Diet and food part of greenhouse science at Perry-Lecompton High School
Story and photo by Carolyn Kaberline
If you’re looking for some plants for your garden, look no further than the Perry-Lecomton High School greenhouse operated by the seventh hour botany class.
The class now in its fourth year, not only gives the class members a practical lab science class with field experience, but also shows them how they can add to their diets.
“We used to have a conservation class where we had numerous field experiences,” Kelly Haggard, botany class instructor, says. “But we always had to go somewhere for that class. I wanted another lab science class where we didn’t have to travel.”
Haggard says one other reason for the class is that he noticed how far removed today’s kids are from the food supply—even in a rural school district.
“Having grown up on a farm as a kid, I wanted students to see how simple it is to grow plants,” Haggard says. “I wanted them to see that as future consumers how simple it is to add to their diet and have control over it.”
Haggard also explains that “every year is an experiment. We have to decide what perennials we can add. This year we added asparagus and rhubarb. I hope we can make a rhubarb pie next week.”
The nine students – three seniors and six juniors– in the class are equally enthusiastic about it.
For senior Dakoda McDaniel, the best part of being in the class is working with the plants and enjoying the fresh smells.
Junior Colbi Kilburn is quick to mention that she enjoys being outside for the class while Austin Sledd likes “to see the flowers change over time and to watch how they grow.”
Nicolas Aguilar, a junior, likes learning about how to plant the various items while Thomas Roberts, also a junior, enjoys the “good, fun atmosphere of the class plus we’re never lacking in jokes.”
For junior Casey Keane, it means “you get to work with plant life and you get to sell them. It’s like running a business.”
Tyler Andrew, another junior, said he enjoys “growing stuff and there are a lot of applicable life skills.”
As the semester winds down and the plant sale is under way, junior Korbe Bohac “likes how everything comes together at the end. I look forward to eating some of the food.
Plants are available at the PLHS Greenhouse southwest of the PLHS Gym April 19, April 24, April 26 and April 30 from 3:40 to 6:30 p.m. Other dates and times may be added later. This year’s flower and foliage offerings include petunias, geraniums, pansies, begonias, dianthus, coleus and asparagus ferns while vegetables include several varieties of tomatoes and peppers. Some varieties of herbs are also available.
Prices are $3.00 for four and six inch pots and insert cells, $18 for ten-inch hanging baskets, $20 for twelve-inch hanging baskets, $25 for fourteen-inch urns, and $30 for square patio planters and sixteen-inch urns. Cypress wood planters are also available for $50.
“The sale is not the focus of the program,” Haggard says, “but it does provide the capital for next year’s offerings. We never run in the black on the sale, but it can cover the instructional materials.”
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