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4-H campers have fun with gourds

By Carole Massey
Master Gardener
Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Year before last, the Master Gardeners had a bumper crop of gourds at the West End garden. A fantastic assortment of seeds was planted and grew a little like Jack in the Beanstalk on trellises and across the entire back section of the gourd plot.
When harvested, they were first dried in the sun; then hung in hammocks in the storage shed and left to cure.
Early this year, our 4-H agent, Sara Drake, asked each of the other agents to come up with Summer Fun programs for Rowan County youth.
Several Master Gardener volunteers had participated in the Simple Living exhibits at Dan Nicholas Park and had the opportunity to visit with basket maker Pamela Deal. She had several examples not only of her beautiful baskets, but also decorative gourds. And, bingo, that’s how a plan was formed.
The gourds in storage were taken out, sent home to be cleaned by volunteers and made ready to be transformed.
Pamela came to the Agriculture Center to instruct our youngest 4-Hers. The Cloverbuds are kindergarten-second grade. A livelier group you’ll never find.
The materials were set out, colors were selected and gourds shaken and examined. Corded thread, beads and knots were all that was needed to change a plain mini-bottle gourd into a keepsake. In a short morning’s work (more like play) the children and the adults created a novel handcraft to be admired for many years.
This program is just one of many offered to youth between the ages of 5 and 19 every summer during 4-H Summer Fun.
The Master Gardeners are again offering a week of horticultural activities which will include terrarium planting, a garden mosaic project and learning about itchy, stinging, biting things. You never know when or where a great learning experience might happen.

For further information, contact the Cooperative Extension office at 704-216-8970.

Carole Massey is a Rowan County Master Gardener volunteer with the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.

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