03/20/2009 at 08:10 PM EDT
The First Lady may be all gung-ho about what she's calling her new White House Kitchen Garden, but her daughters are worried the venture will get them stung.
"We're going to have a beehive," Michelle Obama announced Friday to "ooohs" and "ahhhs" from Washington-area school children wielding shovels and rakes and hoes to help with the garden groundbreaking. "I'm glad you're excited, but because my kids aren't very excited about the beehive. But we're going to try to make our own honey."
The First Lady and assistant White House chef Sam Kass, who cooked for the Obamas in Chicago, have begun work on an organic fruit and vegetable garden on the White House's South Lawn – the first such planting since Eleanor Roosevelt installed a victory garden during World War II.
In leggings and flat black boots, Mrs. Obama turned soil with a shovel and pitchfork, saying plants will go in the ground – mint, lettuces, berries and perennial herbs – in the next several weeks, with the harvest to be used in both the White House kitchen and a nearby soup kitchen.
The First Lady hopes the farming will get her daughters, Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, more interested in eating vegetables. "With my kids, especially if they were involved in planting it and picking it, they were much more curious about giving it a try."