From the beginning, Michelle Obama's kitchen garden has been an overachiever, churning out more peppers, parsley and eggplant than expected, and generating interest that crosses oceans.
Now, the first lady has added a 271-page book to her gardening resume, and Americans can read all about the planting misses that came with the hits, get tips on gardening at home and, Mrs. Obama hopes, draw some inspiration.
In "American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America," Mrs. Obama holds out the raised vegetable beds on the South Lawn as "an expression of my hopes" for the nation's children. "Just as each seed we plant has the potential to become something extraordinary, so does every child," she writes.
The $30 book, released Tuesday by Crown Publishers, traces how a city kid from Chicago who became a working mother and then a political spouse found herself fretting on that first planting day, March 20, 2009, about whether an L-shaped stretch of soil would prove fertile ground for a national conversation "about the food we eat, the lives we lead, and how all of that affects our children."
The book is divided into four sections marking the seasons, and includes a complement of recipes for each.
This is Michelle Obama's first book. She received no advance payment and plans to donate all proceeds to the National Park Foundation for programs that promote gardening and healthy eating, and to help care for the White House garden.