PCA third-grader grows huge cabbage for scholarship contest

Published 8:14 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019

John-Ryan Hearn apparently has a green thumb.

The Porter’s Chapel Academy third-grader has grown a 7-pound cabbage and to become eligible for a $1,000 scholarship through the Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program sponsored by Union, Alabama-based Bonnie Plants.

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Under the program, third grade students each receive a small cabbage plant and a guide telling them how to grow it.

“We planted it Sept. 20, and then we harvested it Jan. 13, and that’s how big it got in that short of time,” said Jennifer Hearn, John-Ryan’s mother.

“We took a picture of it and sent it in. The instructions said to take a picture of it with yourself (John-Ryan) and submit it to your third grade teacher. He turned it in today (Thursday), so we’ll find out.

“From talking to other parents, it seems like theirs didn’t turn out so well, so maybe we might have the only one who did right,” she said.

According to the company’s website, teachers from each participating third grade class select the photo of the student who has grown the best cabbage, based on size and appearance, and emails it to the company.

The student’s name is entered in a random statewide drawing. State winners are randomly selected by the state Agriculture Commission, in each of 48 participating states.

Hearn said the cabbage was grown in a planter John-Ryan’s great-grandfather used to plant tomato plants, “And it took off.”

“I watered it every day, and my dad helped me,” John-Ryan said, adding he was surprised at how large the cabbage got. “The secret to having a big cabbage is fertilizer. We gave it a lot of sunlight.”

He said his picture drew attention from one classmate, but his teacher said “wow!” after looking at the photo. He said they waited too long to eat the cabbage, “So we fed it to the horses.”

And while he said his experience with the cabbage has encouraged him to grow more vegetables, specifically tomatoes, a career in farming is not in his future.

“Not going to be a farmer; not what I had in mind,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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