WARMINSTER, PA--(Marketwire - September 1, 2009) - Inspired by the First Family's decision to plant a vegetable garden at The White House, W. Atlee Burpee & Co. decided to cultivate its own version at Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, PA, where the nation's leading home gardening company trials most of the vegetables and flowers it sells, by catalog, at retail stores and on the Internet.
And according to the man responsible, the garden's results have been outstanding.
"The White House Garden has done a great job of showcasing the advantages of growing your own vegetables," says George Ball, chairman of Burpee and proprietor of Fordhook Farm. "In creating our Fordhook version of the garden, we utilized the diagram they provided and created an exact replica. We chose to make some alterations in what we planted in view of soil conditions and typical weather conditions experienced over a long period of time.
"While we included some heirloom varieties," Mr. Ball notes, "We were careful to include hybrids that we felt would produce in greater quantities and superior quality."
According to Mr. Ball, gardeners in the Northeast who planted heirloom tomatoes organically this year had a poor harvest -- due to the long spell of gray, damp days that resulted in the well publicized Tomato Blight. Most heirlooms, he says, had no resistance to this blight. "There was little even the most experienced gardener could do to contain it."
What will happen to the bountiful harvest predicted for Burpee's White House Garden?
"We have an Autumn Garden Tour which will be open to the public scheduled for September 25 & 26," the Burpee C.E.O. says, "and we are considering a special Presidential Luncheon if we can convince President Obama or The First Lady to attend. As fellow gardeners, we will have plenty to talk about." Plans for the luncheon menu will include a full range of freshly harvested vegetables.