Local school greenhouses open to the public


What starts out as a small sprout sticking out of some soil turns into a towering tomato plant.

What starts out as a plug blooms into beautiful flowers.

It’s rewarding for local students to put in the work to ensure the vegetable plants and flowers blossom and then sell them to the public.

“It’s cool because you plant the seed and then you get to watch it germinate and grow,” Crothersville High School junior Mariyah Kelshaw said while taking a break from working in the school’s greenhouse.

“But also when I’m out here, I get a sense of peace,” she said. “I like coming out here and just looking and seeing how everything is doing. If it’s doing good, then that means we did a good job.”

Three Jackson County high schools are opening their greenhouses to the public this spring.

Brownstown Central High School’s horticulture students began selling last week and will continue to be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays as long as supplies last.

Trinity Lutheran High School’s greenhouse will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Finally, Crothersville will open its doors from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and then be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays until they are sold out. A bonus if you go Saturday? You can purchase a famous FFA porkburger, too.

This year, Seymour High School is limiting its greenhouse sales to corporation employees.

At Brownstown, Blake Hackman’s horticulture students began working on the annual greenhouse project in February.

“They have to seed. They have to transplant. They have to make the pots. They have to water. They have to do everything,” he said. “They have to clean. They have to sanitize. They go through every process.”

Since project-based learning is being pushed in schools, Hackman said the greenhouse fits that perfectly.

“They love to get out of the classroom desk and come out here,” he said. “They can converse while they are working and talk like they would in a job. It’s almost like a job setting, so to speak. They really enjoy that.”

Brownstown is selling annual and perennial flowers, including hanging baskets, along with vegetable plants and succulents.

“The kids like to see the stuff leave here because they put the time and work into it, and at the same time, they get to meet people from the community and they have to learn how to work with people from the community,” Hackman said.

“They take care of the problems, they have to fill the orders, they take the money and they make the change,” he said. “They follow through on the sale, so interaction with the people, I think, is very positive for the kids.”

Junior Brady Waskom said this is his first year taking the horticulture class and working in the school’s greenhouse.

“I grew up on a farm and we raise watermelon, so it’s kind of fun to me, being outside and working with flowers and making people happy, just showing that we care for them and that we’re here,” he said.

As the students maintain the flowers and plants, Waskom said it’s interesting to learn about all of the varieties.

“I think it’s good for us all to learn it,” he said. “Whenever you grow up and get older, then you can do your own landscaping at your house or you can get in the business or start a business in landscaping or something.”

Hackman said the greenhouse usually sells out, but if anything is left, he spreads it around the community and has the students help do some planting.

“We do a lot of community planting,” he said. “The kids like that. It’s a good lesson for them.”

At Trinity, Bryan Schroer said horticulture is a yearlong class. Students learn about horticulture topics and plant growth in the first semester and begin planting the vegetables and sort through the flowers in the second semester.

“They may never do any gardening, but some of them might, and it gives them a chance,” he said. “Most of them like to work with their hands when we get started. They don’t mind to get dirty.”

The students sell a variety of annual flowers and vegetable plants, including tomatoes, peppers and kale.

In his first school year of taking horticulture, sophomore Andrew Bell said he has learned a lot.

“Some of this stuff, I hadn’t ever really heard of before,” he said of the types of flowers and plants.

Fortunately, living on a farm, he knows how to take care of the things that are grown in the greenhouse.

“I’ve done so much at our house knowing the right amounts of fertilizer and stuff to mix in before you even start planting and how deep the seed can be to be the right depth to make sure it gets some good growth an base,” Bell said.

At Crothersville, the horticulture students in eighth grade and high school began working in February to prepare for the May greenhouse opening.

“We start with our planting by seed first, so not everything is plugs. We start some things by seed,” Kelshaw said. “A lot of it was tomatoes and peppers, and then we went on with the flowers.”

Teacher Linda Myers said letting the students work with the flowers and plants from start to finish allows them to take ownership.

“They know the seed that they planted, it has their name on the end of the flat, so when you come in and you don’t water something that they’ve been working on, they get upset about it, and that’s what I like to see,” she said. “They nurtured something, and they care about it.”

Time management and problem-solving are other skills gained from the greenhouse project.

“They have an assignment that they are supposed to doing, and they are out here, too, so they’ve got to figure out how to get all of that done,” she said. “When the plugs come in on a Friday afternoon, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to get that done. And we’ve run out of room in here, so I look at them and I say, ‘Your job is to figure out where you’re going to put all of this stuff at.'”

Being her second time taking the horticulture class, Kelshaw has seen the benefits of it.

“Definitely if you ever want to do your own garden or anything like that at home, you know how to do it because you started it here,” she said. “It’s also a responsibility thing. Everybody gets a day to water, so we have the responsibility of watering, we have the responsibility of making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be and everything’s growing.”

Getting to sell to the public is another beneficial experience.

“I think that’s a good thing for people to see that as students, we are actually doing things, we are actually learning, and this is a hands-on thing, so that’s really good, too,” Kelshaw said. “We’re not just sitting in the classroom all day. We’re actually being able to do something. I think that’s a good thing, too. It also allows us to give to the community, and we love doing that.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Jackson County high school greenhouse sales

Brownstown Central: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (enter the gymnasium parking lot off of West Bridge Street and follow the signs to the greenhouse)

Trinity Lutheran: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (greenhouse is behind the school, 7120 N. County Road 875E, Seymour)

Crothersville: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and then from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays (greenhouse is on the south end of the school, 109 S. Preston St., Crothersville)


No posts to display