Michelle Obama says she hopes future presidents will continue the project she calls "my baby," her vegetable garden on the White House South Lawn.
She presided over the eighth and final planting on Tuesday and said the garden has exceeded expectations, sparking a national conversation about what people eat and stoking renewed interest in community gardening.
Mrs. Obama is in her final months as first lady and it remains unknown which couple will succeed her and President Barack Obama. But whoever it is, Mrs. Obama said she hopes the garden will continue to be part of the traditions at the White House.
"It's been really a fun tradition for us here at the White House, because I think we've really been able to change the conversation about what you guys eat," she told students from Washburn, Wisconsin; Cortez, Colorado; New Orleans and the District of Columbia who were invited to help with the planting.
"Because our thought was that if you know where your food comes from, you might be a little more interested in eating your vegetables if you know what they look like," Mrs. Obama said.
She started the garden just after the administration began in 2009 and it led to her signature initiative to reduce childhood obesity.
"This is my baby. And hopefully, this will not be the last planting," the first lady said a bit wistfully. "Hopefully, there will be other administrations who come in and they take up this project and continue to make this a part of the White House tradition."
NASA representatives participated in this year's event. Lettuce planted Tuesday has been grown on the International Space Station and a variety of Chinese cabbage now in the ground will be sent up to the space station later this week to be grown in space.