Oklahoma girl's giant cabbage earns her a $1,000 scholarship
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2/27/13 at 8:23 AM
Even though 10-year-old Winni Hiebert has helped her grandpa grow vegetables in his garden, she has never really grown anything herself.
But Winni managed to grow a colossal cabbage and win a $1,000 bond that will benefit her education.
Winni is a third-grader at Nicholas Elementary School in Miami, Okla. Like many of her classmates, she took part in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.
Each year Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America, trucks free O.S. Cross, or "oversized," cabbage plants to third-grade classrooms whose teachers have signed up for the program online at bonnieplants.com.
At the end of the season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the "best" cabbage, based on size and appearance. Then, the winner from each state is randomly selected by the state's Department of Agriculture to receive a $1,000 scholarship. Winni said she was surprised how big her cabbage grew and she is thrilled to have won the money for college.
"My school passed them out to us. I took my cabbage home, but I don't have any place big enough to grow them, so I took it to my grandpa's house to grow it," she said.
Winni said she had no idea the cabbage would grow so big.
"It grew pretty fast," she said.
According to Bonnie Plants, 11,545 kids participated from Oklahoma. And 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."
"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."
Bonnie Plants chose cabbages because they were the first plants sold by Bonnie in 1918.
The cabbages used for the third-grade program are OS Cross (oversized), which is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids.
Cabbage growing tips
Growing a colossal cabbage may seem like a giant undertaking for little kids, but it's easier than you think.
Let the sunshine in: Cabbages need at least six hours of full sunlight, more if possible.
Survey your space: 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 1 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 degrees, cover your cabbage with a bucket or cloth covering.
Original Print Headline: Girl's giant cabbage is also big on greenbacks
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Third-grader Winni Hiebert won a $1,000 scholarship for growing this colossal cabbage. Courtesy