Ryder Raney Cabbage

Ryder Raney, 9, took a little plant and grew it into a 25.6-pound cabbage, becoming the Arizona winner of the  Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program.

Ryder Raney started with a little sprout … and grew quite a capacious cabbage.

It almost died, but the fourth-grader at Verrado Elementary School didn’t give up.

Indeed, he kept it growing. And growing. And growing …

Eventually, his monster vegetable weighed in at 25.6 pounds. That bested more than 15,000 kids around the state who entered a contest.

Ryder is the Arizona winner of Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, a national competition. For his vast vegetable, Bonnie Plants will give Ryder $1,000.

Which, you might say, is a lot of cabbage. 

“He doesn’t know he won yet,” said Ryder’s mother, Amie Raney. “We want to keep it a secret until the school holds an assembly to present him with the check on Dec 6.”

On his Bonnie Plants submission form, he wrote, “It took a lot of time and work to grow my cabbage. When we first planted it tomato worms were trying to kill it. We had to get chemicals to put on it to keep it safe. I also had to water it every day. 

“I am really proud of how big my cabbage was especially after it almost died!”

Though his roots are in farming, Ryder, 9,  isn’t looking to be a pro grower.

“He doesn’t want to be a farmer when he grows up but he enjoys helping his (father) on the family farm in Buckeye,” said Amie Raney.

“He says he wants to play football in the NFL when he grows up.”

In 1996, Bonnie Plants initiated the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program, “with a mission to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people and continue to “grow” our next generation of gardeners.” Bonnie Plants provides cabbage sprouts to schools and encourages the students to nurture them.

For more information, visit bonnieplants.com.