Contests, Camps, Events

Special Gardening Project

The Nebraska Extension Special Gardening Project lets 4-H members try their hand at growing unusual vegetables and flowers. The project allows experienced 4-H gardeners to grow something fun, new, and different while letting those new to gardening get their feet wet in this project area.

This project is open to all youth of 4-H age and it will give them the opportunity to learn about growing, harvesting, and exhibiting a tasty vegetable; obtain the tools necessary to be successful gardeners, and learn about the wide range of plant-science related careers. Last year over 1700 4-H members were enrolled in the project. 

The 2021 Special Garden Project is focused on the tasty Hakurei Turnip. These are not your grandmother’s turnips. Hakurei is a white salad turnip that is smooth, round and at its best when harvested under 2”. The roots can be eaten raw or cooked and the tops can also be cooked.


Youth should enroll for the Special Garden Project through 4-H Online.  Once enrolled in 4-H Online, youth are to call their local office to sign up for the project (order the seeds). By enrolling through 4-H Online, youth will have access to the OneDrive folder with the educational materials including the growing newsletter & evaluation.


Special Gardening Project

Hakurei Turnip

The Special Gardening Project is an opportunity for 4-H members to grow unusual and fun projects in their gardens. Each year, a new plant is selected as the focus for all members enrolled in the project. Youth receive seeds which they plant and cultivate using project resources provided throughout the experience. Youth then have the opportunity to exhibit cut flowers or harvested vegetables or present their experience through a poster or report. The project is designed to challenge youth interested in horticulture by introducing them to new and unique growing experiences and foster real-world problem-solving skills through a guided horticultural experience.  


This year the Special Gardening Project is focused on the unique, Hakurei Turnip. These are not your grandmother's turnips. Hakurei is a white salad turnip that is smooth, round and at its best when harvested under 2". The roots can be eaten raw or cooked, and the tops can also be cooked.

2021 Project Resources


Step 1: Enroll

Enroll for the Special Gardening Project through 4-H Online. There is a small enrollment fee of $0.50 for this project which covers the cost of seeds.

Step 2: Order Seeds

Contact your local Extension office and let them know how many seed packets you need. If you do not contact your local Extension office, seeds might not be available for you. The county office will order seeds as a county unit then distribute them to the enrolled members. Place your order as early as possible as counties must have their unit orders submitted by February 1st. 

Step 3: Pick Up Seeds

Seeds will be sent to the county Extension offices. Pick seeds up from your local Extension office when the county informs you that seeds are available (should be around April-May).

Step 4: Plant & Cultivate

Review regular project newsletters and resources as they become available. These materials will help guide you through the project experiences, solve problems, and prepare your projects for exhibition.

Step 5: Exhibit at County & State Fairs

Exhibits - Youth must be enrolled in the Special Garden Project through 4-H Online in order to exhibit in the State Fair eligible classes:

  • Class G775001 - Special Gardening Project Educational Exhibit - The educational exhibit is based on what was learned from the project. Present information on a 14"x22" poster or in a clear plastic report cover. The 4-H member's name, age, full address, and county must be on the back of the poster or report cover. Fresh cut flowers or harvested vegetables should be entered in class G775002
  • Class G775002 - Special Gardening Project Fresh Cut Flowers or Harvested Vegetables - The current year's Special Garden project fresh cut flowers or harvest vegetables should be entered in this class. Bring 5 roots following the guidelines in the publication, 4H226 Selecting and Preparing Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit (revised 2013). The desirable traits the judge is looking for roots 1-2” in diameter that are at the same maturity and uniform in size. Trim tops to 1- 1 ½” above the crown. Roots may be carefully washed, but do not scrub to avoid damaging the skin. Avoid selecting roots damaged by insects or disease, spongy, misshapen, or over-mature.

Additional classes may be available as county-only projects. Please contact your local Extension office for more information.

Step 6: Complete Evaluation

Complete the evaluation no matter what happened. If every single plant lived, insects ate them off, or even if they all died, fill out the evaluation near the end of the growing season (around State Fair time). 

Project Evaluation


The cost to enroll in the project should be around $0.50/youth. I am aiming to have enough seeds for each youth to plant a 6’ row of turnips. Please order accordingly. 


Each year we continue to make improvements to this project. If you have suggestions or any questions about the project please contact me: , 308-385-5088. Thanks.   



Elizabeth (Killinger) Exstrom

Extension Educator

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Hall County

3180 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island NE 68801

ph: (308) 385-5088


Cell (402) 318-3656

Virtual Horse Judging Camp 2021

This is an online horse judging camp for anyone thinking about giving horse judging a try!  The camp includes at-home assignments, reasons critique, 4 interactive virtual meetings, quizzes, and certificate of completion!

 This camp is for anyone who may be thinking about being on or coaching a Horse Judging team.

Each session will have an assignment, live presentations, discussion of the class and class/runs to practice on and critiques. Also, there is an in-depth session on oral reasons presented by the Oklahoma State World Champion Horse Judging team.

Other presenters include:

  • Dr. Steven Cooper (Oklahoma State University Judging team coach, AQHA, VRH judge)
  • Taylor Fabus (Michigan State Horse Judging team coach)
  • Dr. Kathy Anderson (University of Nebraska Judging team coach, AQHA, NSBA, APHA judge)


Assistance from:

  • Dr. Colleen Brady (Purdue University Extension Horse Specialist

Topics/classes covered include:

  • Note-taking and reasons
  • Halter
  • Horsemanship
  • Ranch Riding
  • Oral reasons with feedback!

Dates: February 16, 18, 23 and 25

Time:  6 - 7:30pm Eastern time, 5 - 6:30pm Central time

The fee for this course is $30. To purchase and enroll in this course, go to:

Dates and topics:

  • Tuesday February 16    Conformation/halter judging
  • Thursday February 18   Oral reasons
  • Tuesday February 23     Western Horse
  • Thursday February 25    Ranch Riding

This Virtual Horse Judging camp is brought to you by:

  • University of Nebraska (Dr. Kathy Anderson -
  • Purdue University (Dr. Colleen Brady -
  • Oklahoma State University (Dr. Kris Hiney -
  • Michigan State University (Taylor Fabus -

Horse Judging Camp February 2021 flyer


3D Modeling has added another section!! Here is the information if your 4-Her is interested.

Code Camp: If you can read, you can code!

Register online at A Zoom link will be provided to registrants a few days prior to the workshop.
Select from any of these dates/times:
June 22 @ 9-10 a.m. CT via Zoom
June 22 @ 11-noon CT via Zoom

3D Modeling:

Learn how a 3D printer works & create your own 3D print design. 3D prints will be mailed to the address used when registering. Youth must be at least 8 years old to participate.
Register online at A Zoom link will be provided to registrants a few days prior to the workshop.
Select from any of these dates/times:
June 23 @ 10-noon CT via Zoom
June 23 @ 2-4 CT via Zoom