The winter weather does not prevent the participants of the 4-H Virtual Home Gardening program from practically growing even as the temperatures drop.
“There are all sorts of things you can do for the garden all year round. We are currently shipping lamp sets. The kids can get some bulbs, daffodils and hyacinths, they can force them indoors and they should be ready to bloom by Easter, ”said Elizabeth Duran, Macomb County’s 4-H program coordinator, adding that attendees have plans too preparing for the spring garden in the garden winter.
The free 4-H Virtual Home Gardening program is open to beginners ages 5-19 in Wayne and Macomb counties at all levels of gardening experience. The program includes year-round garden projects where students can combine virtual study times with hands-on activities at home. Even students in urban settings can participate, Duran said.
“We are concerned with composting and saving seeds. We treat things like repurposing. Many of our young people live in apartments or hotels and do not have large courtyards to create gardens. We do a lot of gardening in small spaces and gardening in containers, ”said Duran.
Each month, a new gardening project will be available online for participants, along with curricula and resources. Duran said that students will have several projects to choose from, such as growing strawberries and a “pizza garden”. Youngsters who are new to the program can also receive the first garden toolkit.
Monthly live zoom sessions allow attendees to check in, share progress, ask questions, and do hands-on activities. Participants can also take part in monthly game challenges for a prize. Although programming for the new school year began in September 2020, students can still register for the winter session, according to Duran.
The program started in early January and the next meeting will be on February 1st from 6pm to 7pm via Zoom. Zoom meetings typically take place on the first Monday of each month and are taught by Milaina McCann, 4-H program coordinator for Duran and Wayne Counties.
“We can reach an audience that we couldn’t before. In a traditional setting, children had to come to a club meeting to participate. Sometimes children couldn’t come to a meeting through no fault of their own. With Virtual, they just have to register, ”said Duran.
Duran said the 4-H Virtual Home Gardening program was designed to turn personal programming into practical, independent programming combined with a virtual element, as all programming is required due to COVID-19 and the customization that goes with it Restrictions. The virtual home garden program first started in May 2020.
Learn more about the 4-H Virtual Home Gardening program at Mi4hvhg.org and register at Mi4hvhg.org/enrollment. Registration as a 4-H member is required. Questions can also be directed to Duran at Duraneli@msu.edu or McCann at Macklin3@msu.edu. Macomb County’s MSU Extensions main office is located on Dunham Road, west of Elizabeth Road, in Clinton Township and can be reached by phone at 586-469-5180. The offices are also located in the Thompson Community Center at 11370 Hupp Avenue in Warren and can be reached by phone at 568-469-7614.