Fifteen-year-old Michael Shaw of Wyoming has been gardening for five years and won the sole proprietorship category in the first Sheridan County Youth Business Ventures Competition and a $500 prize. He sells a variety of vegetables and gourds, including pumpkins, winter squash, watermelon, corn, peas, potatoes and lettuce.

Shaw controls most of the garden’s produce. He has learned a lot over the past few years, especially the importance of starting early and the hobby’s inherent unpredictability. He mainly planted pumpkins and gourds in the first year, most of which were destroyed by an early frost. The second year, most of the garden was ruined by a hail storm.

“When I first started, I wasn’t really successful,” Shaw said. “It was fun but it didn’t work very well. I was still learning, and I’m still learning now. It takes a really long time to get good at this.”

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