Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Robin Walsh
It’s the middle of April and time for the La Plata County Fair – well, not exactly, but it’s not too early to start thinking about your backyard garden and possible entries in the growing categories at the fair.
With the 2015 theme of “A Family A-Fair,” there are plenty of opportunities for all ages to enter in the Open Class Crops, Vegetables and Fruits Department or Open Class Floriculture Department.
As in years past, young people will continue to compete in their own division in the Floriculture Department. In the Crops, Vegetables and Fruits Department, juniors and adults will compete together. We’ve found that our La Plata County youths are every bit as capable in the gardens as the adults and can stand strong in competition. There will, however, be separate junior classes for “artistic” entries such as Vegetable Creations and Vegetable, Fruit and/or Herb Displays.
When the schedule comes out next month, many home gardeners will be happy to see some changes. In many classes in the Crops, Vegetables and Fruit Department, there are lower quantity requirements for entries. No longer will you have to enter large amounts of produce to be eligible. As an example, the new requirements for green beans is 15 beans as opposed to 1 pound in previous years.
A focus in Crops, Vegetable and Fruit this year is education. Not only do we want to show off your beautiful produce, we want to know how you grew it. This year’s entrants will have the opportunity to submit an educational “How I Grew This” card with their entries to highlight their seed or plant sources, growing strategies or not-so-secret success tricks. The educational card is voluntary, but a lot of fair-goers want to know how that prize produce is grown.
In addition to all the usual categories, the Floriculture room will feature the theme “A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream” with a special Fairy Gardens category.
Robin Walsh has been a master gardener since 2011. She lives in La Plata County.