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Originally published Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 11:57 AM

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First lady plants White House garden for spring

Salad using lettuce from Michelle Obama's garden could be served up in just a few weeks.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

Salad using lettuce from Michelle Obama's garden could be served up in just a few weeks.

The first lady on Thursday planted lettuce and other crops in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with an assist from schoolchildren from Washington, D.C., and several school districts around the country.

Two varieties of wheat were planted for the first time: club wheat and bread wheat.

The lettuce should be ready in a couple of weeks. The wheat will need until at least July to grow.

Other crops now growing in the garden are spinach, kale, Swiss chard, endive, potatoes, radishes, garlic, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and herbs, along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and an apple tree.

"Are you ready to go?" the first lady asked the kids after she met them at the garden on a crisp, sunny afternoon.

Students who attend school in Bradenton, Fla., Somerville, Mass., Knox County, Tenn., and Milton, Vt., were invited, she said, because their districts are doing "such wonderful things" to put in place new federal nutrition standards for school lunches.

The first lady personally planted rows of wheat, spinach and kale, with help from a few students. Other students planted the remaining crops, with an assist from White House staff members. Also helping were military veterans in training for careers in sustainable agriculture.

Mrs. Obama planted the garden in 2009 to help launch her campaign against childhood obesity and encourage healthier eating. She says involving children in the growing of fruits and vegetables makes it more likely that they will eat them, too.

The garden so far has produced more than 3,000 pounds of food. The White House gives some to a local soup kitchen.

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