Michelle Obama Gets Knees Dirty in White House Garden

04/10/2009 at 10:10 AM EDT

Michelle Obama Gets Knees Dirty in White House Garden
Michelle Obama and volunteer gardeners
Michael Reynolds/EPA
First Lady Michelle Obama, the knees of her cropped black slacks covered in dirt, planted herb seedlings and carrots in her new White House Kitchen Garden Thursday, telling local schoolchildren enlisted to help that fresh veggies are "brain food."

Making the point that homegrown is a cheap way for families to eat healthily, the First Lady asked the kids: "How much do you think it costs to do this garden?"

"Over $100,000," guessed a boy.

Laughing, Mrs. Obama replied, "My husband would go crazy if he thought we were spending that kind of money! ... It's between $100 and $200. So it's not a lot of money. And this garden can not only feed my family, but it's going to feed all the staff at the White House. We're going to serve it at some State Dinners."

Mrs. Obama said the top question she got from world leaders on her recent trip to Europe with the president was about the garden. "From Prince Charles on down, they were excited we were planting this."

As for another pressing question back home – when they'll need to worry about putting chicken wire around the garden to keep out a frolicking First Dog – Mrs. Obama said only, "Soon, soon!"

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