ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – A local gardener from Alamogordo is putting her green thumb to the test, by competing in a national competition. The Johnny Appleseed Organic Invitational puts gardening enthusiasts to the test in for a grand prize. 

Courtney McCay has only been gardening for two and a half years but decided to give the competition a shot. She’s now one of three finalists. “When I found out that, now there’s only three of us remaining, I was like oh this is great cause I feel like my odds increased,” says McCay. 

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Mccay says she heard about the competition on Instagram. The Johnny Appleseed Organic Invitational was hosting a national competition, where local gardeners would compete for a fifty-thousand-dollar prize.  

Among the categories are the heaviest squash, heaviest sweet potato, heaviest tomato, and the hottest pepper on the Scoville Scale.  

Mccay says one of her biggest challenges has been dealing with New Mexico’s climate. Which limited how fast her fruits and vegetables could grow. “We’ve been competing since February, that’s when most of our gardening seasons started, so it’s been a long-haul competition, but it’s been really fun and really cool just to see the engagement throughout the contest,” says McCay. 

Mccay says that if she wins the grand prize, she would give back to her community. She says she would help revitalize her community garden so that more residents can enjoy gardening. 

All three finalists will receive a $1,000 prize. The public also has until September 30 to vote for McCay’s photo on Instagram.