HCHC greenhouse open for business

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Anyone in search of locally grown flowers, vegetables and such may wish to check out the Finley and Michael Howard Greenhouse on the Harlan County High School campus, which will be selling a selection of student grown products throughout the Spring.

According to Harlan County High School Agriculture Teacher Justin Buck, products went on sale on Monday.

“The greenhouse is an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in what is almost a real world scenario,” Buck said. “It’s as close as we could get within the school.”

Buck explained selling to the public is part of that real world experience.

“We sell plants to the public…not only so students can see what it’s like to own, operate and work in a business but also to raise funds to go back toward the agriculture program and the FFA (Future Farmers of America) program here at the school,” Buck said. “Not only does this program help our students learn, it also helps them get new opportunities through the money that comes back into the program.”

Buck pointed out the FFA program and the school’s agriculture program operate hand in hand.

The students are involved in the entire process of greenhouse production.

“The students are in a highly active role in the greenhouse production,” Buck said. “I order the plants, and I use that as a tool for teaching the students. They sit down in class and we look at previous year’s records of what sold and what didn’t, and we talk about how we can use that to determine what we raise for the next year.”

Buck orders the plants, with the students jumping into action once the order arrives.

“The students do all of the work that goes into the plants,” Buck explained. “They get the plant, transplant them into the containers in which they will be sold.”

Buck pointed out the plants purchased at the greenhouse have been completely prepared by the students themselves.

“They do all the work,” Buck said. “Basically, I just guide them in what we need to do to make things look professional and to sell to the public, but they do all the work that goes into it. They water the plants, care for any of them that have any issues, they fertilize the plants, they do everything.”

The greenhouse will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday on the Harlan County High School campus.

“We will probably sell until we run out,” Buck said. “We will keep going up into the summer until it’s either too late in the season or we run out of plants.”

Buck mentioned the products for sale include annual flowers and vegetables.

“This year, the selection is a little limited,” Buck said. “We have a wide selection of flowers…we have several varieties of tomatoes, mostly heirloom tomatoes, which is one a lot of people enjoy. We’ve get several varieties of peppers as well.”

Buck said there will also be a selection of ferns and hanging baskets. He added the most important aspect of the program is the way it benefits the students involved.

“Everything that comes out of this greenhouse and the money that comes into it goes directly into the agriculture program to increase the ability of our students to have a modern agriculture experience,” Buck said. “The more we sell, the better our students will benefit.”