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Kids Grow Green: Cashing In Cabbage

Kids across America are growing, and some are earning, a lot of “green” participating in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.  This year, more than 1.5 million third graders in 48 states have gotten hands-on gardening experience growing colossal cabbages with high hopes to win “best in state” and receive a $1,000 scholarship towards education from Bonnie Plants. Each year Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, with 72 stations across the country, trucks free O.S. Cross, or “oversized,” cabbage plants to third grade classrooms whose teachers have signed up for the program online at  If nurtured and cared for, kids can grow green, giant cabbages, some tipping the scales at 40 pounds!

Launched nationally in 2002, the program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each participating state. At the end of the season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the “best” cabbage, based on size and appearance. A digital image of the cabbage and student is submitted online at 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 particpating states.

“The Bonnie Plants Cabbage 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”, said Stan Cope, President of Bonnie Plants. This unique, innovative program exposes children to agriculture and demonstrates, through hands-on experience, where food comes from. The program also affords our youth with some valuable life lessons in nurture, nature, responsibility, self-confidence and accomplishment”.

“Over the course of the past 10 years, the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program has proved to be an exciting, worth-while experience that children, teacher, parents and grandparents across the country have embraced. We’re pleased and proud to provide our youth with this enjoyable and enriching opportunity and engage their interest in the art and joy of gardening”, said Cope.

Getting It Growing: Growing a colossal cabbage may seem like a giant undertaking for little kids, but it’s easier than you think. All you need to do is:

  • Let the Sunshine In: Cabbages need at least six hours of full sunlight, more if possible.
  • Survey Your Space: 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.
  • Supplement Soil: Work some compost into the soil – cabbages love nutrient-rich soil.
  • Feed the Need: 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 level.
  • 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° F, cover your cabbage with a bucket or clothe covering.
  • Hefty Harvest: In just 10 to 12 weeks, you should have a huge head of cabbage you can be proud of.


Green thumbs and perseverance can pay off, providing participating children with as great sense of pride and accomplishment, a humongous cabbage, and for the lucky state winner…. the beginning of an educational fund for college. To see the 2012 winners and learn more about the 2013 contest, visit

Why a cabbage?  Cabbages were the first plant sold by Bonnie in 1918. The cabbages used for the 3rd grade program  are OS Cross (over-sized), which is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids.

Rave Reviews:  “The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program is a wonderful way to engage children’s interest in agriculture, while teaching them not only the basics of biology, but the importance of our food and fiber systems.  This innovative program exposes children to agriculture and demonstrates through hand-on experience, where their food comes from. We’re grateful to the people at Bonnie Plants for continuing to provide this program, nationwide, and successfully connect our youth to agriculture”. (FORMER) Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture, Ron Sparks

“The Third Grade Cabbage Program provides valuable lessons to students about agriculture and the way it touches everyone’s life every day. I commend Bonnie Plants for this program”. (FORMER) Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer

“The Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program is a wonderful way to engage children’s interest in science. The students learn the life cycle of a plant, how to care for it and what it needs to grow: soil, sunlight, water.  Kimberly Dalton, Costner Elementary, North Carolina

“Every year Bonnie Plants sends us cabbage seedlings, the project teaches students many lessons including how to grow their own food. The biggest lesson I think they learn from this program is how fast vegetables can grow. Students were just amazed and impressed on how fast and easy it was to grow their own food. I think kids sometimes forget that they can grow food so this is a great lesson!”  Jennifer Bloom, Russell Ranch Elementary, Folsom, CA

It’s good for the students to get out there and grow their own plants. It helps them learn about nature, soil composition and the parts of plants, but it also shows them where things come from,” she said. “So many young people take for granted the fact that we can walk into the store and buy whatever we want. It’s a good history lesson for them to learn that it wasn’t always like that, even in this country”. Melody Witt, Alto Elementary Principal, Texas

Here is a listing of the Indiana schools that are participating in the program:

St.   John Bosco   IN
Arlington   Elementary Arlington IN
Attica   Elementary Attica IN
St. Mary’s   School Avilla IN
White Oak   Elemetary Avon IN
Hickory   Elementary Avon IN
Cedar   Elementary Avon IN
Pine Tree   Elementary Avon IN
Maple   Elementary Avon IN
River Birch  Elementary Avon IN
Sycamore Avon IN
Bainbridge  Elementary Bainbridge IN
St. Vincent  de Paul School Bedford IN
Stalker   Elementary Bedford IN
Needmore   Elementary Bedford IN
Lincoln   Elementary Bedford IN
Shawswick   Elementary Bedford IN
Parkview   Intermediate Bedford IN
Pennacle   Elementary Bloomington IN
Fairview   Elementary Bloomington IN
St. Charles   Elementary Bloomington IN
Arlington   Heights Bloomington IN
Child   Elementary Bloomington IN
Binford   Elementary Bloomington IN
Cornerstone Christian Academy Brazil IN
Van Buren   Elementary Brazil IN
East Side   Elementary Brazil IN
Meridian   Elementary School Brazil IN
Forest Park   Elementary Brazil IN
Jackson TWP Brazil IN
Hales Little   Angels Childcare Brazil IN
North Knox   Intermediatw Bruceville IN
Mt Carmel   Elementary Cedar Grove IN
Johnathan   Jennings Elementary Charlestown IN
Pleasant   Ridge Elementary Charlestown IN
Chesterton   Montessori Chesterton IN
Fairhaven   Baptist Academy Chesterton IN
Van Duyn Clinton IN
Ernie Pyle   Elementary Clinton IN
Central   Elementary Clinton IN
Cloverdale   Elementary Cloverdale IN
St. Peter’s   Lutheran School Columbus IN
Saint   Bartholomew School Columbus IN
Columbus   Signature Academy- Lincoln Columbus IN
CSA Fodrea Columbus IN
W.D. Richards   Elementary Columbus IN
L.C. Schmitt   Elementary Columbus IN
Parkside   Elementary Columbus IN
Southside   Elementary Columbus IN
St Gabriel Connersville IN
Lester B.   Sommer Crawfordsville IN
Pleasant Hill   Elementary Crawfordsville IN
Surgar Creek   Elementary Crawfordsville IN
Nicholson   Elementary School Crawfordsville IN
Lake Street   Elementary Crown Point IN
Timothy Ball   Elementary Crown Point IN
Daleville   elementary Dalevile IN
Delphi   Elementary Delphi IN
St. Vincent   dePaul School Elkhart IN
Holy Cross   School Fort Branch IN
Francisco   Elementary Francisco IN
Clinton   Prarie Elementary Frankfort IN
Suncrest   Elementary Frankfort IN
Green Meadows   Elementary Frankfort IN
Northwood   Elementary Franklin IN
Creekside Franklin IN
Northview   Elementary Gas City IN
Jefferson   Elementary Goshen IN
Saint Mary   Elementary Greensburg IN
North Decatur   Elementary Greensburg IN
North   Deacatue Elementary Greensburg IN
South Decatur   Elementary Greensburg IN
Greensburg   Elementary Greensburg IN
Our Lady Of   The Greenwood Greenwood IN
Southwest   Elementary Greenwood IN
North   Dearborn Elementary Guilford IN
North Deaborn   Elementary Guliford IN
Montessori   Children’s Schoolhouse Hammond IN
Hazel Young   Academy Hammond IN
Kenwood   Elementary Hammond IN
Maywood   Elementary Hammond IN
Frank   O’Bannon Elementary Hammond IN
Southwestern   Elementary Hanover IN
Southside   Elementary Hartford City IN
St. Bridget   School Hobart IN
Ridgeview   Elementary Hobart IN
River Forest   Elementary Hobart IN
Suburban   Christian School Indianapolis IN
The Key Learning Center Indianapolis IN
Glenns Valley   Elementary Indianapolis IN
Arlington   Elementary Indianapolis IN
Douglas   Macarthur Elementary Indianapolis IN
Imagine ILSAW Indianopolis IN
Grainville Wells Elementary Jamestown IN
Mapel   Elementary Jeffersonville IN
Springhill   Elementary Jeffersonville IN
North Haven   Elementary Jeffersonville IN
Riverside   Elementary Jeffersonville IN
Utica   Elementary Jeffersonville IN
The Kings   Academy Jonesboro IN
South Newton   Elementary Kentland IN
The Childrens Christian Academy Kokomo IN
James Cole   Elementary Lafayette IN
Murdock   Elementary Lafayette IN
Mintoyne   Elementary Lafayette IN
Amelia   Earhart Elementary Lafayette IN
Glen Acres Lafayette IN
Mayflower   Millitary Elementary Lafayette IN
Edgelea   Elementary Lafayette IN
Wea Ridge   Elementary lafayette IN
Hershey   Elementary Lafayette IN
Lincoln   Elementary LaPorte IN
Saint   Lawrence School Lawrenceburg IN
Bright   Elementary Lawrenceburg IN
Perry Worth   Elementary Lebanon IN
Central   Elementary Lebanon IN
Harney   Elementary Lebanon IN
Hattie   Elementary Lebanon IN
Liberty Elementary Liberty IN
West Loogodee   Elementary Loogootee IN
Barton   Township Mackey IN
Anderson   Elementary Madison IN
E.O. Muncie   Elementary Madison IN
Allen   elementary Marion IN
Frances  Slocum Elementary Marion IN
St Paul Parish School Maron IN
Turky Run   Elementary Marshall IN
Mays Elementary Mays IN
John Wood Merrillville IN
Clinton Central Elementary Michagantown IN
Shenandoah  Elementary Middletown IN
Milroy Elementary Milroy IN
Montezuma   Elementary Montezuma IN
Bar Reeve   Intermediate Montgomery IN
Northwood   Elementary Mooresville IN
Mooresville Christian Academy Moorseville IN
Neil Armstrong Elementary School Moorseville IN
Sutton Elementary Muncie IN
East  Washington Academy Muncie IN
Royerton Elementary Muncie IN
Elliott   Elementary Munster IN
James B. Eads Elementary Munster IN
Frank H.   Hammond Munster IN
Parker  Elementary New Castle IN
Wilbur Wright New Castle IN
New Market Elementary New Market IN
Walnut Elementry School New Ross IN
North Salem Elementry North Salem IN
Oakland City   Elementary Oakland City IN
Dollens   Elementary Oolitic IN
Maple Ridge   Elementary Pendleton IN
East Elementary Pendleton IN
Pendleton Elementary School Pendleton IN
Southern  Wells Elementary Poneto IN
Reelsville   Elementary Reelsville IN
Riley   Elementary Riley IN
Roachdale   Elementary Roachdale IN
Rockville   Elementary Rockville IN
Rushville   East Elementary Rushville IN
Rushville   Elementary East Rushville IN
Forrest Ridge   Academy Schereville IN
Immanuel   Lutheran School Seymour IN
Emerson   Elementary Seymour IN
Brown   Elementary Seymour IN
Redding   Elementary Seymour IN
Seymour   Jackson Elementary Seymour IN
St. Anthony’s South Bend IN
St. John the Baptist Catholic School South Bend IN
Spencer   Elementary Spencer IN
McCormicks   Creed Elementary Spencer IN
Sunman   Elementary Sunman IN
Syracuse   Elementary Syracuse IN
Taylorsville   Elementary Taylorsville IN
Quabache   Elementary Terre Haute IN
Indian Creek   Intermediate School Trafalgar IN
Thomas   Jefferson Elementary Valparaiso IN
Parkview   Elementary Valparaiso IN
Southeast   Fountain Elementary Veedersburg IN
Wabash Valley   Elementary Vincennes IN
Flaget Elementary Vincennes IN
Riley   Elementary Vincennes IN
Franklin Elementary Vincennes IN
Tecumseh   Harrision Elementary Vincennes IN
South Knox Elementary Vincennes IN
Lena Dunn   Elementary School Washington IN
Helen   Griffith Elementary Washington IN
North   Elementary Washington IN
Waveland   Elementary Waveland IN
Klondike   Elmenentary West Lafayette IN
Oak Trace   Elementary Westfield IN
Shamrock Springs Elementary Westfield IN
Willeamsport   Elementary Williamsport IN
Fayette W-Terra Haute IN
Yorktown   Elementary Yorktown IN

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