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Planting seeds of knowledge

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New greenhouse helps students meet agricultural challenges

By John Herndon

Traditional agriculture has met the changes demanded by the 21st century at Anderson County High School, and it is just in time for the spring planting season.

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The school will host the grand opening of its new greenhouse on Saturday, April 24 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The public is invited and can purchase a wide variety of vegetables and ornamental plants. Among the offerings are five varieties of tomatoes and three different kinds of peppers.

Flowers and ornamentals include, but are not limited to, marigolds, salvia, impatiens, geraniums, petunias, tuberous begonias, polka dot plants and a large variety of potted plants, and vines. A large number of hanging baskets are also available for purchase.

The plants are the result of work done by the school’s greenhouse class, according to agriculture teacher Tracy Probst. She said the 25 students in the class did the seeding and transplanting in the new facility. It is part of the mission of the agriculture department to expose young people to the changing role of the industry, she said.

She added that the students did all of the seeding in February and transplanted ferns in November.

“Most people, when they think of agriculture, think of production,” Probst said, referring to the traditional image of raising cattle and growing crops. “We want to teach alternative forms of agriculture.”

Part of that change is the expanding role of horticulture as a more urbanized society.

“I want to go into landscaping,” said sophomore Matt Fair. “I have learned the correct way to plant plants.”

“It is more hands on,” added sophomore Spencer Brown.

Which is exactly what Probst, now in her fourth year at the school, wanted with the new facility.

Anderson County has had a greenhouse dating to the mid 1970s, but ongoing construction at the school hampered the use of the old facility until it was closed several years ago.

“We did what we could,” Probst said. “But it was not anywhere near the experience they can have here (in the new greenhouse).”

Temperatures in the facility are computerized, but the students and teachers still must hand water the plants. The hopeful result is high quality plants available for the public to purchase.

Probst invites the public to see what is going on in one agriculture class at Anderson County High School on Saturday. The greenhouse will also be open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Those wanting to visit the greenhouse can go directly to the facility, which is located behind the school near the Freshman Center (old Emma B. Ward) and the school’s baseball field.

Probst said signs will direct patrons to the greenhouse.

For more information, contact the school at 839-5118.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.