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It’s watermelon-growing time for Lincoln County 4th graders

The annual Fourth Grade Watermelon Contest is about to begin — the Lincoln County Master Gardeners’ yearly effort to get students involved in growing something themselves.

Members of the gardening group will distribute seeds through the schools beginning Monday, April 12. Each fourth-grader in Lincoln County will receive a small zippered bag containing plenty of seeds to help them grown their own melons. Homeschooled children can pick up packets at the Lincoln County Extension Office, upstairs in the Lincoln County/Brookhaven Governmental Complex on South First Street.

The seeds are for Congo watermelons, which are easy to grow in the ground or in a container. They are sweet melons that can grow to be more than 40 pounds.

The seeds will sprout five to 10 days after planting and take about 90 days to mature. Instructions for sunlight exposure and watering will be included with the seeds.

Prizes will be awarded to students who submit watermelons for the weigh in on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 6-8 p.m. at the Exchange Club Fair. Each student submitting a melon will receive an armband for the fair rides.

Prizes are awarded based on weight. The top three overall winners will receive a cash prize of $100, $50 or $25. The first-place melon for each school will also receive $25 — first place for boys and first place for girls.

For more information call Master Gardener Steve Edge at 601-835-0111 or MSU Extension Service Agent Rebecca Bates at 601-835-3460.