Sunday, October 7, 2012

Teachers, Enter Your Third Grade Class in This Gardening Contest

Photo Courtesy of Bonnie's Plants

Earlier this month, Bonnie’s Plants announced its annual Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program for third grade classrooms.  Although teachers need to sign up their students for the program now, Bonnie’s Plants will deliver the cabbage plants in the spring.  The free plants are OS Cross (Over-sized), which produce giant (as in up to 65 pound) cabbages.

In 2002, Bonnie Plants began the program to “inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people,” according to their press release.  Each year, Bonnie Plants gives more than one million 2-inch cabbage plants to 3rd grade classrooms.  The company provides detailed growing instructions, and each child takes responsibility for nurturing his or her own plant.  At the end of the growing season, in May or June, each class selects a winner based the size, appearance, and maturity of the cabbage and Bonnie's Plants enters the class winners in a $1,000 state scholarship drawing. 

Children can plant the cabbages in containers or in the soil.  The directions include complete care instructions, information about possible pests and diseases, as well as guidelines about how to know when the cabbage is ready to harvest, so no gardening experience is necessary.  Teachers search for ways to make problem solving and research skills relevant to their students, and figuring out how to defeat pests and diseases to grow a giant cabbage is a fun way to use these skills. 
Teachers may register their classes at http://bonniecabbageprogram.com.  As for what to do with a 40-pound cabbage, well that is another problem the children will need to solve.  Maybe they can make coleslaw for the entire school!

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