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Students prepare for spring plant sale with colorful blooms, veggie plants

Jefferson County FFA Spring Plant Sale April 2
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 1:16 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Pink begonias are blooming, while enormous, lush ferns are hanging inside the greenhouses at Jefferson County High School.

Plants are soaking up water from the irrigation system students have installed. Students take turns feeding the plants nutrients as needed, per their instruction from horticulture expert Katy Arnold.

“You plant this tiny seed and it turns into this beautiful flower,” said Sophomore FFA Vice President Mady Thompson, who wants to study biochemistry in college. Her favorites in the greenhouse are the colorful petunias overflowing from hanging baskets.

Senior Robert Walker enjoys working with plants as part of his high school class on greenhouse management. His favorite? “Hydrangeas, mostly. They’re really beautiful when they come out!”

Arnold is teaching students basics in soil science and nutrition for plants, as well as management details for greenhouse work or another small business.

“Of course, you’ve got to have nitrogen and then traces of magnesium and all kinds of things just really go in,” Thompson said.

“We take care of them. Let them grow. And then we go out and sell them,” said Walker.

While Arnold is teaching ag skills, she is also instilling good work habits and critical thinking. “We’re building leaders. How to be a positive impact on the rest of the community.”

The Spring Plant Sale is when the greenhouse doors open to the community on Friday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 pm. The greenhouses are located at Jefferson County High School, off exit 417 and Highway 92 in Dandridge.

Some plants grown by students will also be available this spring at the Jefferson Farmers Coop and Sevierville location of Smoky Mountain Farmers Coop.

Funds from the plant sale cover costs for student ag projects all year long.

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