Saturday, September 5, 2015

White House Vegetable Gardens

A long tradition. From White House History:
Jefferson’s plan for a 168-foot long permanent vegetable garden was slow to be developed. Records indicate it was not surveyed and laid out until 1807-1808, so the president must have provisioned his kitchen from Monticello or from the local city markets to provide meat and produce for the large number of guests he entertained on an almost daily basis. By the summer of 1809 the garden southeast of the President’s House was finished and planted with vegetables. The list of vegetables included cabbage, broccoli, green and yellow Savoy, radish, endive, cucumber, carrot, beet, parsnip, turnip, and leek. The fate of the kitchen garden is unclear after the 1814 fire set by the British destroyed the White House and ruined the grounds. Redeveloping the president’s grounds would be a daunting task, and President James Monroe would hire Charles Bizet, a gardener who had fled France during the Revolution and worked at Montpelier for the Madisons. Bizet undoubtedly tended a vegetable garden, but his main duty was taken up by constant construction and earth moving to rebuild the presidential gardens and grounds. (Read more.)

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