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2021 Coos County 4-H Garden Program

Mon, 03/15/2021 to Fri, 09/10/2021
Coos County 4-H
629A Main St.
Lancaster, NH 03584

Workshops, Seeds, Plants, Giant Sunflowers, Pumpkins...Oh what FUN!

Open to 4-H youth ages 5-18.  Get outside this summer and grow your own food!



Coös County has a strong 4H gardening tradition. It is a great way for members to learn and grow during the summer months as well as provide fresh vegetables for their family and maybe even have enough to donate or sell! The Lancaster Fair provides a great way for members to exhibit the "fruits" of their labor also. The major parts of the Coös County 4H gardening program in 2021 will include:


*4-H Garden Workshops, April 10 & May 22 (tentative)

*Garden Seeds, final disbursement May 22

*Giant Sunflower Contest, orders Due March 15

* Pumpkin seed (not Dill's giant but very large)orders due March 15

* Sunflower planting project (variety from dwarf to giant), orders Due March 15

*Tom Gill Memorial Seedlings Program, Orders Due March 15

*Plant Pick Up Day & Garden Party, May 22 from 10-12

*Garden Mentor check-ins via email and in person

*Garden Judging, TBD

*Record book Judging at Lancaster Fair

IMPORTANT: 4H members must complete the sign-up for the 2021 Garden Program on their 4Honline account. Current 4-H Members with a profile go to login and select the child's name under Register a Member in an Event then select 2021 Coos 4-H Garden Program, complete the form.  Late signups cannot be accepted for Tom Gill Program. Various seeds will be available first-come-first serve at each of the Garden Workshops and Plant pick up day. 

There will be no pre-orders for seeds this year except for Giant Sunflower, Sunflower Variety and Pumpkin(not necessarily giant but should be large)


1. Tom Gill Memorial Seedlings

Way back in 1945 Tom Gill Sr., a florist of Berlin, NH and member of the Berlin Kiwanis club provided 4‑H members in Coös County with many vegetable plants over a period of about fifteen years. The original purpose of the program was to experiment with different plant varieties to see how they survived in the North Country. In exchange for the free plants, the 4‑H members were obligated to give feedback regarding their successes and failures. In August 1971, Tom passed away; but the Kiwanis Club of Berlin has continued to carry on the program as a memorial.

These are the original objectives for the contest which traditionally have been on a three year cycle.  

  • To provide 4‑H Club members with new varieties of plants.
  • To encourage Club members to keep growth and production records so that the information may be used by other gardeners.
  • To provide competition among Club members in the garden program for the purpose of encouraging good garden practices.

Again this year!

Coös County 4H'ers will be permitted to participate in the Tom Gill program for more than the traditional three consecutive years as long as the youth is an enrolled 4-H member or part of a recognized 4-H Group and commits to keeping good records of the project.  Even if the garden does not do well, the record book should reflect that and be up to date. Up to six plants of each variety will be provided from Northern Garden to each participant at no charge by the Berlin Kiwanis and Coös County 4-H Advisory Council. All 4-H members (age 8 or older) who have not participated before are eligible for the first year competition.  Contact 4-H office for those eligible for years 2 & 3.  Awards will be given for best individual variety and best overall garden.  Up to date records must be kept and presented for judging to be eligible for awards.

2.  Garden Seeds, Giant Sunflower and Giant Pumpkin

Through generous donations by the Coös County 4H Advisory Council, free seed packages are offered to ALL 4H members and Cloverbuds.  Even if you have previously completed the Tom Gill seedling Program, you are eligible to participate in the other 4-H Garden Program offerings and events.  Final day to choose seeds will be May 22 during Plant Pick-up Day and Garden Party from 10-12 (tentative).

This year we are not taking “orders” for seeds.  The Coös County 4-H Advisory Council will have a variety of seeds. The variety includes vegetables, herbs, flowers, melons, and pumpkins.  They will be disbursed on a first come, first serve basis.  Cloverbuds will be given 2 packets of seeds, Beginners (1-2 years) up to 3 packets, Intermediates (3-4 years)-up to 5 packets, and Advanced (5+ years) –up to 7 packets.


To provide 4‑H members with a variety of seeds with which they can plant, grow, and then harvest and utilize or exhibit the resulting produce.

  • To educate 4-H youth in the vast array of topics in the Garden Program.
  • To encourage 4-H members to keep growth and production records so that the information may be used to make future gardening decisions and be used by other gardeners.
  • To encourage 4-H members to experiment with different gardening techniques and plants.
  • To provide competition among 4-H members in the Garden Program for the purpose of encouraging good garden practices
  • To encourage creativity in the use of garden produce beyond food purposes.

All 4-H members are eligible for Giant Sunflower, Sunflower Variety and giant Pumpkin seeds in addition to above seeds or plants.  Participants are expected to keep growth records and encouraged to exhibit their giant Sunflower and/or pumpkin in the Lancaster Fair 4-H. Contest open to ages 8-18 for TALLEST SUNFLOWER PLANT. (Remember you can also enter the giant FLOWER HEAD in Lancaster Fair Giant Sunflower contest)   

NOTEIn order to achieve the yearly Garden Completion Award and/or other Awards, participants in the Tom Gill or seed program are expected to keep accurate records on their gardens.

Please only choose what you intend to plant and keep records on!

3. Sunflower Variety Planting Project

   Youth ages 5-18 participating will get a variety of Sunflower seeds, plant the seeds and keep records of the project.

4. Pick‑up Day

Tom Gill Plants and final Garden Seed (first-come-first-serve) Pick-up date will be Saturday, May 22 from 10am-12pm at the UNH Cooperative Extension office, Coös County, Route 3, Lancaster (pending Covid-19 restrictions are lifted). A mixed variety of seed packets will be available to those who would like to participate in the 2021 Garden Project.

5.  Garden Judging & Garden Visits 

It is expected that all 4-H members participating in any portion of the Garden Program will have their record books kept up to date and their garden and/or record book judged at the Lancaster Fair. If for whatever reason the garden itself is not being judged, the record book will show the garden mentor/judge what you learned through this project each month. Gardens will be judged on Tuesday, August 17(tentative). Please call us to confirm the location of your garden.


A garden mentor will be available to consult with through the growing season.  This will allow you to ask any questions you may have and trouble-shoot problems. Most of this communication will be via email.  Remember, the final garden mentor visit will be for judging your garden on August 17 please leave your record book out beside your garden in a zip lock plastic bag if you are not able to be there. Of course, you will also want to show the same produce or products made from the produce at the Lancaster Fair.