Food & dining

Phillipston third-grader begins gardening career with a prize

Delaney Ledoux and her 22-pound cabbage.

Delaney Ledoux and her 22-pound cabbage.

A real-life cabbage patch kid, 9-year-old Delaney Ledoux has an award-winning green thumb. She was just selected by the Massachusetts Agriculture Department to receive a savings bond worth $1,000.

Last May, Delaney’s third-grade teacher, Linda Qualters, introduced her Phillipston class to the plant growth cycle with the help of cabbage seedlings provided by Bonnie Plants, an Alabama-based plant and seed company. The wholesaler created the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program to promote a love of gardening.

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After an entire summer of watering, checking the soil, and cleaning the leaves, Delaney grew a nearly 22-pound cabbage, and was randomly selected by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Third-grade teachers statewide had picked the largest, best-looking cabbages from photographs submitted by their students, then all the submissions went to the Bay State’s agriculture department for a drawing.

Delaney says she was excited by her win and “didn’t think [the cabbage] was going to get that big.” She loves to help her mom, Cheryl, tend their garden. And though she likes vegetables — her favorite is cherry tomatoes — Delaney gave her prize-winning green orb to a family friend to make golumpki, a traditional Polish dish of stuffed cabbage, with its leaves.

With a newfound love of gardening, Delaney has now set her sights a little higher. Next up: a giant pumpkin.

Katherine Hysmith can be reached at kchysmith@gmail.com.
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