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K-State Olathe

Willie and the Salad Bonanza Contest

Willie and the Salad Bonanza is a contest open to elementary, middle and high school teams, along with other K-12 community organizations such as 4-H, scouts, FFA or other teams, interested in the scientific principles surrounding plant growth. The challenge is for teams of four individuals to grow the largest amount of Melody spinach, Lacinato kale and Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce in the same container using no more than five-gallons of growing medium over a
49-day time span and document this effort.


Feb. 17: 

Contestants will begin cultivating the three different types of salad greens within the same container. Cultivation will last for 49 days, and teams must document all activities. The number of seeds of each type (at least one of each type) will be up to the team to decide.

April 8:

Contest judging will be held at K-State Olathe on April 8. The Cultural Practices document, which is required for the entry's consideration, is due with the entry and will be used as a tiebreaker. 

Once judging is complete, a plaque for the school or organization with all team member names will be awarded for the top entries in each of the three levels: Grade K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. All who participate will receive a certificate of participation.

Contest Documents

Contest Rules (pdf)

• Cultural Practices (pdf)


• K-State Extension in Johnson County

• Planet Natural Research Center

• Tower Garden Challenge

• Black-seeded Simpson lettuce

Lacinato kale

• Melody spinach


For questions and more information, contact Martha Nowak, K-12 program coordinator, at msnowak@k-state.edu


Register now


Martha Nowak

Martha Nowak

K-12 Program Coordinator