Special Gardening Project

4-H Emblem
  • Nebraska 4-HSpecial Gardening Project

    garden full of vegetable plants
  • Nebraska 4-HSpecial Gardening Project

    child pushing a wheel barrow through a garden
  • Nebraska 4-HSpecial Gardening Project

    flowering plants

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.  

plant icon

2018 SPECIAL GARDENING PROJECT

This year the Special Gardening Project is focused on the unique, Delft Blue Nigella, named for the famous Dutch Delft blue pottery. These plants have unique, 1.5-2 inch flowers with varying shades of blue and gray splashes on their flower petals and intricate deep purple centers. Unusual seed pods are also used in fresh or dried arrangements. On average it will take about 65-70 days from seeding date until the plant flowers and about 80-85 days for seed pods.

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 cut flowers following the guidelines in the publication, 4H227 Preparing Cut Flower for Exhibits (revised 2016). The desirable traits the judge is looking for are flowers that are the same maturity and uniform in size. Avoid selecting flowers that are damaged by insects, misshapen, or fading.

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). 

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact:

mail icon

COORDINATOR: Elizabeth Killinger
EMAIL: elizabeth.killinger@unl.edu
PHONE: 308-385-5088