New interest takes root for kids
Several students at Peabody-Burns High School tried to transform their lack of green thumbs by enrolling in a horticulture class.
“I took the class because I wanted to get better with plants,” student Ryleigh Hunsucker said. “I wasn’t that good with them. Now I might try planting a few of my own.”
The fruits of the students’ labors were on display last week at the Warrior Soil plant sale, with more than 10,000 annuals, perennials, succulents, and produce plants blooming for the public.
Plants sold fast when the sale started.
“We had a guy come in and buy about 40 of these guys — six whole trays,” teacher Rachel Winter said. “He almost cleaned us out. But we have a few hidden down here.”
Students flitted between rows like the hoverflies in the rafters to help customers find plants they wanted or to make suggestions based on their growing conditions.
Ann Lepke revived the greenhouse sale a decade ago after a period of inactivity, and it has continued every year since. This year is Winter’s first time managing it.
The money earned by the sale goes towards supplies for the class and improvements for the school’s greenhouse.
“We’re able to sell plants for a lot cheaper than big greenhouses, since it all goes back into the class,” Winter said.
One sale let the class install a drip irrigation system to keep plants constantly watered.
Students grew plants from seeds and plugs bought by Winter. They also learned how to take cuttings from full-grown plants donated by the community. They have been watering, transplanting, and managing the greenhouse’s stock since September.
Between the middle school and high school, 12 kids are involved.
“The high schoolers take more of the business side of things, like helping with the sale,” Winter said. “But the middle schoolers are still getting a hands-on experience.”
The career and technical education course helps students interested in horticultural or agricultural industries plant their roots.
The class also creates floral arrangements, plants the city of Peabody’s flower pots, and designs landscapes.
While not every student involved had thought about getting into gardening, a few considered taking it up after high school.
“I wasn’t planning on it, but I might get into horticulture,” Hunsucker said.
The Warrior Soil sale will operate from 4 to 6 p.m. today and Friday.
Horticulture students at Peabody-Burns High School used broken pots to make succulent planters, then offered them at the Warrior Soil plant sale.
Last modified April 20, 2022