May 23, 2011

10,000 Garden Challenge Registers Garden Number 3,000

Jefferson City-area gardener receives $500 gift certificate to farm and home supply store

Fred Reinkemeyer of Henley, Mo., has been selected to receive the third $500 Tractor Supply Company gift certificate through his participation in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Reinkemeyer was the 2,505th gardener to register at 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.

"Missourians 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."

Reinkemeyer was introduced to gardening by his parents and has embraced it over the last 20 years. He grows about a dozen varieties of tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers and squash on more than 1,000 square feet of soil near his home.

"I like to watch things grow and I really like to help the neighbors out, too, with all of the extra produce we grow," Reinkemeyer said. The keys to his success, he said, are the butcher paper and straw he uses to mulch his tomatoes and his bunnies - Candy, Agnes, Jake and Suzie. Along with Suzie's new litter, they provide enough manure to fertilize the garden all season long.

Reinkemeyer grows enough tomatoes and onions to eat his own supply all year long and to share with his five children, ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and all of his neighbors. His favorite varieties to grow are Candy Apple Red onions and Pink Heart Polish tomatoes.

"The 10,000 Garden Challenge is intended to connect Missourians with agriculture, local foods and healthy eating and Mr. Reinkemeyer serves as an excellent example," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler.

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 3,000 Missouri gardeners have registered their plots in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Missourians can register their gardens as individuals or as groups at 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 Bill Buron of Springfield, garden number 1,811, was the second winner in the Challenge.

To learn more about the 10,000 Garden Challenge or to view photos of the third winner in the Challenge, visit For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit