UNION COUNTY — Despite a very hot, dry summer, Ashtyn Song and her younger brother Kamrin, planted, maintained, and harvested their 4-H Garden projects — so well, in fact, Ashtyn was the Foothills Region Junior winner in the State Project.
To participate in the 4-H Small Garden Project, youth, ages 5-19, are required to prepare, plant, maintain, and harvest a garden plot of no less than 100 square feet, plus complete a record book to journal the project from beginning to end. The 4-H’ers are given the seeds for one crop, and they must plant at least two additional crops in their garden. Extension agents visit the gardens during the summer to ensure the project gardens meet the guidelines and are being tended by the 4-H’ers. Their record books are important because many times weather, insects, animals or other circumstances affect the outcome of their harvest, yet they have worked hard to make their garden grow.
Ashtyn lives in the City of Union and does not have a very large area to plant her garden, but she is quite creative in using wooden pallets and creating raised beds. Upon visiting her garden Clemson Extension agents found Ashtyn growing cucumbers — the crop provided by 4-H — as well as potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, lettuce, basil, mint, cabbage, and peppers.
She and Kamrin grew more peppers than their family could use, so they began selling them to friends and neighbors.
Both Ashtyn and Kamrin are members of the Union 4-H Garden Club, which is a special interest club which meets from February through May each year. During the club meetings, 4-H’ers learn the basics of gardening, and planting seeds that they can later transplant in their own gardens when spring arrives. Learning to grow their own food is an experience from which these youth — and their families — will benefit in years to come.