April is National Garden Month. One fantastic way to celebrate is to take part in a horticulture student green thumb plant sale. Jamie Tyler teaches three horticulture classes at Heyward Career and Technology Center (HCTC) in Richland School District One: An Introduction to Horticulture, Horticulture for the Workplace, and Nursery, Greenhouse, and Garden Center Technology.
Tyler’s high school students have been propagating plants for the 2022 spring sale starting last fall and continuing through late winter. Throughout the academic year students learn about plant care and propagation and apply knowledge about soil, nutrients, pests, tools, and growing techniques while at the same time learning about the many careers and business ventures available in horticulture.
Heyward’s Jaderloon ® Freestanding greenhouse provides a lab with proper light, temperature, and ventilation for propagation and watering of plants. The irrigation system can be set to do drip, overhead, and basket automatic watering. Plants are grown in a soil blend of peat moss, bark, perlite, and fertilizer and will be sold in four-packs, six-packs, hanging baskets, and individual pots. Plant prices for the annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, and houseplants range from $1 to $10. Aloes, arrowheads, petunias, vincas, sedums, salvias, begonias, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are a few of many selections awaiting your garden.
Student-crafted garden themed ceramic flowerpots and garden stakes are also for sale. Two other career related programs, Mechantronics/Manufacturing and Building Construction, contribute to the plant sale with concrete birdbaths, benches, and planters.
Proceeds from the plant sale directly support supplies, student incentives, classroom activities, and travel to local green industry businesses. The program gladly accepts plant pots, plants, or seed donations from the community. They may be dropped off at the front office of the school.
Tyler is the advisor for Heyward’s Future Farmer of America (FFA) Chapter. While COVID restrictions impeded participation in activities off-campus, during the school day students celebrated FFA Week with appreciation days for educators and local farmers. FFA students also added annual flowerbeds to the Heyward School signs. Students grew and submitted indoor plants to the S.C. State Fair Competition and several Heyward students won first and second place.
In looking ahead to the next school year, Tyler’s students will be involved in selecting, planting, and cultivating fruit and vegetable gardens for and with Waverly Community residents to promote healthy lifestyles.
When teachers like Tyler seed the future of students with inspirational educational experiences, it is easy to understand why colleagues selected her as the 2021-22 Heyward Teacher of the Year.
Hope to see you at the plant sale (cash only) at the Heyward Greenhouse, 3560 Lynhaven Drive, April 25-29 from 9-5 p.m. wearing masks and socially distancing.