The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and Nebraska Extension will host a high school student gardening contest this summer for the third time.
With funding from the Nebraska Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Beyond School Bells, The Biggest Grower offers students the opportunity to start their own garden or patio to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for their families and communities.
The contest is free to all Nebraska high school students entering ninth through twelfth grades in fall 2022. Entrants will plant, grow, harvest, and distribute their fresh special crops and compete alongside other Nebraska students to find out who “The Greatest Producer” is.
Each participant in the program will receive a Biggest Grower t-shirt, a copy of “The New Gardener’s Handbook” by Daryl Beyers, a gardening multi-tool, seeds, stickers and instructions to get started.
“Entrants just need to try their hand at gardening, meet occasionally throughout the summer with their mentor gardener, and tell us how many fruits, vegetables and flowers they’ve grown in their Biggest Grower garden,” said said Stacy Adams, program director.
Lindy Schmidt of Columbus was crowned top producer last year with 193.21 pounds of produce. Second place was Brianna Simmons at 94.11 pounds and honorable mention was Madison Goldfish at 74.63 pounds. Both are from Shelton.
“When I encountered a problem in the garden, I was able to contact my gardening mentor to resolve the issue,” Simmons said. “These tips throughout the summer have been very beneficial to me and will greatly benefit my garden in the future.”
Campus Biggest Grower Day is June 17 on East Campus. Participants will meet their mentor gardener and the university’s horticulture faculty and be introduced to the scientific tools of the trade, learn about plant propagation and landscaping. They will also visit the Backyard Farmer Garden, hydroponics and greenhouses.
Dakota Staggs, Beyond School Bells program coordinator, wishes all producers good luck.
“BSB can’t think of a better way to engage Nebraska college students in growing their own food and having fun doing it,” Staggs said.
The contest will start on May 6 and end on August 12. Once all data has been entered and reviewed, the Top Producer winner, runners-up and honorable mentions will be announced and gift card prizes will be awarded on August 19.
Registration is open now. Places are limited to 50 participants.
Contact Stacy Adams at [email protected] with any questions.