ARARAT — “Summer Explosion” ended not with a bang but a banquet for 4-H participants and parents at Homeplace Recreational Park on Tuesday.
The end of season wrap-up also included awarding ribbons and medals for the annual 4-H mini garden projects as well as certificates to go with the brightly colored Summer Explosion T-shirts. Volunteers Goldie Sparger, Sally Southard and Ashley Taylor also were recognized at the informal meal featuring pizza and watermelon.
“This is the most participation we’ve had in the six years I’ve done the Summer Explosion program,” said N.C. Cooperative Extension Agent 4-H Youth Development Teresa Wilkins. “We had over 100 participants. We have had a great time with the kids and hope they had a blast.”
Mini-garden participants are given seeds, plants, lime and fertilizer for a 10-foot by 10-foot garden. Agents hold two training sessions, usually in May and discuss organic and other means of garden and pest management. Gardens are not judged against each other but on their individual merits.
Parent Matthew Hiatt had two girls, Caitlin and Emma, participate in the mini-garden project and was pleased with the results.
“We planted that little garden and are still eating out of it now,” said Hiatt. “The girls planted more than we’d been given by 4-H and it’s just full of tomatoes now. The girls have fun with it, except when they had to water and weed in the heat. It’s been a good project.”
Parent Brandy Maudlin’s girls, Olivia and Sarah, participated in both the mini-garden and Summer Explosion programs this year. It was the second year of Summer Explosion activities for both girls.
“They loved it and looked forward to the classes,” said Maudlin. “There was new stuff this year so they weren’t bored.”
It was the first year the girls had tried gardening although the family had a garden in the past.
“We learned a lot of things we didn’t know about gardening,” laughed Maudlin. “We made it through the bad storms and hail, but we triumphed. The girls also talked a lot about the friends they made from other areas of the county.”
Two 4-H’ers in the Cloverbud category, Kendall Hawks and Carson Marion, were awarded green ribbons for their mini-gardens.
In the 9- and 12-year-old class, Lily Knepp won a blue and a purple ribbon. Addy Knepp and Chase Pruett won blue ribbons and Olivia Mauldin and Emma Hiatt earned white ribbons. Tim Howdeshell and Caitlin Hiatt were awarded white ribbons in the 13- to 15-year-old category. Cody Howdeshell was awarded a white ribbon in the 16- to 18-year-old mini-garden division.
Addy and Lily Knepp, Jacob Kline and Rebecca Cahall were recognized for their 4-H presentations and Christy Shelton received bronze and silver medals for her project record books at the state level.
Wilkins told the group the Cade Bullins Memorial Youth Conservation Day will be held Sept. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Raven Knob Boy Scout Camp in Mount Airy. This activity is open to all youth ages 5 to 15 years. Persons wanting more information about the free event can call 401-8025 for more information or may register online by visiting the “news” section of the website, surry.ces.ncsu.edu.
She also told the group that the Celebrating Agriculture event would be held Sept. 8 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Fisher River Park. The free event will include a petting farm, farmers market, corn shelling and will feature master gardeners, beekeepers, farm games and food.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.