August 30th, 2009
07:22 AM ET

Dear President Obama #223: Green acres ... D.C. style

Reporter's Note: President Obama is preparing to be back in the office after his week off. I’m preparing to send him another letter.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

With all the kids going back to school, I suppose it is time to take stock of how our gardens have fared, and I must say the report from my backyard is none to good. But let’s get to that in a moment. What happened with your wife’s big garden?

Seems like there was such hoopla when she planted it, I thought we were going to hear more updates along the way on what was being harvested, and when it was being served; that sort of thing. I read a few lines in the newspaper about how you had some sort of problem with sludge in the dirt? I’m not sure what that means precisely, but I can’t ever recall hearing the term sludge used in a positive sense, so I’m assuming it meant tough days on the gardening front.

Well, take heart, we had the same sort of fate. Only I don’t think we can blame it on anything as exotic as sludge. Our aspirations were modest. We had a single tomato plant, a sprig or two of basil, and an anemic cucumber vine. Actually, “anemic” is a little generous. It spindled out across a little terrace of bare dirt with the listless enthusiasm of a seven-year-old boy leaving the baseball field for violin lessons.)

Anyway, we brought in five (count ‘em) five tomatoes. A couple handfuls of basil leaves. (Which actually turned out to be the most successful part of the experiment.) And the cucumbers? Well, all we have found so far is a couple of weird, bulbous lumps that look like the leftovers from a balloon animal making class.

We had considered earlier in the summer having a Harvest Moon Party this fall. As we were looking at the sad result of our agricultural efforts the other day, my elder daughter put a bit of a damper on those plans. “I don’t know, Dad,” she said. “Seems like kind of a downer to invite people to a famine party.”

Ah well. There is always next year. Good luck with your fall harvest, and let the sludge be damned! Call if you can. At worst I’ll be out plowing the crop under.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Bee

    Enjoy your letters! Do you ever hear back?

    August 31, 2009 at 12:50 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Suggest you plow under the letters as well, they have no substance or relevance to the major issues facing the American nation.
    The old suggestion is that to be eco friendly I guess Obama's team are punching a hole in the top left corner and hanging them you know where.
    No other comments on this one and the numbers of comments decreasing daily... is ther another message there!?

    August 31, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  3. Mary Phillips

    They found elevated levels of lead in the soil. I don't know what happened after that.

    August 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Gary Chandler in Canada

    America, Here is how to get your head around the torture of terrorists argument.
    In America, there are Americans who are part of disgusting and vile child pornography rings, engaging in acts that are as easily as BAD as any terrorist attack.
    Torturing of these 'terrible child abusers' is not and would not be allowed.
    WHY NOT?
    Shoplifting and fraud rings cost us all money in higher prices and taxes for policing.
    WHY NOT allow mild torture in one of them is caught, to take down the whole ring???

    August 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  5. Terry, TX

    Oh shut up.

    August 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  6. KIm

    Eleanor Roosevelt would be proud of that garden and it's a start ! Bancroft Elementary kids in charge of eating healthy vegetables at school. It's all Hooterville from here ! What happened to the pears ?

    August 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  7. Lori

    Farming is a tough business.

    August 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  8. Dulcie - Denver

    My beans got some kind of blight and the broccoli and cauliflower didn't taste very good. Squash is looking promising and I'm going to share it with a co-worker who's garden was wiped out by a storm.

    So true – there's always next year.

    August 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  9. Shamsa

    Hi Tom
    As you write a lot of letters to the President. Please give us your thought on organic farming and organic cattle raising??? I am sure you know they will solve a lot of our problems. specially health care.
    Plano tx

    August 30, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  10. Joely Trujillo

    Well, it could be worse...your water could be contaminated like mine is by oil fracturing, not only does it not allow vegetables to grow, but it also drops cattle in their tracks...16 of them, deader than a door nail. Don't see ya mentioning that in the news room. Or the fact that the underground aquifer where I live in WEST TEXAS is completed tainted and contaminated by BIG OIL drilling. Hmmm...somehow I thought when voting in the supposed WATCHDOGS...stuff like this wasn't going to happen anymore. It's nice to see that things don't really CHANGE.

    August 30, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  11. RLWellman

    This is a warning to all of you out there. The Government is trying to keep all of us divided. This way they can continue to pass bills under our noses and we won't even know what's going on. With the new probe from the FBI towards the CIA is just a guise to separate even more people.

    America wake up, the Government needs to be watched closer, don't take anything for granted. They do not have your best interests in mind.

    August 30, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  12. r davis, cleveland, oh

    i am an avid gardener in cleve, oh. an i have never heard of sludge in the garder. is that a technical term? a lil wet this year here for roses and tomato. but no sludge thank goodness. a few slugs, but salt takes care of them, or a tray of beer.
    of coursr there are some slugs in congress also. you think a tray of beer will take care of them also?
    have a nice day.

    August 30, 2009 at 9:39 am |