From the root to the fruit: Cleveland school teaching students the art of horticulture

(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Nearly 300 Cleveland Metropolitan School District students have gone green by taking part in the programs at the Washington Park Horticulture Center.

"The students actually learn about the genetics of the plants, and what causes them to be different colors," according to the school's principal, Tiffiany James.

LaVance Wiggins is one of those students.

"It's a fun experience being around the plants, just being able to work with all this," said Wiggins.

Erica Greiner is another student at Washington Park. She likes putting her hands in the dirt and seeing beautiful flowers and plants grow as a result.

"You've got to make sure (they) fertilize correctly and you use the right amount of water, or you can have root rot and various damages to your plants," she said.

Julie Stanton is their career tech teacher. She says she hopes the students will like this program enough to someday make a career out of growing plants and tending to animals, which is another part of the curriculum.

"They can also take those skills and create their own business. We teach them how to sell, how to work with customers, how to write invoices. So, it's kind of a full circle program of learning how to take care of plants, but also how to market and sell them as well."

There are thousands of poinsettias in a network of connecting greenhouses at the Washington Boulevard campus.

Students have already pre-sold about 1,500 red, white, pink and peppermint colored plants to the district and other supporters of their programs.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 14, the poinsettias will go on sale to the public.

"The public comes in from 8:30 to 4 p.m. during school. The students actually  host the public and take them through the greenhouse. They're able to pick out their plants and then they complete their sales out in the store area. They learn how cultivate all kinds of different plants, the type of environments they need in order for them to be productive.  They learn the science of starting them from a seed, then growing them into a full, mature plant," said James.

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