Like first-time gardeners everywhere - inspired by the White House vegetable garden and bitten by the gardening bug - Maryland first lady Katie O'Malley doesn't want the fun, or the fresh vegetables, to end.
So, with a couple of hard-won gardening lessons under her belt and the help of master gardener Lisa Winters, a fall vegetable garden has been planted this week at Government House in Annapolis.
"I'd give the garden 100 percent," said O'Malley. "We have a few issues with the drainage and with the soil, but we have been working on those."
Over the summer, the first-ever vegetable garden at the governor's mansion produced an abundance of Swiss chard, plenty of greens and cucumbers, and lots of herbs, but no zucchini and not nearly enough tomatoes. Green peppers, eggplant and yellow squash are still being harvested.
"I liked having the garden," said O'Malley, who had the help of the state's master gardeners as well as sons Jack, 6, and William, 11.
"Not only for the good food it produced, but for the example it set for families to grow your own food, eat more healthfully and save money."
The garden was not without its problems. Located on one of the few patches with sun on the grounds, it still suffered from too much shade. "We had light issues," O'Malley conceded.
The soil was amended when the garden was installed in the spring, but it sits atop almost solid clay, said Winters, making drainage a problem, too.
"And we had rabbits," said O'Malley. "But they were cute."
The heavy rains at the end of August washed out the fall's lettuce seeds, which may be replaced with seedlings. Also planted for the fall are beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Chinese cabbage.
The chard is still growing well, as are most of the herbs. Chef Buz Porciello made a lot of pesto from the basil, and the rosemary should winter over. Porciello said the garden's harvest was used primarily for family dinners, though the herbs were used to garnish dishes for formal gatherings.
"My daughters are vegetarians," O'Malley said of Tara, 17, and Grace, 18. "So they loved this."
First-grader Jack is not a vegetable fan, but even he had a conversion experience. "Broccoli," he said with a grin, when his mother asked him what he liked to eat from the garden.
Unlike most of the 2,730 vegetable gardeners in Maryland who registered their gardens with the state's "Grow It, Eat It" program, O'Malley, who is an associate judge in the Baltimore District Court, had use of the brains and the brawn of the state's master gardeners.
"I had a flower garden in Baltimore and it was a lovely way to relax and unwind and to go with the girls," said the wife of Baltimore's former mayor. "But this is a huge garden, and I work full time now. It is nice to have help."