Students at Mountain Home High School Career Academies are showing off their green thumbs in the newly built greenhouse on the high school campus.
The greenhouse was constructed this year after teachers in the agricultural education department applied for a state start-up grant from the Arkansas Department of Career Education. Brandon Lewis, who currently teaches plant science and greenhouse management at the high school, said the state provided $80,000 for construction of the greenhouse, and the school district covered additional costs for the project.
Besides planting and caring for plants, the students have gotten to know the inner-workings of a greenhouse. “It (the greenhouse) has a shade cloth that automatically rolls up if it gets too humid,” sophomore Gabe Todd said.
Lewis noted that the shade cloth is part of what helps the greenhouse function best, but it has presented its own set of issues.
“Another challenge has been figuring out the controls.” he said. “Our petunias aren’t a full-sun plant, but lately since the sun has popped out and the humidity has increased, the shade cloth has been staying open more, and some plants are getting too much sun. It’s sort of trial and error at the moment.”
The greenhouse is equipped with a built-in irrigation system, but based on placement, some plants get more water than others, so the students still do some hand watering.