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WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama got plenty of helping hands to replant her popular garden on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday.

Two dozen fifth-graders from two nearby public schools were invited to help dig the soil and plop in seeds, seedlings or plants that within weeks will grow into lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and beets, among other crops.

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“There’s no way we would get this done without your help,” the first lady told the kids before everyone set upon the 1,500-square-foot plot.

Beets are new this year although President Barack Obama doesn’t like them.

It was the third spring planting of the garden. Mrs. Obama broke ground on it in 2009 and has harvested more than 2,000 pounds of food, the White House said. The first lady is also writing a book about the garden and the benefits of healthy eating, due for publication sometime next year.

Some of the fruit and vegetables have been used to feed her family and their guests, while some of it has been used in meals and desserts served at formal White House events, such as state dinners. A nearby soup kitchen has also received donations from the garden.

Mrs. Obama has used the publicity surrounding the garden to launch a national campaign against childhood obesity and to encourage healthier eating habits.


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