Home fruit and vegetable gardens are back in fashion, and with good reason. Organic food grown in your own backyard makes the ultimate eco-friendly, locavore meal — it reduces your carbon footprint by decreasing the miles your food travels from the field to your plate to an impressive zero.
An organic food garden also increases the biodiversity of plants in your yard, attracting pollinators (like honeybees) and wildlife, and improving the quality of your soil. And family gardens encourage healthy eating habits by providing a constant source of fresh, healthy food, and give children the chance to learn first-hand where their food comes from, fostering appreciation of plants' role in our environment.
Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama chose to encourage more Americans to join the earth-friendly home gardening trend by tearing out a piece of the White House's pristine lawn to make room for a White House Kitchen Garden. And the project is still going strong. Just last month, even after a winter of record snows, the White House garden staff were surprised to collect a bumper crop of winter lettuces, greens and peas from beneath simple, inexpensive hoop houses they had erected to extend the growing season:
And, thanks in part to the helpful hands of a few local schoolchildren, the 2010 White House spring garden is already underway:
If you're thinking of starting your own home garden this year, you may want to check out the White House's gardening plans from last year for a little design inspiration.