Temple: Students advance in national gardening competition

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Some local elementary school students are advancing to a national competition thanks to their gardening skills.

(Photo by Sam DeLeon)

Starting at the beginning of the school year, 3rd grade students at Western Hills Elementary in Temple had been growing their own cabbages through the Bonnie Plants program.

After a panel of judges scored their work, three students are advancing to a national competition.

First place went to Deyauna Milton, second to Vaughn McQuiston, and 3rd to Elizabeth Collins.

“I had so much fun doing this, because we get to, like, you get to plant other things, and the cabbage is just big and heavy like we wanted it to be,” Milton said.

Their cabbages were judged on overall appearance and size, with some of the cabbages weighing in at 11 pounds.

"It was crazy! They were huge! One of them was, like, 11 pounds, that's like, my nephew at five months!” Judge and Western Hills Elementary social worker Emily Steele said.

Second place winner McQuiston said growing the vegetables was a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work as well.

"It was hard keeping snails and really bad worms, like grubs, off of the leaves and the head,” McQuiston said.

The garden club at Western Hills is called the “Rockin’ Roadrunner Junior Master Gardeners,” and they grow more than just cabbages throughout the year.

Gardening Instructor Jamie Hoelscher said the club grows everything from tomatoes and corn to watermelon and honeydew.

"We do want them to learn how to grow their own food, and take it from the seed to their plates, so that they can take it home and maybe they can do that at their house, or on their patio if they're in an apartment, in their yard,” Hoelscher said.

Teaching students about growing food, being part of a team, and taking initiative.

The garden club sends kids home with some of the food they produce.

The rest goes to the school’s chef, or is sold to teachers and parents.