Getting to the root of it

Abigale Trout, Staff Writer

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A greenhouse makes it possible to grow certain types of crops year round, such as fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Having a greenhouse in schools can bring different types of hands-on lessons to the classroom. Students get to see firsthand how weather affects growing conditions. At Franklin High School, students that take a horticultural class get to build onto these life lessons by learning to manage costs and selling the fruits of their own labor. Franklin High School has been holding greenhouse plant sales for many years and will continue as long as they are able.

Mr. Nelson, the horticulture teacher, explained, “There is so much that goes into plant sales: we have to order plugs, get the pots, soil, and different supplies, prepare the greenhouse, get water and everything running, and bring the plugs into the greenhouse. But the students do the whole process–they transplant, plant, and sell. Everything in FFA is student-run.” The process in plant sales begins mid February, which is when the students put the plugs in. In late April, to early May, is when the plants begin to get sold. “We have a wide variety of plants this year: Petunias, Geraniums, Impatients, Tomatoes, Peppers, Coleus, Dusty Miller, Dianthus, and a multitude of other plants. We use a specific soil called Promix Soil and we order our plants with Greenfield High School’s agriculture program because it is cheaper to buy in bulk.”

“The best part of greenhouse to me would be the trips that we get to take and being ahead of a project for our school that has such a great impact on us in the end,” says Kyle Colwell, a junior at Franklin who is a part of the greenhouse plant sales. Colwell explained that the last trip they got to take to Western Illinois University was one of the best yet. While at WIU, the students got to meet the horticulture instructor and see how they run their greenhouse compared to how we run ours at school. “In the past we have made roughly $2,000. Hopefully this year we can reach our goal of $2,500.”

Transplanting is important because the root system needs room to move and absorb nutrients. According to Maximum Yield, “Transplanting is the process of moving a fully germinated seedling and replanting it in a permanent location for the next growing season. Transplanting is an important part of agribusiness in northern climates because it extends the flowering or fruit bearing season of many plants. Seeding plants directly into the ground requires specific temperatures and conditions to properly germinate and grow. A warm greenhouse provides the optimum conditions for germination and development of the young seedling. After a month or so the outside temperature is warm enough so that all the danger of frost has passed and the seedlings can be transplanted outside. This extends the northern growing season considerably.”


Works Cited

“Transplanting.” Maximum Yield, Accessed 5 April 2019.