CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Belington fourth-grader has $1,000 toward her college education thanks to her efforts over the summer to tend a cabbage plant.
Katelyn Cross, who attends Belington Elementary School, participated as a third-grader in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, which encourages children to learn the joys of gardening.
More than 1.5 million third-graders in 48 states participated. In West Virginia, nearly 4,200 students participated. The state Department of Agriculture was in charge of selecting the West Virginia winner, which it did by random drawing of entries submitted for large cabbages.
Katelyn's mom, Missy Cross, said Katelyn tended hers all summer, and the family was surprised by just how big it got. (Katelyn was suffering from the flu this week and not feeling well.)
"She pretty much got into it," her mom said. That was a bit surprising because she and her husband, Roger, aren't particularly interested in gardening other than growing a few tomato plants.
"She put Miracle Gro on it and she talked to her pawpaw about it because he gardens," Cross said.
Children who participated in the program get some advice on giving their plants proper water, sunlight and fertilizer.
Katelyn's pawpaw, Gene Stalnaker of Philippi, also advised Katelyn to sprinkle a touch of salt on the plant when it was wet.
"He told her the bugs won't eat your cabbage then. He said not to put too much," her mother said.