Growing a garden is an opportunity for teaching kids about citizenship. Our Hardee County 4-H members had a chance to see what it takes to grow the food we eat by participating in our first ever vegetable garden project. They were able to show citizenship and learn valuable life lessons.
To get started with this project, we partnered with Hardee County Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) to deliver this program in March 2017.
Participating 4-H members were given a raised 4’x8′ garden bed, soil & seed that was generously donated by YF&R. The participants met with Jonael Bosques, Hardee County Ag Agent & CED, to learn things such as how to properly plan out their garden (layout) and proper fertilization for the different vegetables. This year they were to grow sweet corn, squash, radishes and tomatoes.
The participants learned different lessons throughout the project. One of those lessons was about germination periods and time management as a lot of them had to replant radishes because they were ready to be harvested half way through the 8 week long project. One 4-H member decided to grow his vegetable garden strictly from seeds, where as most utilized transplants. He noted that his garden was not ready at the time of judging so he should start earlier next time.
Another tough lesson that the participants learned about was insects and diseases, especially on the squash plants.
After all was said and done, 12 Hardee County 4-H’ers completed their gardens as required and were eligible for awards and prizes. This year, we recognized the participants who had the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best overall gardens, as well as, the best yield and best record book.
The 1st place overall winner was Austin Barker. Our 2nd place overall winner went to Logan Nihart and Sadie Shoffner was the 3rd place overall winner. The best yield award went to Paige Tatom and finally the best record book was awarded to Logan Nihart as well.
Vegetable gardening can benefit 4-H families by: teaching them responsibility, time management, providing them with an activity that connects them with nature and they can also show citizenship by donating the fruits of their labor.
We are proud of each participant and their hard work and we are looking forward to get “growing” again this fall!
This project was financed through partnerships with Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers and Hardee County’s Soil & Water District.
To find out more about Hardee County 4-H and our upcoming projects- follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HardeeCounty4h/