Projects, Contests & Activities

For additional information consult the project chairperson: Mike Rethwisch, UNL Extension – Butler Co., 451 N. 5th Street, David City, NE 686332-1666; Phone (402) 367-7410; Fax (402) 367-3329; mrethwisch2@unl.edu

Experimental Horticulture Project

Did you ever wonder "what if" with the plants you grow? Sometimes the fun part of gardening is experimenting to see what’s going to happen. There are lots of experiments you can perform with plants. The idea behind an experiment is what if. What happens to one thing if you change something else while you keep all the other conditions the same. The idea is to learn something new through an experiment. In this project you select, plan, and conduct an experiment related to horticulture and write a report of the results. The experiment can be done solely or in groups of two or more.

Here are some topics to get you started.

  • Is organic gardening better than inorganic gardening?
  • How does temperature affect the growth of plants?
  • What methods work best for preserving flowers?
  • What happens when you cross-pollinate two plants?
  • Will a plant grow the same in two different soil mixes?
  • How do plants take in water?
  • How do plants react to gravity?
  • What fertilizers are most effective?
  • Is there an optimum pH for plant growth?
  • Are bees attracted to different colored flowers?
  • Does it matter if a seed or bulb is planted upside down?
  • Does seed spacing affect plant growth and yield?
  • Will newer cultivars outyield older plant cultivars?
  • What conditions do tree seeds need for germination?
  • What is effective in extending the life of cut flowers?

This project is designed for youth who are inquisitive and are interested in experimenting with horticultural plants or with general plant physiology.

Who Can Participate

15-18 and 19-22 years old; individuals or groups of two or more.

Project Requirements

A written report and an informal interview at the NJHA convention are required. Generally some group members will be unable to attend the convention but may be represented by another member of the same group. Consult the report format below for additional information.

Awards

National Award Winner -- Up to three individuals/groups in each age division and three teams are eligible to receive a medal. National Award Winners are eligible to return for competition the following year in the same age division of this project area. In the event that a report of sufficient quality is not entered, no National Award will be presented.

Grand National Award Winner -- One individual/group in each age division is eligible to receive a medal. A Grand National Award winner is not eligible for further competition in the same age group. A Grand National Award Winner in the 15 to 18 year old category may return the following year in the 19 to 22 year old category even though they may not be 19 years old. In the event that a presentation of sufficient quality is not entered, no Grand National Award will be presented. Grand National winners may also receive a cash award in addition to the medal.


Sponsor:
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR HORTICULTURE SCIENCE
MICHAEL NEFF
1018 DUKE STREET
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314
WORK PHONE: 7038364606 EXT 106
EMAIL: mwneff@asha.org

Report Format

  1. Cover sheet - Name, age, date of birth, permanent and college address, telephone number(s), and name of parents.
  2. Report including:
    • (a) Project Title (5 points).
    • (b) Statement of Problem that covers the type of study you have undertaken, reasons for the study, and what you hope to accomplish (10 points).
    • (c) Review of Literature briefly tells what others have found out about the problem. This information will be reported in bulletins, books, and scientific references; not to exceed 100 words (10 points).
    • (d) Materials and Methods list materials you used in your experiment and how they were put to use in your experiment; not to exceed 500 words (25 points).
    • (e) Results of the Study report what happened. Charts, graphs, and pictures may be used to explain what happened; not to exceed 10 pictures and 600 words (30 points).
    • (f) Summary and Conclusions analyze your results and state conclusions that you can draw from them. Briefly summarize your study and indicate any practical applications for your findings; not to exceed 200 words (15 points).
    • (g) Bibliography should be an alphabetical listing by the author's last name of all work cited in the review of literature; no word limit (5 points).

Entry Deadline

September 15.

Download the Scoresheet PDF