In 2002, Bonnie Plants started the Third Grade Cabbage Program with a mission to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people. Each year, the company distributes more than one million free cabbage plants to third grade classrooms across the country. As part of the program, Bonnie Plants awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each state.
Andover Elementary/Middle School has been participating for three years. Last spring, all third grade students were given cabbage plants to bring home. The plan was to plant and nurture the cabbage all summer and bring back a photo in September.
For various reasons, many cabbages did not survive the summer. This year, AE/MS had only three cabbage entries when school started back up in the fall. However, they were an outstanding three entries!
Ruth Anderson, Grace Delsignore, and Jazlyn Perkins grew beautiful cabbages, photographed them, and entered the contest for the $1,000 scholarship. Ruth Anderson and her cabbage were chosen to represent AE/MS and have moved on to the next level of competition. State winners are announced in December.
Ruth, Grace, and Jazlyn were recognized for their green thumbs at a school assembly. Expectations are high for the 2012-2013 third grade classes at AE/MS; however, the girls have agreed to share their gardening tips.
Why a cabbage? It was the first plant sold by Bonnie Plants in 1918. The cabbages are the OS Cross variety, which is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for third graders. Some students have grown cabbages weighing more than 50 pounds!