Walmart kicked off Earth Month with a series of #WinItWednesday contests. The first Twitter-based contest of the month challenged Twitter followers to submit their most creative ideas for keeping the spring garden green and free of pests. Walmart teamed up with Project 7 to judge the April 3, 2013 contest.

After browsing through hundreds of submissions, the winning entries were chosen:

Nancy Palutis (@livandjakesmama) discussed the inspiration for her submission and more in an email question and answer session.

How did you come up with the idea of growing different crops than your neighbors?

Palutis: Two years ago, we had a great turnout from our garden. We had tons of tomatoes, basil and zucchini. We ended up filling up brown bags with our extras and leaving them on our neighbors’ porches. We are very close with our next-door neighbors and between us both, we had far too many tomatoes! That was when we realized we should each plant something different and share the bounty!

How many of your neighbors grow their own veggies?

We are on a dead-end street of 8 houses. Last year, 4 of us had gardens of some sort growing veggies and/or fruit. I'm hoping that number grows this year!

What is your favorite vegetable to grow and why?

My personal favorite is zucchini. It is so tasty on the grill, which we are always using in the summer. My kids would vote for strawberries! We grew some in a large container last year, although once the fruit would start to ripen, a chipmunk would steal the berries and eat them. We would find the remnants in our driveway! My kids would start picking (and eating) the berries when they were still green! They were determined to beat that chipmunk! :)

Do your children help you in the garden?

Yes, they love watching everything ripen! Olivia is 6, Jake is 4, and Autumn is 1. They each have their own watering can and love helping us pick the veggies and fruit.

Nancy and the other two winners each received a $100 gift card and a three-month supply of Project 7 gum. In addition to these prizes, each winner will have 10 trees planted in their name by Project 7.

Find out more about the other winners in this month’s #WinItWednesday Twitter contest by following @WalmartGreen on Twitter of visiting the Walmart Green Room blog.

Start a neighborhood veggie swap
Nancy Palutis’s #WinItWednesday suggestion to swap fresh vegetables with her neighbors earned her a $100 Walmart gift card.