Brownstown Central FFA begins plant sales


Just a few months ago, the Brownstown Central High School greenhouse was empty.

Now, it’s in full bloom with thousands of flowers, hanging baskets, porch pots and vegetables inside and outside.

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From the popular begonias, petunias, geraniums, impatiens and ferns to tomato, cauliflower and cabbage plants, they are available for the public to purchase from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the school until everything runs out. The greenhouse also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon May 11, the day before Mother’s Day.

People should enter Door 8 by the baseball field, and the methods of payment accepted are cash and checks. Proceeds will benefit the school’s FFA chapter.

The greenhouse management class has grown all of the plants.

“It’s a release for them to get out of the classroom,” agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Blake Hackman said. “Also, it’s an opportunity for them to learn what the plants are because they are going to own a place or apartment or something, and they are going to know ‘This takes sunlight’ or ‘This takes shade.’ They can maintain, and also, they can tell their friends, their neighbors.”

He said he wants them to gain some general knowledge to be able to beautify their property.

“I found out that students actually remember that kind of stuff,” he said. “It’s just to be able to keep their place maintained and take pride in what they have.”

Hackman said the school has been offering plant sales to the public in the spring since the 1980s, and it has grown in recent years.

Hackman bought all of the plugs, pots, soil and plants, and it was up to the 18 students in the class to maintain and water everything so it would grow and be ready to sell.

“This is just growing perennials and annual flowers and vegetables,” Hackman said. “The best way to do it is to make them do it, and then they know how to do everything. They all do this, and they’ve done everything. That’s fun.”

They also took orders for customized flowerpots from school staff members.

Many of the students didn’t know much about the different types of plants until they took the class.

“We had to learn about the plants before we were allowed to plant them,” junior Aubree Van Coutren said. “It’s kind of cool to know all of the different types of plants and how they all require different amounts of sunlight. It’s a lot to learn.”

The students liked being outside working in the greenhouse.

“You don’t really feel like you’re in school. It’s nice. It’s refreshing,” Van Coutren said.

“It feels like on the job,” sophomore Reid Campbell said.

“It’s more hands-on,” fellow sophomore Blake Kellogg said.

Junior Luke Wood said he knew about some of the plants because he had taken other classes with Hackman.

“There would be different classes, and we would go over the reproductive system of plants and stuff like that, which is something like we learn in this class,” he said.

Seeing everything in the greenhouse grow has been rewarding to the class.

“It’s kind of like an accomplishment to make the community look better,” Kellogg said.

“I feel accomplished knowing that we helped plant all of the plants,” Van Coutren said.

“I like to look at them and be like, ‘I planted that,’” Wood said.

Junior Leighton Rose summed it all up.

“It’s pretty sweet,” he said, smiling.

Now, the students are excited to sell the plants to the public.

“I enjoy being outside with other kids, I like learning about all of the different varieties and I enjoy doing it as a community-based thing,” junior Zachary Thompson said.

“We use good, quality products, too,” Wood said. “And we have free labor, so we don’t have to cover that.”

Hackman said the cost of everything for the greenhouse increases each year. This year, he said he spent about $10,000, so he hopes to break even with the plant sales.

The money will go into the FFA’s general fund, part of which will help send five FFA members to a national leadership conference in Washington, D.C., in June.

“By far, it’s the best thing they could ever go to in FFA,” Hackman said of the conference.

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What: FFA plant sale

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until everything runs out and 8 a.m. to noon May 11

Where: Brownstown Central High School greenhouse (enter Door 8 by the baseball field)

Who: Open to the public to purchase flowers, hanging baskets, porch pots and vegetables (payment is by cash or check)

Information: 812-358-3453