1. K-State home
  2. »K-State Olathe
  3. »Community
  4. »K-12
  5. »Willie and the Wacky Salad Bonanza Contest

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
47-day time span and document this effort.

Overview and Timeline

Jan. 3 to Feb. 1 — Registration

Registration is free. The last day to register is Feb. 1, 2018.

Jan. 15 — Begin planting seeds

Following registration, contestants will be sent seeds for three different types of salad greens. At least one seed from each plant variety must be planted. Contestants/teams may decide how many total seeds they would like to plant and cultivate. All seeds, regardless of variety, must be grown in the same container (see the Contest Rules document for container dimensions).

March 3 — Contest judging

Contest judging will be March 3, 2018,  at K-State Olathe. The Cultural Practices document, which is required for the entry's consideration, is due with the entry and will be used as a tiebreaker. 

March 10 - Winners announced

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)

Flyer (pdf)


• K-State Extension in Johnson County

• Planet Natural Research Center

• Tower Garden Challenge

• Black-seeded Simpson lettuce

Lacinato kale

• Melody spinach


Registration closes Feb. 1, 2018.


Register now 


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

Registration is due by Feb. 1.



Martha Nowak

Martha Nowak

K-12 Program Coordinator