Forget charter school amendment. Let’s talk giant cabbages.

This photo was just too sweet not to share.

Collin Jenkins of Roopville Elementary in Carroll County grew this monster cabbage and won a $1,000 saving bond for his education from Bonnie Plants. Nearly 48,000 Georgia schoolchildren in 2257 schools grew cabbagecabbages for the annual contest.

To learn out about next year’s contest, go here.

Launched in 2002, the program awards a $1,000 bond to one student in each participating state. Bonnie Plants provides one million cabbage plants to third grade classrooms nationwide each year. The students plant them and tend them.

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

I am from a very urban area of New Jersey where folks don’t grow too many giant vegetables. But as the feature editor for a newspaper in Florida, I often received photos from readers of their nearly 2-pound cucumbers and over-sized watermelons. There were so many that I couldn’t publish them in the newspaper.

So, I am delighted now to have space to share this one.

Congrats to Collin for winning.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

31 comments Add your comment


November 5th, 2012
2:40 pm

Absolutely darling.

Finally like reading ajc

November 5th, 2012
2:46 pm

Does he want to go to a charter school?


November 5th, 2012
2:56 pm

Thanks for sharing a cool story. Congrats to Collin!

Old timer

November 5th, 2012
3:09 pm

DeKalb Parent

November 5th, 2012
3:23 pm

The Cool Cabbage Child Chooses Charter Schools in Carroll County?


November 5th, 2012
3:43 pm


November 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

What college did they attend?


November 5th, 2012
4:07 pm

That is one BIG cabbage! I wonder how much cole slaw it would make?

But seriously, way to go, Collin!


November 5th, 2012
4:28 pm

Congrats to Colin. That is one great cabbage… find some polish sausage and a littel butter and steam it for a bit and will be delicious to eat.


November 5th, 2012
4:52 pm

That is one over blown cabbage!! Is that boy a future Republican candidate?

Finally like reading ajc except for Jay

November 5th, 2012
5:12 pm

Maureen… I knew nothing about the charter school amendment 6 weeks ago. Thank you and your audience for the information.

Atlanta Mom

November 5th, 2012
5:15 pm

Yes, I am for giant cabbages!.

Pride and Joy

November 5th, 2012
5:30 pm

And he even looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid. Adorable.

Private Citizen

November 5th, 2012
5:44 pm

That’s a happy looking cabbage.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

November 5th, 2012
5:48 pm

Way to go, Collin! Looks like you have a “green thumb” for certain!


November 5th, 2012
6:13 pm

Here’s a segue … the loss of 4H programs in our urban and suburban schools. The DeKalb County Extension Service is ready, willing, and able to set one up in any of our county’s schools. As our culture moves farther and farther from self-sufficiency in terms of food – growing it, storing it, and preparing it – what a lovely example that the most basic of learning opportunities can be found in a school’s “back yard.”


November 5th, 2012
7:04 pm

Perfect example of what can happen when you plant something and tend to it carefully and faithfully! What a great lesson :)


November 5th, 2012
7:12 pm

Just love it! They must have great soil down there!


November 5th, 2012
7:13 pm

Can you find out how he kept it from splitting?

Hillbilly D

November 5th, 2012
7:43 pm

I never have really understood the giant vegetable thing. True, they look impressive but they aren’t really good eatin’ compared to the normal sized varieties.

Fred ™

November 5th, 2012
9:11 pm

I am from a very urban area of New Jersey

Say it isn’t so. I liked you until you told me THAT, now I have to boycott you. Is Snooki kin to you?

LOL Just kidding. Nice picture. I had forgotten about that contest. My daughter tried it when she was in third grade. Her plant never got much past the spout stage………..


November 5th, 2012
9:42 pm

That picture is really cute. Thanks for sharing this story because I had forgotten about this contest.

Dr. Monica Henson

November 5th, 2012
10:45 pm

I love this story! My husband’s cousin has a beautiful garden every year in the mountains in western NC. This summer his daughter, a 3rd grader, grew an enormous cabbage and won a $1,000 Bonnie scholarship, too. Very exciting and fun!


November 6th, 2012
5:15 am

Great story that reminds us of the wonderful things that children are learning and doingnall over Georgia!

Clancy Caldwell

November 6th, 2012
11:04 am

Way to go Collin! We are so proud of you!
Uncle Wade, Aunt Clancy, Chloe & Mia

mystery poster

November 6th, 2012
11:48 am

Wow, I don’t think there’s anything that I can add to what everyone else has already said. It’s great to see a child excited about learning and putting that learning into practice. Way to go!

Libbye and Brad Shadinger

November 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

Congrats to Collin, he is our Grandson and this cabbage was grown in a raised bed garden,which we refer to as The Victory Garden!!! The bed has compost from a local man, Wayne Seabolt ,who gets elephant dung from the Atlanta Zoo!!! We watered often and used Miracle Grow. The cabbage weighed 35 lbs and was very good to eat! We shared some with his other Grandparents Bob and Judy Jenkins. We made enough coleslaw to feed all of Roopville Ga. which we served at a very large Memorial Day celebration!!! We love you Collin Jenkins Libbye and Brad Shadinger or Nana and Grandaddy

Chris Eagle

November 6th, 2012
2:08 pm

Wow… nice cabbage. How did he keep the bugs from eating holes in the leaves? That’s always been my problem with growing cabbages.


November 6th, 2012
2:22 pm

Fed it with elephant dung. No wonder it’s so big!

Ole Guy

November 7th, 2012
2:43 pm

Cool…Darling…Very nice. Not to be a stick-in-the-mud, but just exactly how does this effort; this initiative lend toward anything resembling education? While these events are very…cute…and provide the participants with some good experience in (what was once called FFA/Future Farmers of America) basic horticultural sciences, where is the ROI/return on investment in terms of arming the kid with something which will actually have applicability somewhere in the next 9 years of academic pursuit.

Does this event provide a good experience, outside of the educational realm, in growing gardens…and, on a broad platform, teaching skills in project management…absolutely. The 64M question…given the time and resources involved, where is the ROI?

In a time when time-honored programs in sports, the arts, and even the simple pleasures of relaxation are all under the fiscal gun, is this anything more than…something cute, cool, darling, and very nice…none of which will prep the kid for what lies ahead.

Sod Buster

November 8th, 2012
1:42 pm

Ole Guy: First I think you mean Ol’ guy, unless you are a guy at a bullfight in Barcelona. Second, I guess you haven’t done much in the arena of planting and growing crops. I commend this youngster for now understanding that cabbage is a plant grown in the ground and needs attention (water, fertilizer, pest control of some kind, etc.). I’ll bet he and his classmates that participated in this contest know a few more things about soil science, fertilizers and RESPONSIBILITY than most their age. And coming out of Carroll County, there’s quite a few kids their age there.
By the way, did you notice that the contest was sponsored by Bonnie Plants? That company is a $450 million company doing business in 48 states. Maybe, just maybe, one of those children you say are getting no return on investment will be employed by Bonnie Plant or another plant science-based company (think—> Monsanto, a multi-billion dollar company).