Michelle Obama Sam Kass Garden White House South Lawn
First Lady Michelle Obama and White House Chef Sam Kass show students from the Bancroft Elementary how to plant a garden. (Samantha Appleton/Wikimedia)

Squirrels Raid First Lady’s Garden

Shutdown keeps vegetables on the vine

Michelle Obama Sam Kass Garden White House South Lawn

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden is the latest victim of furloughs at the National Parks Service during the partial federal government shutdown. Squirrels have overrun the 1,500 square-foot plot on the South Lawn, eating ripening mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers.

“Right now, the many squirrels who live at the White House seem to have gotten even more aggressive,” writes Eddie Gehman Kohan on her Obama Foodorama blog. “They’re now kids in a candy story, gorging themselves.”

When the shutdown began, NPS gardeners were ordered to only water and remove trash, although fallen leaves don’t constitute “trash.” Trimming, fertilizing, transplanting, and mowing the grass have also stopped.

What’s in Michelle Obama’s Garden?

  • Artichokes                                                                 
  • Okra
  • Sweet Potatoes                                                        
  • Tomatos
  • Lettuce                                                                    
  • Squash
  • Peppers                                                                   
  • Turnips
  • Kale                                                                        
  • Garlic
  • Carrots                                                                    
  • Jalapeños
  • Rutabaga                                                                 
  • Chili peppers
  • Exotic herbs                                                            
  • Basil
  • Collard greens                                                         
  • Papaya
From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: Samantha Appleton/Wikimedia