FFA greenhouse is open for business

Project is open to the public through May 15

Vines belong in hanging baskets. That’s the lesson that Boyle County High School senior and Future Farmers of America treasurer Molly Crawford learned while working with sweet potato vine in the school’s greenhouse a couple of years ago.

Molly said she loves the plant’s intense green leaves. “It’s really pretty.” So she took one home and planted it in her family’s garden — where it more than thrived.

She laughed when she recalled how it took over the garden, and crawled over the landscape border and grew all over the place. “We had to turn the garden over about every two weeks,” she said, still laughing.

On Monday, the annual BCHS FFA greenhouse sale opened for business, and there are sweet potato vines for sale. There are also a wide selection of flowers, hanging baskets, ferns and herbs that the students have raised.

Molly said because school was closed last year due to the pandemic and students weren’t allowed in the greenhouse, their agriculture teacher Ashlin Kendrick, had to take over all of the planting, fertilizing, watering and cleaning up chores. She also had to do the selling without any students’ assistance.

This year, “It was a lot easier for her,” Crawford said.

Kendrick said the 18 students in her greenhouse class cleaned out the greenhouse in the fall. “Then we began planting seeds in late January. We have worked in the greenhouse everyday since. We use this time to fill pots, plant seeds/ plugs, and other critical tasks.”

The pandemic and virtual learning, “definitely added challenges and we had to be creative at times. However,my students were able to follow guidelines and work extra hard to get the job done!”

The greenhouse is bursting with several thousand pots of plants, Kendrick said. “We have the main staples that we have had in the past, but we have added more varieties of tomatoes than last year. We have watermelon, cantaloupe, succulents, more herb choices and a few new flowers just to name a few.”

Proceeds from the annual plant sale is divided in several ways, Kendrick explained. “The money for the plant materials will go back to the FFA, the installment fee will go to the Agriculture Department, and the money for maintaining the plants will be going to the students who are caring for the plants throughout the summer,” she said.

The greenhouse is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through May 15. Cash and checks, made out to Boyle County FFA, are accepted.

Unlike last year, pre-orders will not be taken because a limited number of people are allowed to shop inside the greenhouse now, Kendrick said. And, masks will be required.

Mackenzie Alexander, a BCHS senior and FFA president said she’s worked in the greenhouse this year since the beginning of school because it’s her co-op class. Even on virtual learning days, Mackenzie was working in the greenhouse getting ready for their annual sale.

She said she loves getting her hand dirty. “It’s great when you get to look at what you’re growing,”

And she agrees with her friend Molly, vines belong in hanging baskets.