April 22, 2011

10,000 Garden Challenge Registers Garden Number 2,000

Springfield gardener receives $500 gift certificate to farm and home supply store.

Bill Buron of Springfield, Mo., has been selected to receive the second $500 Tractor Supply Company gift certificate through his participation in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Buron was the 1,811th gardener to register at AgriMissouri.com. The 10,000 Garden Challenge encourages all Missourians to get their hands dirty in the effort to get 10,000 gardens growing across the state.

"The response to the 10,000 Garden Challenge thus far has been outstanding," said Gov. Jay Nixon. "The First Lady and I continue to see the momentum build with more gardeners getting on board to grow local produce, give a boost to the economy and support Missouri agriculture."

In his more than 40 years of gardening experience, Buron has experimented with a variety techniques and crops with the help of his wife, Carolyn.

"We've gone from conventional gardening to mostly organic," he said. "Last year, we tried growing loofa, and it worked out really well. We're going to have a lot to give away this year."

Buron also grows a variety of vegetables in raised beds and has established permanent blackberry and blueberry patches near his home in Springfield. He adds new beds to his property and varieties to those beds each year, he says the gift certificate to his local Tractor Supply Company store in Nixa, Mo., will help jumpstart those projects.

The 10,000 Garden Challenge kicked off March 18 with an announcement by Gov. Jay Nixon, First Lady Georganne Nixon and Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler encouraging Missourians to connect to agriculture by growing fresh produce, native plants and ornamental flowers in their backyards and communities. Since that time, over 2,000 Missouri gardeners have registered their plots in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Missourians can register their gardens as individuals or as groups at AgriMissouri.com. The 10,000 Garden Challenge website offers helpful gardening resources, including tips on vegetable planting, calendars and health and nutrition facts

After every 1,000th garden is registered, a drawing is held for a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply Company. Pamela Sample of Harrisburg, Mo., was the first gardener in the 10,000 Garden Challenge to be awarded a gift certificate. Sample was the 272nd gardener to register at AgriMissouri.com.

At an event in Springfield last week, the Department of Agriculture launched a special contest for school, church and community groups participating in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. The new contest provides opportunities to showcase their efforts and win trees, seeds and tools for their gardens or gardens to be. To participate in the school, church and community contest, registrants simply tell their gardening story in 1,000 words or less and upload a photo to the site showcasing their gardens. The contest is sponsored by Missouri's Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Stark Brothers Nursery.

To learn more about the 10,000 Garden Challenge, visit AgriMissouri.com. For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit mda.mo.gov.

*For a photo of Mr. Buron and his garden, please contact Christine Tew at the Missouri Department of Agriculture.