A longtime Starkville High School tradition returns this week, with the opening of the 2019 Future Farmers of America Spring Plant Sale.
The plant sale will open to employees of the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District on Thursday, and to the general public on Friday. It will run from 30 to 35 days, or until the plants run out. The sale is located in the Millsaps Career and Technology Center at Starkville High School. Hours are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on school days and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. The plant sale has been held annually for more than 15 years.
“This is an annual fundraiser that our FFA kids do through our horticulture program,” said SHS horticulture teacher Randy Carlisle. “They’re fundraising for our program. It allows these kids to go on field trips to go see other career pathways they can get from exploring horticulture fields.”
Carlisle said the FFA program usually earns a few thousand dollarsa year from the plant sale.
“We start off in the fall makingcuttings from the plants we pull up over winter,” Carlisle said. “We pull them up and make cuttings and start young plants. We have a seeding process.”
He said the plants had been startedand cared for in the same greenhousethey would be sold from. The sale will start with multiple types of ornamental plants, various colors of coleus and lantana. As the weather warms up, more types of plants will become available, including vegetables.
Carlisle said in addition to learning about horticulture preparing for the plant sale, students also learn about running a business.
“It’s a full, functional business that they see from the bottom end prep to the presentation to the inventory control all the way to the marketing and money end of it,”
Carlisle said. Senior Austin Parker said it was his second year to be part of the plant sale. He discussed some of the preparations for the fundraiser.
“We have to make the soil, gather all of the pots together, Coach has to purchase all the buds, and we poke them out after they get here, and we have to transfer what we get into the containers, and we bring them out here, lay them out and make sure they stay watered every week so they grow,” Parker said. “That’s about all there is to it.”
Parker said it was satisfying to see the process from the beginning all the way to the plants being sold.
“I like taking care of them and helping them grow, and it’s satisfying starting from scratch, then watching all the progress, watching them grow,” Parker said. “Once they get finished, you have a bunch of different varieties and colors everywhere.”