Crestwood Flower, Veggie Sale makes spring beautiful
Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:59am admin
Kim Soukup TPD Staff
CRESCO - The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” At Crestwood High School, it’s the Plant Science classes that are bringing the May flowers. And let’s not forget the vegetables. The flower and vegetable sale was held on Monday, May 8 and Tuesday, May 9, from 3:45-5:45 pm.
“When I first started here, they were talking about tearing down the greenhouse,” said instructor, Mike Adams. “That was back in 2005, and it is still here. We had a compromise. We kept the building up and running but it is shut down December through February and during the summer months.”
What did that mean to the horticulture class and the community? An ever-successful flower and vegetable sale held each Monday and Tuesday prior to Mother’s Day.
“We used to move the days around,” shared Adams. “Sometimes we’d try to work around what we thought the weather would bring and then we decided to stick with the same Monday and Tuesday prior to Mother’s Day. This offers consistency. People know when it’s coming. We don’t have to field a lot of phone calls with people wondering what week the sale will be held.”
This year there were 800 flowers ready and available for the sale. Vegetables, well there were an awful lot of those too. There were over 20 different varieties of flowers available and 12 different types of vegetables offered to the public for a nominal price.
“We start planting plugs in mid-February,” said Adams. “And then in the first part of March, we plant the vegetables, the last being the tomatoes, which may be hard to believe considering how big they are already.”
If you were at the sale on Monday, things moved fast. Within the first hour the dahlias were gone. In this case, the early bird definitely got the worm.
“We never know which is going to be the most popular flower from year to year,” shared Adams. “The dahlias were big this year. The geraniums always go well. We always try to get some blues in there, too . . . Crestwood colors.”
Two of the early bird shoppers were Arlene Dotzler and Marilyn Kriener. They attend the sale every year. Both had boxes full of flowers and vegetables prior to exiting the greenhouse. Another early bird shopper and familiar face was Julie Wilson, Howard-Winneshiek Schools teacher.
“I really enjoy the flower sale and am here to support the horticulture students,” she noted.
Monies that are generated from the yearly spring sale go back into the program.
“We are self-sufficient,” Adams explained. “With the money from the flower and plant sale, some of it goes into buying the pots, soil, flowers and updating the water and heating system. The money just goes back into the program. We get something, save up, get something and then save up again. The heating system will be next.”
Adams’ decision to do the plant sale was not just to keep the greenhouse viable and the program going, but it is also an opportunity to teach the kids about horticulture and flowers, and in order to do that there was a need for variety.
“The sale has been a natural way for us to get rid of our classwork,” said Adams. “And it allows us to be self-sufficient.”
Adams teaches Plant Science I and II at Crestwood High School. He also offers horticulture at the next level, Advanced Horticulture.
“I always see a few students every year that really enjoy the Plant Science classes, and I see they may possibly enjoy managing a greenhouse some day in the future,” he said. “Right now, we have two kids who are doing independent study.”
What does that really mean? The students come to Adams during his regular scheduled Plant Science classes and work. They also help with decisions. Adams will see if these students can “catch” things going wrong in the greenhouse with the plants. The independent class started a few years ago and Adams sees that the students really benefit from the additional responsibility and challenges.
What’s in it for Adams? The kids.
“I really enjoy watching the kids enjoy it,” he commented. “That’s what I really get out of it.”
And if there are plants left over from the plant sale, don’t worry. The horticulture class gets to take home some plants and the rest, well they don’t get thrown out. They are used to beautify the school campus. They are seen all over the school grounds and the vegetable beds.
What do the kids get out of it besides a plant or two or more? Education.
“I have learned a lot about gardening,” said Alex Trouten, Crestwood junior and Advanced Horticulture student. “One of the things I really noticed in working with the plants is that when you pinch them off, the plant will bunch out a lot. I like it all. This year’s plant sale was a lot better than last year. Last year we had a disease so we didn’t have any tomatoes and peppers for the sale. By the time, we restarted them they were too small for the sale.”
The success of the sale and how it relates to the community could perhaps be summed up best by one young lady.
“My mom just bought 65 plants,” said the unidentified young woman smiling broadly as she piled boxes of plants in the car. “She comes every year and can’t wait to work with the plants.”
There are no losers at the plant and vegetable sale. Everyone wins . . . students, customers, the school itself. Can’t wait til next year!