Writing Contest

Contest Entry Form

More than $1,800 in Combined Prizes – Enter the [Grow] Network Writing Contest for Your Chance to Win

The [Grow] Network writing contest is open to any written entries that are on a topic related to producing, preparing, or preserving your own food or medicine.  All entries must be original.  For a complete list of rules and eligibility restrictions visit this page – Rules and Prizes.

Do you have a special method for growing tomatoes?  Do you have a really great way to build a simple greenhouse?  Have you been experimenting with a breed of rabbits that can reproduce well in extreme heat or cold?  We are looking for articles that help with our vision of getting some home grown food on every table.  Get involved and help others by sharing your knowledge and ideas about home grown food and medicine.

After you have reviewed the rules and eligibility, use the form below to submit your entry.

A few tips for submitting:

⇒ Be sure to write a good, descriptive headline.
⇒ Include photographs to help illustrate your topic.
⇒ Review previous winners to see entries that have won prizes in the past.
⇒ Ask a friend or two to edit your work and make corrections before you enter.
⇒ For help with photographs or problems with the form, contact editor@growyourowngroceries.com.

Article and Contest Submissions

This is the place to enter your articles for our monthly contests. Note that you can also enter photos too - but please make sure they are your originals (we don't want any copywrite problems!)
  • Hi! Note that we won't be making your name public if you don't want it - you get to enter a pen name below that will be the public author.
  • Note that we don't make your email address public.
  • Create your article here:

  • Here is the place for your fun and interesting title. Your title should help to let people know what your article is about.
  • Video embed codes are accepted here as well. Set width to 610px. You can upload images for your article in the area below.
  • Article Images

    Images help the article come alive. If you've got images that are free of copy write restrictions (i.e. you or a friend took the photo). Note we've limited file sizes to 600KB. Sometimes you might need to resize your photo down - those digital cameras use up a lot of memory! If you need help re-sizing your photos down, use the free service at www.webresizer.com - it is easy to use.
  • This is where you can upload an image to accompany the text in your article
  • And you can upload another image here too.
  • And here is a place for a third image if you need it.

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33 Comments on Contest Entry Form

  1. kennethbroz

    I was required as a very young man to do a garden for scouting. I enlisted the help of my grandmother and we went and got some seeds, radishes, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. The garden produced very well and when I went to gather the first small harvest, I took a bucket of cold water from the faucet and threw the vegetables in it and was cleaning them and gave a taste and the fresh flavor was overwhelming. I had to stop as I had eaten almost half of my first gathering.. Since then I garden when and where I can, I like experimenting. I have had success with Artichokes in N. Texas and many other unusual growings. I try to do one experiment per year..

  2. Building Our Family Ark
    Kylene Jones

    Jonathan and I had always been good about keeping our pantry well-stocked and growing a token hobby garden every year. But as our family grew, so did our concern about being able to provide for our children in a world of growing concerns. It seemed that there were dangers threatening our security everywhere we looked. We needed to find a way to build an ark to protect us from the impending storms. That ark included producing as much of our food as possible.

    We lived on a one-third acre urban lot where farm animals were prohibited. Not ideal, but we could definitely provide for some of our family’s needs. We got busy incorporating fruit trees, grape vines, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and such into our landscape.

    The berries were the favorite. In order to take advantage of every inch of available space, grapes and berries were planted inside the fence line. The little ones loved to go and pick berries while they played. It was difficult to pick enough berries to make jam or to freeze. My bowl was magically emptied as fast as I could fill it. Their red and purple stained faces attested to their guilt. I really can’t complain. Those berries were packed with nutrients that made the children healthy and resistant to disease. They preferred fresh berries to candy.

    Grapes lined the entire back fence and thrived. Within three years, we had more grapes than we knew what to do with. We dried some into raisins but most of them were made into grape juice. We produced enough grape juice to last through the entire year. It was a fun for the teenagers to tell their friends it was “wine of our own make” and enjoy the delicious taste unavailable anywhere else.

    Fruit trees graced the landscape in both the front and back yard. Providing us with an opportunity to battle the birds for the cherries, enjoy peaches so juicy that juice dripped everywhere, and Fuji apples that are wonderful dried, stored and eaten fresh. Raised garden beds spanned the length of the yard. We grew potatoes in tires, feasted on tomatoes, squash and peppers. Every afternoon we made a trip out to the raised beds and harvested to supplement the evening meal.

    Eggs provided a little protein and fat. Chickens fell under the nuisance ordinance. If they didn’t bother the neighbors, we were allowed to keep them. One day our backdoor neighbor called and told me that the most beautiful exotic bird had landed in her back yard and I should come and see it. It turned out to be one of our hens. We remodeled the chicken coop to prevent any future escapes.

    We fell in love with our chickens. They children played with them and they behaved much like dogs, thoroughly enjoying the attention they were given on a regular basis. Collecting the colored eggs was like having Easter morning every day. However, this relationship made eating the chickens nearly impossible. We rotated our flock by posting them online in the classified section of a local paper. They were gone within a day. Somehow it was easier knowing they were in someone else’s freezer.

    Our children expressed that they loved living on a farm. It wasn’t really a farm, but we had created a wonderful little Eden in the midst of the city. There was so much more we wanted to do to build our little ark, but were trapped by local ordinances. Eventually, once our trees were full grown and producing like crazy, we moved to a little bit larger piece of land to build our dream ark. It has been a lot of work to start from scratch again. We now have opportunities that alluded us in our tract lot and are expanding our ability to produce a greater percentage of our own food.

    Our decision to grow our own food was based on the desire to feed our family even during the hard times. However, the blessings went well beyond food security. If all of the dangers lurking in our society evaporated today, we would still grow our own food. Allow me to illustrate a few of the benefits we experienced:
    • The overall health of our entire family increased due to exposure to sunshine, exercise, and increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • We don’t have to worry about what has been sprayed on our food. The soil is rich with nutrients so the produce is fresh, tasty and highly nutritious.
    • We learned to work together as a family. Planting, harvesting, preserving, and caring for the garden provided us with unique opportunities to work together and enjoy the products of our labor.
    • Growing your own food is a great teacher of important life lessons.
    • Knowledge is power. Our children know where their food comes from and how to grow it.
    • We saved significant money on our grocery bill. We are spoiled by the taste of fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables. Store bought eggs and produce just do not have the superior flavor of the foods we grow in our own backyard.
    • Life is beautiful. We found beauty and peace as we were surrounded by nature … trees, vines, plants and chickens.
    • Relationships with neighbors were enhanced by sharing fresh produce, with the possible exception of zucchini.
    • A sense of security permeated our home. We produced everything we could and stored what we could not produce. We developed the ability to provide for our needs for an extended period of time if the stores closed or our income was interrupted.

    As you can see, we have been greatly blessed in remarkable ways as we worked to master our home production skills. The decision to grow our own food has enriched our lives. It has enabled us to build our family ark, along with precious memories and relationships.

    • Kylene, that is a beautifully written post. When you put it up we were having technical difficulties with the usual form, but I’ll have this made into a post and let everyone know about it.

      You write really well and I liked your site. Lots of great info there and very well presented.

  3. Ron

    I got interested in prepping like many, Y2K. I always stored food but never truly tried gardening until I started listening to Jack Spirko’s show (also how I learned of this site). I started with tomatoes and after watching my wife swoon over homegrown I was hooked.

  4. The gardens of Germany, loving grandmothers teaching toddlers to plant the precious crops
    in the Spring, singing, laughing, talking to each other and the plants. Ducks and geese chattering
    nearby…paradise…memories that sustain the desire for gardening forever

    As a medical practitioner and also an Energy Medicine practitioner I have added these skills to
    “perfect” gardening by using the energy exercises for people’s health on plants as well. We know that plants communicate. They thrive with the extra energy balancing. I believe the people
    who garden with love are using Energy Medicine naturally and I am just beginning to study
    this aspect of gardening and would love to hear from others about their experiences with talking
    to their plants and extending their love to their gardens. Somehow in honoring our grandparents and following in their footsteps we have come full circle.

  5. Twiddlebug Jan

    Marjory, if you like my contest article, “Gardening Saved US!”, if you ever come to California, can I meet you? You inspire me.

    • Hi Jan,

      I would love to come meet you. I am hoping to do a workshop with John Jeavons sometime – he is in Willits.

      You never know! I’ve found my schedule quite a crazy unpredictable thing.

      If you ever come to Texas… let me know.

  6. Brian Moyerd

    You want the easiest, most innovative (and crazy) tip, trick, and insider secret about growing tomatoes!?? Are you Ready? It’s an eletronic vibrating toothbrush! It’s true!

    Tomatoes are self pollinating. That means both the male and female reproductive parts are contained in the same flower head. When your tomato plant starts to bloom with flowers, turn on your vibrating toothbrush, touch the back (non bristles side) of the toothbrush head to the base of the flower head and you will have just effectively hand pollinated that flower!

    Soon you will see a tiny tomato forming where the flower once was!

  7. Jackie Milne

    I live in northern Canada (NWT) so our growing season is just under 100 days, but we can grow almost everything we want with creative ways! A new thing we have tried this year which seems to be working out very well so far with Tomatoes. We started them inside a special insulated solar greenhouse and then transplanted them into large recycled black 5gal buckets with the bottoms cut out so when we moved them outside the main root ball is in a very nice warm bucket heated well from the sun yet the roots can go down as far as they want. In addition we’ve set the buckets on top of a long compost pile next to the wall on a building. I will send an update later to share the successes!

  8. Sharon

    Tomato tip I learned from a nurseryman: Go out mid-day and give your tomatoes a little shake. The day is dry and the pollen can move freely for self-pollinating. It is very helpful on no wind days like today for me. More tomatoes! I want to can more tomato sauce and have a first try at home canned ketchup. I have 6 plants in my small suburban garden and need to maximize production.

  9. Hi! My best trick so far is to grow great tomatoes within the adverse conditions of a high vole population and a severe drought. It is simple, yet has yielded an early and abundant crop. I planted in large black 5 gallon pots, with well-worked compost. I then sunk all the pots into the ground where I would have put them anyway. The lip of the pot is above ground, so the voles go around them instead of into them, thus protecting the roots. I put my stakes outside the pots, so they could be nice and deep, and used rain water from my water barrels to water directly into them. No water was wasted on unproductive earth and I mulched heavily around each pot so there have been no weeds to deal with. We have had softball sizes tomatoes by mid June, fully red and juicy!

  10. Auther

    HI, Just a shot note on some thing I found on the internet , its suggested that trim
    the lower branches on the tomato plants when they start getting flowers to help control
    mold when it rains in the last part of the summer and it helps to increase the plats yield.
    This is the first year I have used this method an teams to be working so far it is only July so

  11. Swede

    For gardening in general, I add Epson salt to my soil while planting. It doesn’t change the ph any, but adds minerals to soil and plants that I lack here at home.

  12. Anita Wald-tuttle

    Accidental tomato tip –
    When my daughter and her partner “put the garden to bed” last year he put all the dying plants in a pile in the middle of the garden. What did he know – not a lot, I guess. Over the winter’s rain and snow the pile decomposed. Last month (June) hundreds of heirloom tomato plants started sprouting in the middle of the garden – a virtual forest! My daughter started potting them in drink cups, then in small pots and finally in 7″ pots which she took to the healthy deli next door to our business and placed on the counter – free for their customers. She was busy all month with hundreds of plants and got lots of kudos from the recipients. Spreading love and nutrition one tomato plant at a time!

  13. Donna Ramos

    Marjory, I submitted an article for the contest the other day, but the form would not take my photos (2 I took myself). I re-sized them to only 30 KB & 76 KB, so I don’t know why not. I just tried to send them again and it still will not take them. I included a note with the article, hoping I can submit my photos some other way, but no one has contacted me as of yet. I hate to submit my article without the pictures to go with it. Please advise.

  14. Cari

    Just tried four times to submit a contest entry. Three times the website declined it because it wouldn’t accept a picture of any size. Finally submitted without a picture, and it went through as an article instead of a contest entry. So if you get multiples of this, I’m sorry. Your website and I are having an issue. Do hope it comes through one of these times! I’ll try one more time as a contest entry.

  15. This is in response to the FL. lady with the dragon issue. Someone needs to tell her to contact animal control or an animal rescue group or a reptile group to try to trap the reptile because it is not native to Florida and has been dumped by someone. That is cruel to the animal and to this lady as well. I used to have a Bearded Dragon as a pet and they are pretty harmless really especially if you grab them behind their head. This animal needs as much help as this lady does.

    I hope that someone can get this answer to her.

  16. Claire

    I have tried 3 times to submit an entry and this is my second attempt to comment. Nothing seems to go through. If you are pre-screening them, I apologize for spamming you… but I do not think I am getting them entered. I will try again tomorrow, if you have any insights please let me know.

    • Michael Ford

      Hi Claire – I’m not sure why you didn’t get a confirmation message, but your submissions did make it through to us. Thanks for sending this in to the contest!

  17. Alice J Haslam

    Good afternoon. I just submitted an article for the writing contest. It appeared to go through, but I did not receive a confirmation message. Can you confirm that you received my entry?

  18. Vicki Sann


    Both my sister and I made mistakes this year, locating plants too close together and not thinning the seedlings out. All I can do is assume that we were not thinking everything through.

    I had read that it is ok to put root vegetables in close to above ground plants, what a fiasco that was. Tomato plants an sweet potato slips do not mix we together. My sister placed her two sweet potato slips within inches of my three Yellow tomato plants, one of the slips grew 13 shoots,some has gone through the tomato plants, the other slip barely grew three shoots in the opposite directions thank goodness.

    We also found out that we’re still having trouble growing onions and carrots as we did at the other address of 35 sq ft garden. Ants eating carrot seeds, am I am unsure devoured some of the Onions when we planted three different types: yellows, reds and whites all in different sections. Next year, where ever we are, raised beds or in a greenhouse.

    Many of my sister’s friends complained about green peppers not do well; for the last few years we’ve replaced the old California Wonders with Jalapenos. I have three 4 feet tall plants that are producing fruit like crazy. We even use them in our chili or soups.

    I heard the other day, that if one places a ring of salt around the base of a squash plant, bugs will not cross it. I am a little concern with that idea: 1. How many times does one have to replace the salt ring? 2. Will it hurt the roots ?

    While watching a YouTube video on Lemon Grass, found out that we were ripped off. How one might say? Go to an Asian Market an look for Lemon Grass, mainly ones with a small nub at the bottom of the plant. Buy a few for under a dollar, root them in water, then plant them in potting soil and sell them for three dollars each.You made money.
    I only use Lemon Grass as a deterrent for Misquotes. A plant I have sits in a eighteen high potter and is four feet high and four and half feet wide, I saved a bunch of funds not purchasing Tiki Lights an liquid or Citron Candles and it works really well. It sits on my back deck. All it requires is six hours of sunlight,water, and plant food once a month. Well I forgot about the plant food for two months, not bad, I wonder how big it would be if I fed it every month?

    Our tomato plants grew every where, no cages and tying them to heavy sticks did not work either. We have four types: Beef Steak, Brandywine….. most flavorful, Jet Stars… vine ripe in the grocery, and Yellows…. Low Acid. I found square cages online, a bit more expensive than the round three leggier, squares have eight legs, hopefully better support.

    Thank you,