Gardening for the Future


Provided by Pat Foster

Horticulture students learn about various plants, their stages of growth and how to harvest them.

As she walks into the greenhouse, horticulture student Gracie Pinto readies her materials by collecting soil and gloves, excited to begin planting.

She glances at all her class has planted and grown throughout the year and sees everything from onions to jalapeños waiting to be given away to everyone in the school district.

She begins class by eagerly breaking the barrier of soil, embedding the seeds deep, and patiently begins waiting for a sprout.

In the horticulture class at Harrell, some of Mrs. Myers’ students have started a trend around school, plants decorating every room, including the front offices, here at school.

“By the end of this year we will have planted about 2000 plants and once they get big enough, we give them away,” paraprofessional aide Pat Foster said. “About half of the school district, the bus barn, and the maintenance people for the schools got plants.”

Gracie said she already wants to come back for next year’s class because of all of the activities going on.

“In horticulture class, we just give all of the plants away,” Gracie said. “We have people who want them, and we deliver them.”

Teachers all over Wichita Falls have received these plants from Harrell’s horticulture class who have a wide variety of plants ranging from vegetables like carrots to plants like ferns.

“I really like the spider plants,” Gracie said. “But the class mainly grows tomatoes and onions that we just plant them in the greenhouse.”

Horticulture student Blayne Horn said he really enjoys doing everything from harvesting to delivering the plants.

“In horticulture we go to the greenhouse and we plant different plants,” Blayne said. “My favorite plants to grow are carrots because of their color.”

When the students prepare to give the plants away, they get to eat a few during the process.

“The kids get to see the tomatoes and how they bloom and they all get to eat some,” Foster said. “They love that.”

Ultimately, Foster believes that these students are heavily impacted by the class and what experience they get out of it.

“They learn about all of the stages of growing plants, and because of that, these kids can get jobs,” Foster said. “They really get to learn work ethics by being in the horticulture class and from getting to work with the plants.”