuce, sugar snap peas, butterhead lettuce, radishes, shallots and shell peas, onions, chard spinach, kale, collards and a host of herbs including sorrel, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, marjoram, chives, chamomile, garlic chives and hyssop. There’s also carrots, dill, cilantro and parsley. Some mints and rhubarb will be going in too. Later, squash, tomatillos, some berries, and perhaps more, since the garden is to be a year-round source of vegetables.
The L shaped garden is 40’ tall, 40’ wide at the bottom, and the width at the top of the L is 20’. There are marigolds, nasturtiums and zinnas lining the two walkways through the garden. Several raised beds surround the garden.
An organic garden and beehives at the White House...it doesn’t get much better, does it?
This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping www.BeeCulture.com. Proud supporter of EAS 2009, in Ellicotville, NY. www.easternapiculture.org