Edwards County 4-H Tag-A-Longs, ages 5-7, met at the Extension office on Saturday, April 17, for a Little Roots Gardening Workshop. The attendees made “growing” bracelets and learned about the six basic elements’ plants need to grow and thrive. The next activity that was completed was a bean seed dissection.  They learned the 3 parts of the seed:  seed coat (protects the seed), embryo (baby plant) and the cotyledon (food).  

Twenty-eight of the Tag-A-Long members will be taking part in the Little Roots Gardening program. This program was established in 2018 by University of Illinois Extension-Livingston, McLean and Woodford County educators. The program was piloted in 2020, by two other 4-H programs in the state. They are extending the program to all Extension units in the state, this year.

Goals of this program is to increase interest in 4-H gardening project areas; encourage youth to grow their own food and flowers and donate extra to those in need, as well as provide an opportunity for family engagement.  

Participants have received their gardening calendar that will guide the youth and an adult in growing six different plants from seed through harvest. They will be receiving radish, pumpkin, zinnia, and sunflower seeds, along with, tomato and pepper transplants. The calendar provides weekly activities from mid-April through September. The youth will be learning about horticulture and caring for their plants. They will learn about pollination and insects, weather, plant parts, the life cycle and plant care.

Families of participants will be invited to a private Facebook group to receive weekly tips, videos and gardening activities. Youth will be offered opportunities to showcase their vegetables and flowers at the Edwards County 4-H General Project Show in July, a Pumpkin Contest in the fall and sharing on Edwards County 4-H Facebook and the private Facebook group.  

Edwards County 4-H is thrilled that many of our Tag-A-Longs are taking part in this learning experience. They will be receiving a certificate upon completing the program. There is no fee to participate in this program.