Annual plant sale builds knowledge and fundraising for vocational programs
By ANNETTE HARVISON
Students in the Plant and Animal Science class at the Greene County Vo-Tech started the spring semester by sowing more than 35,000 seeds in the greenhouses on campus. After tending to the seedlings for several weeks, the class now have a wide variety of flowering plants and garden vegetables ready for the public.
Eleven students start their school day with program instructor Josh Everett. The curriculum is not limited to classroom work and the students learn skills associated with farming and plant sciences. They have the advantage of having a working farm, a shop, and a land lab on campus and can apply classroom concepts and gain hands-on experience with livestock and cultivation.
The students’ current project also serves as an annual fundraiser for the program and the students are proud to show off their horticulture skills to visitors taking advantage of the plant sale. The Vo-Tech greenhouse is full of hanging baskets and flats ready to go in front porch flower pots or in the ground.
“Last year we planted 37,000 seeds and sold out,” Everett said. “This year I ordered 40,000 seeds. We have good community support and we do everything right here. We don’t take it anywhere else.”
The students were quick to admit the best part of their class is being outdoors, yet they enjoy what they are doing in the class. For GCHS students Madison Hanners and Raychel McLain, the class fits in with what they do at home.
“I like to stay outside,” said Hanners, a junior at Greene County High School. “I have horses and stuff and do a lot outside already. I don’t want to be a couch potato.”
“I like being outside and I like all the hands-on learning,” added McLain, who is a sophomore at GCHS. “Me and my dad are about to plant a garden. We have already planted cucumbers and tomatoes.”
The students in Everett’s class get their hands dirty every time they can. Though these students are not sure if they will have a future in agriculture, they agree their time in this class is a positive experience.
“I like to be out of the classroom,” said junior, Kevin Dortch. “We have a lot of fun.”
“I want to be a teacher and photographer,” added sophomore Olivia Graves. “I don’t like being stuck in the classroom, and I like what we do.”
The students planted six varieties of tomatoes this year – Celebrity, Better Boy, Big Boy, Big Beef, Super Sweet, Cherokee Purple and Red Robin. They have peppers on the list as well, with California bell, sweet banana, cayenne, jalapeño and tabasco pepper varieties. Other vegetables included in the plant sale are broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens and spinach. They also have Money Maker and Night Shadow eggplant available.
The class also has several varieties of flowers ready for purchase, including petunias, geraniums, marigolds, million golds, impatiens, gazanias, verbena, vincas, coleus and zinnias. There is something in the selection to please anyone’s senses.
The Vo-Tech plant sale will continue from now through the end of the school year, or until all plants are sold. Stop by the Vo-Tech between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to get your spring plants. All proceeds stay at the Vo-Tech to help with other projects for students.