Growing Knowledge pays

Alex Dixon’s passion for gardening has paid off in spades.

The 7-year-old Hampden boy recently won the best garden in the child category of the Yates Spring Veggie Growing Challenge, receiving $500 plus a hamper of Yates products.

Educated at home and a first-time entrant, Alex was keen to learn more about gardening as part of his science projects and spent hours researching in order to create the optimum growing conditions for his vegetables.

“I learned about different soil conditions, micro and macro nutrients, pH testing of soil and climate effects on germination so that when I planted my seeds they would all grow really well,”said Alex.

He successfully grew a range of vegetables including lettuce, Chinese cabbage, spinach, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, cauliflower, spring onions, red onions and his favourite, courgettes.

Alex’s mother, Kirsten, said the competition had been wonderful for his learning and just for having fun.

“Alex got so much encouragement from the other gardeners in the competition through the online blogging and he also connected with another boy his age in Northland and they did a seed swap. The sharing of knowledge from the more experienced gardeners really helped Alex sort out a couple of problems he had along the way.”

One of those problems was every gardener’s nemesis – aphids.

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