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Anderson County High School Greenhouse: Planting the Seeds of Future Success
If you were out and about on Saturday, April 23rd, you probably noticed many vehicles turning into Anderson County High School and making their way back to the greenhouse. That’s because Katelyn Pinkston’s Greenhouse Technology students were finally ready to open their greenhouse up for the public to buy the plants they had been raising for months.

Before students can take Greenhouse Technology, they must take Introduction to Greenhouse and Crop Production. In those classes, students learned about plant nutrition as well as land and soil.  Greenhouse Technology is then the application of skills previously learned in topics such as hydroponics, greenhouse structures, greenhouse management fundamentals, and landscaping. This year in Greenhouse Technology, Pinkston had the pleasure of working with seven highly motivated, engaged students who were eager to put their knowledge to good use. From the looks of the greenhouse brimming with the vibrant colors of plant life, their hard work was obvious. It was also clear just how much thought went into the preparation for the sale.

According to Pinkston, this year all of her students worked to make the Greenhouse Sale a success: “This year, one of the final projects in my Introduction to Greenhouse and Crop Production was to look at our beginning/ending inventory numbers of last year, review and assess our customer satisfaction surveys from last year, and analyze the current financial status of our greenhouse account. Once they did that, they worked in groups to pitch me ideas on what they thought we should order with the budget they were given. They delivered their ideas to the class and then we discussed them all together. Ordering items for the greenhouse begins in January. At the end of February, we begin to prepare the greenhouse, and by the beginning of March all of our supplies are delivered. We pretty much work out in the greenhouse every day from March until the end of the greenhouse sale.”

That level of analysis on the part of the students allowed them to know precisely what buyers wanted. They began the day with everything from impatiens and zinnias, to lavender, succulents, and purple heart plants. Additionally, they had 180 hanging baskets. By the end of opening day they had nearly sold out of their inventory— all ferns had sold and they had only four hanging flower baskets left. The success of opening day only made the students more motivated than ever since, in this class, students are not only able to learn information and apply that knowledge but also to see the application of knowledge pay off in real, concrete ways.

"What students can learn from this experience is that there is more than one way of learning. Being in the greenhouse is an outside-of-the-classroom experience,” senior Ashlyn Beasley said of the class. Fellow senior Brianna Ramsey added, “When you are in the greenhouse you learn so many life skills that you will need when you are an adult. You will learn how to start with a tiny seed and grow something beautiful to give back to your community."

The Greenhouse Sale will wrap up this month, but that’s not all Pinkston has in store for her students. She plans to reward them with a field trip to local businesses involved in the horticulture industry, namely a tour at Daynabrook and a plant scavenger hunt at Wilson’s Nursery. Their final for the class will have even more real-world application after getting some inspiration from an Anderson County High School faculty member who approached Pinkston about the students designing and landscaping the faculty member’s yard. For their final project, students will design, pitch their ideas to the homeowners, and then complete the landscaping project. While the plants involved in that landscaping project have yet to be planted, the seeds of passion in these students are already there.