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Horticulture; it’s a big word that is really easy to understand. Horticulture is the science of growing living things, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants. There are two divisions in the 4-H horticulture projects: Flowers and Vegetables. Each division has four skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Horticulture isn’t just growing things, though. You’ll also learn about marketing your product, using art to design your garden, and how technology can help you make things grow bigger and faster. There’s no place too small for a garden. Whether you’re using a big backyard, a city building roof, or your own kitchen, there’s plenty of room for the 4-H Horticulture projects.

CLICK HERE to download the Floriculture Spark Sheet

CLICK HERE to download the Vegetable Gardening Spark Sheet

Floriculture A

In level 1, learn to plant a cutting garden; grow flowers from seeds, bulbs, and transplants; identify plant parts; and create floral design.

Floriculture B

In level 2, learn to plan and grow a theme garden, care for houseplants, experiment with growing mediums, and dry flowers.

Floriculture C

In level 3, learn to design a garden planter, grow plants from cuttings, make floral designs, make wearable flowers, and experiment with drying methods.

Floriculture D

In level 4, learn to design all-season gardens, plan a floral business, force bulb flowers, create a bridal bouquet, and explore career and community service opportunities.

Vegetable Gardening A

In level 1, learn to plan and plant a garden, grow plants from roots, make a rain gauge, and harvest vegetables.

Vegetable Gardening B

In level 2, learn to start seeds indoors, understand how plants respond to light, grow new plants from plant parts, and make a worm box.

Vegetable Gardening C

In level 3, learn to test and improve soil, extend growing seasons, cross pollinate flowers, dry herbs, and pickle vegetables.

Vegetable Gardening D

In level 4, learn to double crop, learn about plant genetics, practice IPM, and start a plant business.

Resources to help you learn

  • Floriculture Level A 
  • Floriculture Level B 
  • Floriculture Level C 
  • Floriculture Level D 
  • See Them Sprout A
  • Let’s Get Growing B 
  • Take Your Pick C
  • Growing Profits D
  • Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide. Available online at: 4h.extension.illinois.edu/members/projects/horticulture

State Fair Exhibit Rules

FLORICULTURE

Each county may submit 3 entries total from 50192, 50193, 50194, 50195, 50196; and 1 entry from 50198.

Floriculture A (SF 50192)

Exhibit one of the following options:

  • Create a flower arrangement; either a round arrangement or a bud vase. No silk flowers are permitted; OR
  • Create a photo collage or a collection of pictures of flowers that you have raised. Label your flowers by name and tell if you started with a seed, cutting or transplants. Mount pictures on a poster board; OR
  • Exhibit in one container, 3 stems of blooms - each with attached foliage. Foliage that would go inside the container may be removed. All three blooms or stems should be the same variety, color, shape and size and must have been grown from seed, young seedling plants, bulbs or rhizomes by the exhibitor. (NOTE: Exhibitors choosing lilies should include no more than 2/3 of foliage for their exhibit.)

Floriculture B (SF 50193)

Exhibit one of the following options:

  • Create an artistic display of dried flowers explaining how each was dried; OR
  • Create a photo collage or collection of pictures of plants from your theme garden. Label your plants by name and explain how the plants were chosen to fit the theme.

Floriculture C (SF 50194)

Exhibit one of the following options:

  • Create a terrarium or dish garden. Selected plants for either choice should have beenshould be started by the exhibitor from cuttings or seeds or as purchased plugs. The terrarium must be cared for by the exhibitor for at least 5 months. Exhibitor be able to explain the different plant, soil, and environmental needs and watering requirements of a closed system; OR
  • Exhibit a plant that you propagated from cuttings, layering or division or started from seed. Create a photo board showing the progression of growth. Tips for vegetative propagation of houseplants can be found at University of Illinois Extension houseplants, http://urbanext.illinois.edu/houseplants/default.cfm or in the resources section below. 

Floriculture D (SF 50195)

Exhibit one of the following options:

  • Create a centerpiece around a theme such as a wedding, holiday, birthday, etc. No silk flowers are permitted; OR
  • Create an exhibit of forced bulbs in a pot. 

Floriculture Display (SF 50196)

Open to youth enrolled in Floriculture A, Floriculture B, Floriculture C, and Floriculture D

Present an exhibit of the member’s choice that focuses on some aspect of floriculture which does not fit in the categories above. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, dish gardens, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period.

Floriculture Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50198)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Floriculture project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Floriculture Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

VEGETABLE GARDENING

Each county may submit 3 entries total for 50314, 50315, 50316; and 1 entry for 50318. All vegetables exhibited must have been grown by the exhibitor as part of their current gardening 4-H project. Exhibitors should be knowledgeable about various aspects of the vegetables, including but not limited to different varieties, soil testing, fertilizers used, etc.Vegetable exhibits should be prepared according to the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/vegguide/. Waxes and oils may not be used on vegetables or fruits. Any plant infested with insects will be removed from the exhibit area and will not be eligible for a Superior exhibit.

Vegetable Display (SF 50314)

Open to youth in Vegetable Gardening A, Vegetable Gardening B, Vegetable Gardening C, and Vegetable Gardening D

  • This class is allowed a 2’6” x 2’6” space for display.
  • Display must include 6 or more different kinds of vegetables. There may not be more than 2 different varieties of any vegetable. For example, red and white potatoes would be classified as two different varieties. Acorn squash and zucchini would be classified as two different vegetables.
  • The number and type of vegetables used must conform to the Vegetable Plate/Display List.
  • Exhibitors must provide the name and variety of all vegetables used (i.e. Cabbage – Golden Acre; Cucumber, slicing – Straight Eight; Tomatoes, slicing – Rocky Top; Snap Beans – Contender, etc.).

Vegetable Plate (SF 50315)

Open to youth in Vegetable Gardening A, Vegetable Gardening B, Vegetable Gardening C, and Vegetable Gardening D

  • Exhibit must include 2 single vegetable plates. (Exhibitor will furnish the disposable plates.)
  • Number of vegetables on plates must conform to plate list below.
  • Only one variety on each plate.
  • An exhibitor cannot show two plates of the same type vegetable. (i.e.: Cannot exhibit red and white potatoes or zucchini and straightneck summer squash.)

Vegetable Gardening Display (SF 50316)

Open to youth in Vegetable Gardening A, Vegetable Gardening B, Vegetable Gardening C, Vegetable Gardening D

Present an exhibit of the member’s choice that focuses on some aspect of vegetable gardening which does not fit in the categories above. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period.

Vegetable Gardening Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50318)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Vegetable Gardening project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Vegetable Gardening Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

VEGETABLE PLATE/DISPLAY LIST

When selecting vegetables for exhibition, keep in mind that the judge will evaluate them on the basis of cleanliness, uniformity, condition, quality, and trueness to variety. (Lists are provided by UI Extension Horticulturists; Items are listed according to the correct definition of vegetables)

  • Asparagus (5 spears)
  • Beans, Lima (12 pods)
  • Beets (5)
  • Broccoli (1 head)
  • Brussels Sprouts (12 sprouts)
  • Cabbage (1 head)
  • Cauliflower (1 head)
  • Carrots (5)
  • Cucumber, pickling or slicing (5)
  • Eggplant (1)
  • Garlic (5)
  • Kohlrabi (5)
  • Lettuce (1 head or plant)
  • Muskmelon incl. cantaloupe (1)
  • Okra (12)
  • Onions, large, dry (5)
  • Onions, green or set (12)
  • Parsnips (5)
  • Peas, (12 pods)
  • Peppers, large fruited (bell/banana) (5)
  • Peppers, small fruited (chili/cherry) (12)
  • Popcorn (5)
  • Potatoes (any variety) (5)
  • Pumpkin (1)
  • Rhubarb, trimmed stalks (3)
  • Rutabaga (5)
  • Salsify (5)
  • Squash, summer (any variety) (3)
  • Sweet Corn, in husks (5)
  • Tomatoes, slicing (5)
  • Tomatoes, small fruited (12)
  • Turnip (5)
  • Watermelon (1)
  • Squash, winter (Acorn, butternut, buttercup, spaghetti, Hubbard, Turks’s Turban) (1)
  • Beans, Snap, Green Pod or Golden Wax (12 pods)
  • Greens (collard, endive, escarole, kale, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard) (1 plant)
  • Horseradish Root (1 marketable root specimen harvested this year)