Avant Gardener – 081213

Hosts Derek and Carolyn discuss the White House Vegetable Garden and how Derek was involved in designing a vegetable garden for the White House during the Ford Administration while working as executive director of the National Garden Bureau, an information office sponsored by the American seed industry. He explains that after Ford gave a speech with 10 ways to win the fight against inflation and recommended families to plant vegetable gardens, Derek met with Henry Mitchell, garden columnist for the Washington Post, and presented a plan for families to use. It ran in a Sunday edition and on Monday at 10 am Derek received a call from the White House saying Ford had read the article and wanted him to help make it a reality on the South Lawn. Derek was appointed chairman of a task force to encourage more families to plant vegetable gardens and worked with the White House superintendent of grounds. He subsequently recommended to Michelle Obama that she plant a vegetable garden for health reasons and to involve children in the project. Carolyn, as an aside, explains that at the time that Derek was working at the White House as a consultant she was living in Washington DC, working as a Congressional aid and hoping to become a Congresswomen. However, she was suspected of being involved in the Watergate scandal when she had nothing to do with it, and her treatment by the FBI soured her on a political career. In the email segment the Fells explode a few myths about gardening and explain how these myths generally get started. They also provide a definition for heirloom tomatoes and advise a lady on some good heirloom tomatoes to grow. They also tell a farmer’s wife on how to rejuvenate an old lilac tree that flowers poorly and how to propagate some new plants. .