Lots of us grow cabbages in our gardens, along with carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and beans. But have you ever grown a cabbage so big that it could feed the neighborhood?

Garden master Jim Duthie introduces us to a Boise grade schooler who did just that, and it paid off for him in a big way, thanks to a national program sponsored by the Bonnie Plant Company.

People have lots of reasons for growing their own vegetables, but one Boise boy has earned some cabbage – cold, hard cash – for growing, well, some cabbage. And this cabbage turned out to be one of the biggest ones grown in Idaho.

Grant Durham is a typical fourth grader at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Boise. Last year, when he was in the third grade, Grant participated in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, and it paid off. He won the cash prize for growing one of the biggest cabbages in the state -- and got a $1,000 savings bond, courtesy of Bonnie Plants.

So how big was this cabbage?

“25 pounds.”

That’s 25.8 pounds to be exact. Grant was one of nearly 8,000 Idaho third graders that participated in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.

“Each year, Bonnie Plants gives about a million cabbage plants to third graders all across the country, and it’s our chance to inspire the next generation of gardeners,” said Corey Chase, Bonnie Plants.

“The cabbage program has grown every year and we just find that we can touch a lot of kids with this program.”

Like these winners from other parts of the country, whose cabbages were judged by weight as well as size.

Two years ago, Hayden Pena of Star won the award for his 23.6-pound cabbage.

“That’s typical. You can get that just with taking good care of it, watering it, fertilize. Yeah, you can get to 25 pounds pretty easy.”

But Grant wasn’t really sure that he could win.

“I thought the chances were low…”

After all, he doesn’t even have a garden.

“No, but my grandpa does. That’s where we planted it.”

And growing the cabbage became a project that he was able to share with his grandpa.

“I watered it every Saturday and Sunday, because that’s only when I go there, when school is out.”

And the hardest part?

“Digging the hole.”

So what do you do with a 25-pound cabbage? Make cole slaw for the entire neighborhood?

“No. I don’t like cole slaw.”

“I think it just stayed in our garage freezer in a plastic bag till it rotted out.”

Grant’s third grade teacher Mrs. Guerricabeitia says the cabbage program is a great way for her students to learn about the science of horticulture.

“It fits into our science curriculum,” she said. “We talk about the plant life cycle and growing and what plants need to grow, and what kinds of things can grow in this region.”

“It’s very easy. Bonnie Plants brings the cabbages. They leave them here. We hand them out. They come with paperwork that explains to the kids what to do.”

“There are two things that make a good cabbage. How heavy it is, and how wide it is.”

“So each school sends in one winner from the school, and then from all those winners we choose one.”

While Grant doesn’t really like cabbage, he does have some advice on how to grow a big one.

“Try your best to fertilize it and talk to it.”

And just what do you say to a cabbage?

“Please, please, please, please, please grow.”

And that’s exactly what happened. And Grant has the green… er, the cabbage…. er, the cash, to prove it.

The huge cabbages like the one Grant grew are a variety called O-S Cross, and they can tip the scales at up to 40 pounds. By comparison, the cabbages that we buy in the grocery store usually only weigh about two to three pounds.

Learn more about the Bonnie Plant Cabbage Program on their website.

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