The greenhouse sells vegetable and flower plants grown by students in the Greenhouse Management I and II classes.
According to student Kolbie Calton, this year the classes have been growing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, red and green peppers, squash and a variety of flowers.
The greenhouse is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Money raised from selling the greenhouse plants goes toward agriculture students’ conferences, supplies and participation in competitions.
The classes are part of the agricultural education offerings at the school and are taught by Jason Kincaid. Calton, who is taking the Greenhouse Management II class, said each class is a semester long.
In the Greenhouse Management II class, students spend time in the classroom learning about plants and plant seeds, conduct experiments, and practice good salesmanship when it comes time to sell. Students also keep a journal about each of the plant experiments. Hollie Davis is seeing if plants grow better in natural or artificial light. Calton grafted a potato plant with a tomato plant in an attempt to have tomatoes grow at the top and potatoes grow at the bottom of the same plant. He said he is still working on it. Angelina Rogers is testing whether mineral water, tap water or stagnant water makes plants grow better.
Students take the classes for a variety of reasons.
Rogers said she took the first greenhouse management class because it seemed like an easy class. However, she found she enjoyed it and decided to take the second class. She also said she felt that working in the greenhouse helps her stay calm at school.
“Agriculture has been in my family for over 100 years,” Calton said.
Following in his family’s footsteps, Calton also enjoys agriculture. He said he wants to pursue a career working in a nursery or as a landscaper. Davis also became interested in agriculture because of her family. Davis said she took her first agriculture class because her dad had taken the classes, and after that she was hooked on the program. Davis also said she enjoys seeing how happy people are when they come to buy the plants.
Each year the garden is planned by Kincaid based on student input and what he thinks will sell best. In addition to selling individual plants, the students also grow plants for a local farmer.
The greenhouse project has been at Walker Valley for nine years. Kincaid said when the greenhouse started he was the only agriculture teacher at the school. Kincaid said he appreciates the support of the school system for programs that give students these types of opportunities.
Kincaid said the best part of his job is “when the kids have that ‘Ah-ha’ moment.” He also enjoys the opportunity to show students the whole process of how plants grow.