Annual Southeast Technical College plant sale grows the future of horticulturalists
Students in Sioux Falls gained real-world experience through hosting their own plant sale.
SIOUX FALLS — Horticulture students at Southeast Technical College had the opportunity to share their hard work with the community through their annual plant sale April 26-27 at the Ed Wood Trade and Industry Center.
Students in the program get to decide exactly what plants they want to grow and are in charge of the planting, growing and selling process.
"It’s kind of their plant sale, where they get to plan absolutely everything, how it’s going to be set up, laid out, how many pots we are going to have, hanging baskets, how the point of sales is going to operate and it’s just a big finale to the big year that we have put in," said Benjamin Ringling, horticulture technology instructor at Southeast Technical College.
Second year student Kendra Hanson is graduating this week and hopes to work in a plant nursery post-graduation, so this process gave her a great introduction to what that job will be like.
"It’s, like, so important, especially for me because I am a hands-on learner, so the more I am in here actually doing things, the more I feel myself actually recognizing different things that I didn’t know before or learning that, ‘Hey this one likes that specific need over that guy.’ And it also gets you recognizing, like, what leaves are what plants and all the different variations of everything you can find,” Hanson said.
The plant sale consists of around 65 different varieties of plants, ranging from herbs, vegetables, flowers and houseplants.
“They get to choose whatever they want, some of the stuff is pretty crazy, and that’s kind of what the costumers really enjoy. I enjoy it, it’s something new for me as well," said Ringling.
"We counted out how many of our pots we needed, how much dirt we needed, and we figured out how many plugs we wanted to grow. We also got to choose out what type of plants like perennials or annuals we wanted to grow," said Hope Carlson, second-year horticulture and turf management student at Southeast Technical College.
Once the sale starts, it’s time for the students to share their plants and knowledge with their customers.
"I love it. It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s fun to be able to interact with customers and being able to be like ‘OK, what do you want?’ ‘What is your landscape design, and what are you just looking for?’ ‘Do you like this color, or do you want something that essentially grows lower or higher?’ And it’s honestly, I think it’s a great experience for us," Carlson said.
Through this hands-on learning experience, students become prepared to enter the growing horticultural industry.
“It helps me to be able to see, like, OK, this is what is to be expected, this is how customers, like, what are they asking, what they are expecting, and it gives me an insight essentially of how to run a business too," Carlson said.
"Being able to be in here actually physically doing it really helps me learn and catch on to, like, you know, how much fertilizer goes in all the plants and how to do everything so when I get into my career, I will still be learning but I will already have that little boost of 'Hey I have this basic information now help me just perfect it and keep learning even more,'" Hanson said.