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Growing green thumbs at Sioux Falls Christian

todayMay 10, 2024 2

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Students at Sioux Falls Christian High School are reaping the benefits of a bumper crop during their annual plant sale this week. This is the first full year the students have been able to raise plants, flowers and produce inside their new greenhouse.

Spring is sprouting inside the greenhouse at Sioux Falls Christian High School.

“It’s really a blessing to be able to do some hands-on work and just see how everything grows,” Junior Kate Zomermaand said.

The seeds of Zomermaand’s interest in horticulture were sown at home.

“I have a lot of plants in my room and I just really love seeing them grow and just seeing how quickly they can grow and so yeah I just kind of took that because I wanted to learn more about them,” Zomermaand said.

It’s more crowded working inside the greenhouse these days. This is what the interior looked like one year ago. Since then, a growth spurt has filled much of the empty space with new vegetation.

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“With having the greenhouse for the full year, we’re able to do a lot more propagations, we’ve got a lot more varieties of plants that just take at least a year to be able to fill out a whole pot,” plant science teacher Jeremy Brown said.

Much of the harvest is going to the school’s plant sale. Every week, the students also donate produce to Fair Market Sioux Falls to provide affordable food to struggling families.

“It’s a way for us to give back to the community and it’s kind of just like full-circle, we invest in the greenhouse and stuff and we can make money on the plant sale and stuff. But then, giving back, that factor is cool to have to give back to families who can’t necessarily get healthy food like that,” junior Jacob Congdon said.

The students have also opened up the doors to their greenhouse to local pre-schoolers and kindergarteners to show them what it takes to grow all of these plants.

“It’s cool, like whenever we get to see little kids feeding flies, like the Venus fly trap, showing them all the plants, giving all the little kids like flowers. They just think it’s really cool,” Congdon said.

Their teacher sees the students’ confidence growing right along with the plants.

“At the beginning of the year they are a little timid trying to grow things and then as we get into the course of the year, seeing how they get excited about the ability to grow plants,” Brown said.

Even on the coldest days outside, the students don’t want to overdress working indoors where it’s a climate-controlled constant 76 degrees.

“I’m wearing shorts today even though it’s a little chilly outside. I’m glad I wore shorts because it’s warm in here,” Congdon said.

The challenge over the summer will be ensuring the greenhouse remains a hospitable place for plants while school’s out.

“What I kept in here for the summer has been tropical plants that don’t have any issues with it being hot and humid like we get in South Dakota. So, they’re okay with that. It just makes it harder for me to come in here and work on those days,” Brown said.

The students are winding down the school year with a strong sense of agricultural accomplishments. Helping feed hungry families while spreading their enthusiasm for growing and nurturing plants to younger students. All from inside a greenhouse that specializes in personal growth.

“For us to have this opportunity with this facility is just amazing that kids can come in here and experience the beauty of creation each day,” Brown said.

The Sioux Falls Christian Plant Sale wraps up Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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