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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

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8/28/2012 5:00:00 PM
'American Grown' is the story of the White House garden
Rosita Smith


BLYTHE - Michelle has a garden, a big garden, which puts produce on her table year round. Michelle would like all Americans to have their own garden, even if it is only a windowsill with potted herbs and cherry tomatoes.

Michelle knows that a variety of produce was a staple of our early ancestors: all of our early presidents had their own vegetable gardens that provided the variety of fruits and vegetables needed to feed the family, their guests and the staff needed to run the presidential house. And so Michelle set about developing a kitchen garden for the White House, one that would be a model for family plots throughout the United States.

Michelle, of course, is Michelle Obama, and she shares with the reader everything that goes into a kitchen garden from readying the soil; deciding what to plant; planning the growing plots; using raised beds; irrigation techniques; even developing a farmers' market if you are lucky enough to have more produce than you can use.

As the idea of a kitchen garden for the White House started to develop, photographers were on hand to record every little step of the way: from the little fig tree that defied death; to the joining of the Alaska Indians with their American Indian cousins in their traditional planting of the three sisters - corn, beans, and squash; to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when Michelle gave Jay a veggie pizza made from the White House's kitchen garden's produce.

The White House kitchen was challenged to develop appetizing dishes from this bounty of food and they rose to the challenge, with all sorts of delectable items that even some of the fussiest of eaters declared delicious. Included are the tantalizing recipes for you to make and enjoy.

And the cameras kept grinding away.

The result - American Grown: the Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America - is an extensive photo journal accounting of the four growing seasons; what to grow in each season; how to grow your chosen fruits and vegetables; and how to prepare to eat and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

American Grown is a beautiful book to leaf through. Hopefully it will inspire you to develop your own garden plot and enjoy the fruits of your labor at the dinner table.

American Grown is on the non-fiction, new bookshelf under 635.097 Obama at the Palo Verde Valley Library. Check it out to see what types of fall crops you should be on the lookout for and how to prepare your winter garden for the upcoming spring and summer crops.

During this hot summer weather the public access computers have been in high demand at the Palo Verde Valley Library. You can sign up for use a day in advance. The library takes telephone reservations. Call 760-922-5371 to reserve a time. One hour per day limited use.

The library also has a large selection of DVDs which can be checked out to enjoy at home.

The Palo Verde Valley Library is at 125 W. Chanslorway in Blythe.


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