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Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 01:02 am

CABBAGE PATCH KIDS

Most kids turn their noses up at cabbage. The look, the texture, the smell — it’s just no match for chicken fingers and pizza.

But what if there’s a bonus? The Springfield Civic Garden Club is calling on area third-graders to grow their own cabbages for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. The program, sponsored by the Bonnie Plant Company in Union Springs, Ala., distributes free cabbages to students, who plant them at home and chart their size and maturity. Each teacher chooses a class winner; the Illinois Department of Agriculture picks the final state winner.

“It’s to encourage young people to grow vegetables or to get into gardening,” says Nancy Tatarek, a member of the Springfield Civic Garden Club. “These cabbages grow absolutely huge, and they’re easy to grow. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

So far nearly 400 third-graders have signed up for the cabbage program. Teachers who wish to participate must register their class online by March 1. Call Tatarek at 546-7709 or visit www.bonnieplants.com for more information.
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