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New People’s Garden on the National Mall

April 22nd, 2009 by Veggie Master · No Comments

The gardening bug has really taken Washington DC by storm!  Not only is Michelle Obama growing her own food garden at the White House, but the US Department of Agriculture will showcase sustainability at the new six acre People’s Garden on the National Mall. 

Existing lawns and ornamental beds will be converted into a 1,300-square-foot organic food garden, wetlands showcasing how to handle surface run-off and prevent pollution, demonstrations of other sustainable practices including green roofs, and a Three Sisters Garden.

A native American planting tradition, the Three Sisters garden features vegetables grown in hills or groupings.  Each hill is centered on several corn stalks with pole beans climbing on them and big-leafed squash plants shading the soil at the base of the stalks.  The beans fix nitrogen in the soil and feed the other veggies.  Weeds are kept down by the spreading squash vines with prickly leaves that deter marauding critters.

All the produce will go to a local food bank, but the main thrust of the garden will be to educate the public about all the ways to grow food in a sustainable way, enhancing the environment rather than polluting it with pesticides and other noxious chemicals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “The garden will help explain to the public how small things they can do at home, at their business or on their farm or ranch, can promote sustainability, conserve the nation’s natural resources, and make America a leader in combating climate change.”

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