Nine Nebraska high school students and their families attended the Biggest Grower Day June 30 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The participants were invited to East Campus as part of the Biggest Grower gardening competition they are involved in during the summer season.
Students toured the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, including the Backyard Farmer Garden, Hops Planting Garden, Plant Science Teaching Greenhouse and Design Studio in Keim Hall. Participants also learned about plant propagation, hydroponics, field sensing equipment and landscape design.
“Participants had a great time making a home propagation kit, lunch box hydroponics system and sketching their dream landscape,” said Stacy Adams, associate professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture and the lead program coordinator. “It’s great to see these young people show such great interest in horticultural activities.”
The Biggest Grower competition offers Nebraska high school students the opportunity to learn how to start their own garden and small growing operation. Students plant, grow, cultivate, harvest and distribute their own fresh specialty crops in a garden space or in containers. Participants are randomly placed in virtual teams, with one team chosen as the Biggest Grower at the end of the competition. Each team member is awarded a $50 Amazon gift card.
Each participant in the program received a free, 2021 The Biggest Grower competition T-shirt and a copy of “The New Gardener’s Handbook,” by Daryl Beyers of the New York Botanical Garden. High school junior and senior participants will have the opportunity to apply for a Department of Agronomy and Horticulture scholarship of up to $1,000.
The competition began May 10 and ends Aug. 6. After all the data is entered and reviewed, the Biggest Grower team will be announced Sept. 4.