Lake County

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4-H Garden Project

December 5, 2019

The gardening project introduces youth to vegetable gardening. The project is divided into four different levels. You will learn about planning a vegetable garden, planting, fertilizing, different vegetable pests, harvesting, storage techniques and careers.

Level A (grades 3-4)

Level B (grades 5-6)

Level C (grades 7-9)

Level D (grades 10-12)




State 4-H Garden Website

Garden Level A: See Them Sprout

Garden Level B: Let's Get Growing

Garden Level C: Take Your Pick

Garden Level D: Growing Profits


SCORECARDS are available on the state website through the link above

General Exhibit Requirements

Manual Required (3 Activities and Record Sheet in the back of the book)

Level A (grades 3-4)              Level B (grades 5-6)                              Level C (grades 7-9)              Level D (grades 10-12)

  1. All vegetables, fruits & herbs must be grown by the member and labeled with variety name, common name and Latin name. Use the garden labels for exhibits and regular exhibit labels for posters.
  2. Members may exhibit Garden projects at the State Fair. A State Fair entry (separate from your county entry) is due July 10. Contact the Extension Office for assistance. Each exhibitor may be responsible for transporting his/her own State Fair exhibits.
  3. Refer to the 4-H Garden Publication 4-H 970-W (updated October 2015) for required number of specimens per entry. This is the same for both county and state exhibits. County exhibitors may enter any home-grown vegetable, herb, or fruit. State exhibitors must choose from the list.
  4. Exhibitors are permitted and encouraged to enter in each class.
  5. Garden exhibitors are asked to provide at least one display of cut homegrown flowers in a small, clear glass container. Label bottom with name and club so it can be returned (do not use exhibit label).
  6. Plates for displaying vegetables will be furnished. When possible members should replace any items that develop spoilage.
  7. Separate exhibits are required for “Single Vegetable” & “Collections of Vegetables”. 4-H member may not use “Single Vegetable” exhibit as part of a “Collection of Vegetables” exhibit.
  8. See “General Rules” for poster requirements. All posters, notebooks, and display boards must include a reference list indicating where information was obtained, giving credit to the original author, to complete the 4-H member’s exhibit. This reference list should/might include web site links, people and professionals interviewed, books, magazines, etc. It is recommended this reference list be attached to the back of a poster or display board, be the last page of a notebook, or included as part of the display visible to the public. A judge is not to discredit an exhibit for the manner in which references are listed.
  9. Champions & Reserve Champions may be selected for each class.  

Exhibit Options (includes all levels):

  1. Single Vegetable (five classes): Single plate of a vegetable grown. Classes: Beans, Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes, and All Other Vegetables. You may exhibit up to three entries per class (different varieties). Single vegetables should be labeled with common name, Latin name, and variety. Refer to the 4-H Garden Publication 4-H 970-W for number of specimens and Latin names. In addition to class Champions, Single Vegetable Grand & Reserve Grand Champions may be selected.
  2. Single Herb Exhibit (six classes): Herbs should be grown in pots (8” maximum diameter). Classes: Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and All Other Herbs. Up to three entries per class. Herbs should be labeled with common and Latin names. In addition to class Champions, Single Herb Grand & Reserve Grand Champions may be selected.
  3. Collection of Three (one class): A collection consists of a group of three vegetables judged as one exhibit. One entry per exhibitor. Examples: A collection could have one plate of tomatoes, one plate of corn, and one plate of beans. Garden collections should be labeled with common name, scientific name, and variety. See Publication 4-H 970-W for number of specimens and Latin names.
  4. Garden Education Exhibit (one class): Any member may exhibit one of the following options; members in Levels C and D should do this in addition to the produce exhibit. One exhibit will be eligible for the State Fair.

—Exhibit four plates containing two cultivars of two different kinds of vegetables in your garden. (Example: display tomato Rutgers and tomato Roma on two plates and spinach Melody and America on two plates. Label the cultivars exhibited. 

—Label and exhibit three unusual vegetables (may or may not be discussed in the manual) grown this year. If not listed in the vegetable display chart, check with the superintendent (Examples: spaghetti squash, head lettuce, cowpea, etc.).

—Make a poster of five commonly found diseases in vegetable gardens, the damage caused by each, and the control options for each.

—Make a poster of five commonly found vegetable garden insects: beneficial (good guys) and/or injurious (bad guys), benefits or damage caused by each, and the related management practices (how to keep the beneficial, and how to control the injurious insects.)

—Make a poster of a maximum of ten pests (diseases, insects, weeds and/or rodents) found in the garden this year, damage caused, control measures used, and results.

—Make a poster explaining a computer garden program.

—Make a poster showing a picture story of what you did in your garden this year.

—Make a poster showing financial records for your garden.

—Make a poster of pictures showing experiences in hydroponics.

—Make a poster explaining various career options working with vegetables/herbs and gardening.

—Make a poster explaining types of pollinators and their importance in vegetable and fruit production.

—Make a poster that shows the different types of plant parts that are consumed by humans. Be sure to identify the fruit or vegetable and categorize it by root, stem, leaf, or flower.

—Make a poster that shows different storage methods for vegetables.

—Make a poster showing how to create a raised bed or container vegetable garden.

—Make a poster discussing how herbs listed on the last page of 4-H Garden Publication 4-H 970-W are used and have been used throughout history. Be sure to include both culinary and medicinal uses as well as other unique uses, if any.

  1. County-Only Container Gardening (four classes, not eligible for State Fair): Size of container not to exceed 20”. Plants must be in one container. Three to five plants per container. Display sign no larger than 5x7” listing the plant(s) in the container. May contain flowers but does not count as a plant. No more than two entries in each class. Please furnish a container/lid/saucer to go under plant to catch water run-off.

    —CONTAINER HERBS: Same kind of herbs in the same container. (Example: Mints: spearmint, chocolate, and lemon.)

    —CONTAINER HERBS: Different kinds of herbs in the same container. (Example: oregano, mint, thyme, and rosemary.)

    —CONTAINER MULTIPLE GARDEN: container consisting of annuals, vegetables, herbs, or fruits.

    —CONTAINER SINGLE VEGETABLE OR FRUIT: A single vegetable or fruit planted in a suitable container. (Example: tomato or blueberries.)

  1. County-Only Gardening for Fun (three classes, not eligible for State Fair): May exhibit in each class of Gardening for Fun: Largest Sunflower Head, Largest Zucchini, and/or Most Unusual Growth.


Interested in sponsoring a trophy or award for this project? Please contact the project superintendent or Extension Office at 219-755-3240 to learn more!

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