Did you know that Brickyard Educational Farm is only 16 miles from the White House? We personally see this as a plus (despite the traffic), because of the national debate that is happening around sustainable agriculture and food security. For instance, as California is voting to label GMO’s, we here at BEF are in the heart of our nations capital, preserving seed in DC’s urban fringe. I wanted to see how the First Lady’s organic garden was doing, so I graciously accepted a friends extra ticket to tour the White House Kitchen Garden.
Fun word for the day; solancea. This word refers to frost sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. The White House garden still had plenty of plants of this variety because, as of this blog post, they hadn’t experienced a frost. In preparation for the cooling weather to come though, most of the garden was planted in fall crops such as kale, pac choi, lettuce, mustard greens and broccoli.
If you are interested in planting fall crops look into row cover, the brand we use at Brickyard Educational Farm is Reemay. This protects plants from flea beetles (what I am discussing in the video below) and over-exposure to the sun in the summer, and can then be reused in the fall months as protection from frost for your fall crops.
The video below is taken on my phone, so excuse the poor quality, although I think it turned out well enough. I just wanted to show you how beautiful the White House Kitchen Garden is. FYI; the purple hyacinths beans you see in the foreground are an heirloom ornamental variety of bean grown by Thomas Jefferson at his homestead, Monticello. Has anyone been there? Maybe soon I will be able to visit that famous organic seed saving farm! If I do I promise to get better video.
Seeing organic farming happening on the lawn of The White House was an uplifting experience, because sustainable agriculture is a way that local communities can address some of the country’s largest concerns; jobs, national health, food security and oil conservation. Food and politics is getting interesting. If you haven’t already, check out Prop 37, the ballot initiative that California will be voting on this November 6th.
In case you can’t hear me in the video;
They are also growing ping tung long variety, an asian heirloom variety. We are also growing that as well as some green skinny eggplants. It looks like they have a little bit of flea beetle damage, we also had some issues with that. You can prevent flea beetle by covering your eggplant with 'remay,' or row cover, until the eggplant flowers. This floating row cover works as a physical barrier between the flea beetle and the eggplant plants. This is a practice many organic gardeners and farmers implement instead of spraying pesticides. So we are here at the White House Kitchen Garden and it is beautiful, they are really doing well.