Friday, March 21, 2014
Ashley Ridge High School has been known for turning students into gardeners, but this year the young horticulturalists are trying something new.
Ashley Ridge Horticulture and Future Farmers of America are inviting the public to their “10 Days of Plants” event, scheduled for April 4-11. Ashley Ridge students will be selling the flowers and vegetables they have grown this past year.
The event kicks off with the Flowertown Festival, where the students will start selling their produce. Once the festival is over the students will move back to their school’s greenhouse, which will be open for selling leftover produce.
Flowers for purchase include geraniums, verbenas, sunpatients, begonias, coleus, vincas, ivy geraniums, petunias, marigolds and zinnias.
The produce for sale includes tomatos, peppers, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelons and cantaloupes.
Other items on sale include ready-made garden kits, which measure at 5 feet long, 4 feet wide and 8 inches tall. It is a tool-less assembly that includes cypress wood, organic compost fill soil and plants to fill the bed.
Ben Gibson, agriculture teacher for the horticulture program at Ashley Ridge, said he has more than 100 students in his class, 55 of whom will be working the Flowertown Festival. This is Gibson’s second year at Ashley Ridge.
“I think the students get a new idea that learning can be fun, and it’s a hands-on opportunity,” Gibson said. “It’s my goal to limit the book work. Hands-on learning is key for me.”
ARHS’s garden all started with Bobby Behr, an assistant principal and athletic director as the school. He led a project involving Clemson Cooperative Extension, local farmers and businesses to bring a garden to the school grounds. Now these gardens are blooming at all 22 of DD2’s schools.
This is the first year the horticulture program has decided to grow and sell flowers, after students said they wanted to try it.
“What I want to do is provide some alternatives to other students,” Gibson said. “Horticulture is not just crops, it’s floral.”
All the proceeds from the 10-day long event will go back to the children, Gibson said.
“Everything is motivated by the students,” he said. “If you can’t have fun in school, if you can’t have fun in education, what are you doing it for?”
Gibson is optimistic the students will make some bank off the event.
“I’ve already had a huge response from people around the district,” he said. “I think we’re going to be very successful.”