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Kershaw County youth wins first place in 4H gardening competition
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Katherine Ellig won first place in the senior division of the 4H Gardening Project competition. The goal of this project was to teach youths gardening planning, preparation, maintenance and harvesting skills.

Katherine Ellig of the Kershaw County 4H Horse Club has been named first place senior division winner in the 4H Gardening Project competition. Scores from Ellig’s garden and record book will allow her to advance to the regional competition.

Some of the vegetables planted in Ellig’s garden included tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, bok choy and green beans. She and her family preserved some of the vegetables and enjoyed them throughout the summer.

The goal of the 4H gardening project is for youth to learn how to prepare, plant, maintain and harvest a small garden. The participating youths keep record books, make observations and take photos of various aspects of the garden throughout the project.

The Clemson Extension offers helpful guidelines to those interested in planning a garden. These guidelines begin with a few important questions to answer before planning a garden. The questions include:

•Will the gardening be done by a group or single person? This will most likely affect the size of the garden and amount of plants grown.

•What are the desired foods to be grown? This will be useful in deciding how much to plant of each vegetable type.

•How will the produce be used? If the produce is intended to be canned, frozen or stored, this will factor in to planning the size of the garden and the variety of vegetables planted.

Once the type of plants to be grown and their uses have been determined, the Extension offers the additional following helpful hints:

•Plan the garden on paper first, drawing a map that includes placement and spacing of vegetables.

•Plan the garden and order seeds by January or February.

•In the plan, locate tall and trellised crops on the north side of the garden so they will not shade the shorter vegetables.

•Group plants by length of growing period. Plant spring crops together so that later crops can be planted in these areas after the early crops mature.

•Finally, practice crop rotation so that the same vegetable is not planted in the same location year after year.

All of these factors and many other aspects of garden planning went into Ellig’s preparation and maintenance of her vegetable garden. To learn more gardening tips from the Clemson Extension and to gain gardening advice specific to South Carolina’s climate and land type, visit the website at .