Mother's Children: Exhibit Vegetables in the County Fair With 4-H

Local 4-H clubs teach children many skills, including how to grow vegetables for competitions. Read one young girl's account of her prize-winning garden.

| March/April 1982

  • Blue Ribbon Vegetables
    Growing vegetables to exhibit at the county fair can be a fun and educational experience for children.

  • Blue Ribbon Vegetables

Everyone knows that growing your own vegetables is a great way to produce nutritious and yummy food. But, have you ever thought about seeing whether your pickings can hold their own at a judge's table? That's right! Exhibiting produce at fairs and garden clubs is a fun and easy way to show off homegrown vegetables — and one of the best ways to learn how to do it is to join 4-H.

You may not know that 4-H clubs involve youngsters and parents working and learning together with guidance from local county extension agents. When I started going to 4-H, I was amazed by the amount of material given to me and by the number of different subjects I could learn about. Beef raising, geology, lawn and landscape, home environment, horses, aerospace, and — of course — gardening (indoor, outdoor, flower and vegetable) are just a few of the choices!

That's not all. My own local group, the Afton Arrows, enters county skit competitions and takes part in demonstration days and "Community Pride" roadside cleanups. Some of my friends' 4-H clubs have entered one-act play contests and even participate in competitions to see who can conduct the best business meeting! (Most 4-H clubs hold regular meetings. They're conducted according to the rules of parliamentary procedure, and the kids are the officers.)

Showing Vegetables With 4-H

However, the main reason I got involved in 4-H was that I wanted to find out how to raise and show chickens and vegetables. Here's what I've learned about showing vegetables.

First of all, I make my garden plan in mid-February (or earlier), to insure that I have an idea of what the garden will look like and so I can order the vegetable varieties I want to plant. Part of my planning includes making certain my tall sun-loving vegetables (such as tomatoes) don't shade the short sun-loving plants (like onions and eggplant). I also have to time my sowings so that my harvest comes in right at fair time.

The exact exhibiting requirements may be different where you live than they are in my home state of Minnesota. Before you plan your own garden, obtain last year's premium vegetable list from your county extension agent. Meanwhile, I'll tell you what I do, just to show you the kinds of things you might need to consider.

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