That student’s name is then entered in a statewide
drawing. State winners are randomly selected by the
commission of agriculture, in each of 48 participating
states. Typically, 1.5 million third-graders take part
in the hands-on gardening experience, some of them
raising cabbages that are as large as a basketball,
tipping the scales at more than 40 pounds.
2013, winning cabbages weighed 46 pounds in Alabama, 38
in Florida, 16 in Texas, 20 in Arizona, 59.78 in South
Carolina, 28 in Pennsylvania and 30.4 in New York.
McLean, Va., winner Leo Massery, a third grader at Kent
Gardens Elementary School, grew a cabbage that weighed
21.6 pounds and measured 40 inches across one way and 37
inches the other way.
I got my plant I went home and on the weekend my Papa
and I planted it," he says.
used compost and fresh fish guts under the plant as
fertilizer. We went fishing that weekend for trout and
used the guts heads and tails as fertilizer. It worked
great. I also weeded it and watered it as needed. I
checked on it every day. We also used organic bug spray
to keep the bugs from eating it. It was the biggest
thing I ever grew. It was a lot of fun."
is easy for third-grade teachers who want to sign up.
Bonnie Plants, which has 72 plant stations nationally,
delivers free O.S. Cross, or oversized, cabbage
plants to third-grade classrooms for teachers who have
requested them online at www.bonnieplants.com. As
the kids grow and nurture the cabbages, teachers can
incorporate science and math lessons into the process.
a cabbage? Cabbages were the first plant sold by
Bonnie in 1918, and the cabbages used for the program
produce giants that make the process adventurous for
program is a wonderful way to engage children’s
interest in agriculture, while teaching them not only
the basics of gardening, but the importance of our food
systems and growing our own," says Stan Cope,
president of Bonnie Plants.
you want to grow your own colossal cabbages at home with
or without kids, here are some tips from Bonnie Plants
on how to get them growing:
Let the sunshine in. Cabbages need at least six hours of
full sunlight, more if possible.
Survey your site. Bonnie O.S. cabbages need at
least three feet on each side to spread out. If you don’t
have that much space, use a large container.
Amend the soil. Work some compost into the soil —
cabbages love nutrient-rich soil.
Feed the beast. Start your cabbage off right with an
all-purpose vegetable fertilizer, then fertilize it
every 10 days to keep it growing strong.
Water wisely. Your cabbage needs at least one inch of
rainfall each week. If it doesn’t rain, use a watering
can or garden hose to gently water your plant at soil
Tend to trouble. Keep weeds out of the cabbage patch —
they compete for the food and water your cabbage needs.
Be on the lookout for brown or white moths – these
come from worms that love to munch on cabbage. If you
see any, get rid of them right away. Cold weather can
damage your cabbage. If the weather gets below 32
degrees Fahrenheit, cover your cabbage with a bucket or
Heave-ho the harvest. In just 10 to 12 weeks, you should
have a huge head of cabbage you can be proud of — and
provide you with lots of creamy coleslaw.
see all the 2013 winners and learn more about the 2014
contest, visit www.bonnieplants.com