Want to teach kids about growing really big vegetables? Check out these cabbages.
The national Bonnie Plants cabbage-growing program offers third-graders lessons about plants, patience and perseverance as they try to grow the biggest cabbage in their state.
Participating schools around the country receive a free Bonnie O.S. Cross - an "oversized" cabbage plant - to cultivate, nurture and grow. The cabbages often grow bigger than a basketball and can weigh up to 50 pounds.
At the end of the season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the best cabbage, based on size and appearance. Each school's winner competes for the state title. This year's South Carolina winner was Chadee Theo of Boiling Springs Elementary, who was randomly chosen as the state's winner by the S.C. Agriculture Department commissioner.
Last year, 1.5 million students participated in 45 states.
- Staff Reports
GETTING IT GROWING
All you need is:
- Sunshine: Cabbages need at least six hours of full sunlight per day - more if possible.
- Space: The huge cabbages need at least 3 feet on each side to spread out.
- Soil: Cabbages love nutrient-rich soil. Some compost should be worked in.
- Food: An all-purpose vegetable plant food will provide a good start for the cabbage. Then feed it every 10 days to keep it growing strong and healthy.
- Water: Cabbage needs at least an inch of water each week.
- TLC: Weeds must be kept out of the cabbage patch. They compete for food and water the cabbage needs to grow. Brown or white moths are also unwanted guests. They come from worms that love to munch on cabbage.
- Time: In 10-12 weeks, children should have a huge head of cabbage.
To see the 2009 winners and learn more about the 2010 contest, visit bonnieplants.com.