SANDOWN — Sandown elementary school students have been beating the odds and seeing a lot of green the past few years.
No, they’re not gamblers, just gardeners with green thumbs, a little luck and a knack for growing huge cabbage.
Last year, Natasha Hubley earned a $1,000 savings bond as New Hampshire’s winner of a national cabbage-growing contest. Natasha, the proud producer of a 9-pound vegetable, was chosen from among 2,612 schoolchildren in the state.
Each student was selected for growing the best and biggest cabbage in their grade or school, and entered in the content. The statewide winner is then chosen at random.
This year, another Sandown student has helped the district double its winnings — Julianna Double.
The fourth-grader and her 10-pound cabbage were recently selected as the Granite State’s winner in the contest sponsored by Bonnie Plants.
She was chosen from among 3,455 students at 86 New Hampshire schools, including those in Derry, Kingston, Londonderry, Pelham and Salem. About 1.5 million students participated nationwide.
The Alabama-based company is the largest vegetable and herb producer in North America, according to spokeswoman Joan Casanova.
The program helps youngsters learn about responsibility and the importance of agriculture, she said. Cabbage is the plant of choice because they are hardy and easy for children to grow, Casanova said.
Two years ago, a Montana girl grew a cabbage that topped 65 pounds, she said.
Natasha and Julianna are Sandown Central School students who participated in the contest as third-graders at Sandown North School, where the children’s interest in the program has really grown, according to teacher Justin Bentley-Melle.
“We are very proud of Julianna, as well as all of our students who participated in the program,” he said. “Successfully raising a healthy cabbage plant takes a lot of commitment. It is a great learning experience for the students.”