The Special Gardening Project is an opportunity for 4-H members to grow unusual and fun projects in their gardens. Each year, a new plant is selected as the focus for all members enrolled in the project. Youth receive seeds which they plant and cultivate using project resources provided throughout the experience. Youth then have the opportunity to exhibit cut flowers or harvested vegetables or present their experience through a poster or report. The project is designed to challenge youth interested in horticulture by introducing them to new and unique growing experiences and foster real-world problem-solving skills through a guided horticultural experience.
2019 SPECIAL GARDENING PROJECT
This year the Special Gardening Project is focused on the unique, Carmine Splendor Okra. Carmine Splendor Okra is as unique as it is tasty. This plant is high yielding and produces uniform, red pods. The stout 5-pointed pods are deep red when small and at the best eating quality. The tropical-looking, pinkish flowers are also edible and have a sweet, mild flavor. The mature seed pods also give a fun twist for winter interest in a container.
PROCESS & GUIDELINES FOR PARTICIPATION
Step 1: Enroll
Enroll for the Special Gardening Project through 4-H Online. There is a small enrollment fee of $0.50 for this project which covers the cost of seeds.
Step 2: Order Seeds
Contact your local Extension office and let them know how many seed packets you need. If you do not contact your local Extension office, seeds might not be available for you. The county office will order seeds as a county unit then distribute them to the enrolled members. Place your order as early as possible as counties must have their unit orders submitted by February 1st.
Step 3: Pick Up Seeds
Seeds will be sent to the county Extension offices. Pick seeds up from your local Extension office when the county informs you that seeds are available (should be around April-May).
Step 4: Plant & Cultivate
Review regular project newsletters and resources as they become available. These materials will help guide you through the project experiences, solve problems, and prepare your projects for exhibition.
Step 5: Exhibit at County & State Fairs
Exhibits - Youth must be enrolled in the Special Garden Project through 4-H Online in order to exhibit in the State Fair eligible classes:
- Class G775001 - Special Gardening Project Educational Exhibit - The educational exhibit is based on what was learned from the project. Present information on a 14"x22" poster or in a clear plastic report cover. The 4-H member's name, age, full address, and county must be on the back of the poster or report cover. Fresh cut flowers or harvested vegetables should be entered in class G775002
- Class G775002 - Special Gardening Project Fresh Cut Flowers or Harvested Vegetables - The current year's Special Garden project fresh cut flowers or harvest vegetables should be entered in this class. Bring 5 pods following the guidelines in the publication, 4H226 Selecting and Preparing Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit for Exhibits (revised 2016). The desirable traits the judge is looking for are 2-4" long pods that are the same maturity and uniform in size. Avoid selecting pods that are damaged by insects, misshapen, or over-mature.
Additional classes may be available as county-only projects. Please contact your local Extension office for more information.
Step 6: Complete Evaluation
Complete the evaluation no matter what happened. If every single plant lived, insects ate them off, or even if they all died, fill out the evaluation near the end of the growing season (around State Fair time).