BY DAWSON HUNT AND OSWALDO GUZMAN STAFFWRITERS
In the West GreenHouse, the students grow flower bedding plants, vegetable plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, squash, and also hanging baskets. Both of the greenhouses are over 1000 square feet each. The students use one greenhouse for growing plants that they sell. The other greenhouse is used for hydroponic and aquaponic systems where the students grow tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers hydroponically. They also can grow fish in the aquaponic system. They have had koi in the system this year. The class has also raised tilapia in the system.
Mr. Tripucka stated, “Students take part in growing all the plants. We start/grow most of our own plants.”
The students try to not use any pesticides on our plants. They have found that early scouting for pest problems and acting quickly like removing the plants affected reduces the need for most pesticides. The students usually physically remove any weeds that start growing reducing the need for herbicides. Most of the seeds are purchased from Park Seed Company. They are based in South Carolina. Tripucka purchased some vegetable seeds from Knoxville Seed. Some of their plugs are purchased from Westel Greenhouses near Rockwood, TN. Some of the plugs are also purchased through Park Seed. Plugs are just young starter plants.