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Plant sales help students learn, earn

Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:41 p.m. CDT
(Danielle Guerra – dguerra@shawmedia.com)
Cindy Lofthouse, an instructional coach at DeKalb High School, carries her flowers to check out Friday at the school's greenhouse. DeKalb High School horticulture students are selling bedding plants, vegetables and hanging baskets they produced from 8 a.m. to noon today at the greenhouse.
Danielle Guerra - dguerra@shawmedia.com Horticulture club member Catherine Luna (left), a sophomore at DeKalb High School, waits on fellow senior member Jennelle Romero to count the plants for a customer on Friday in the greenhouse.

DeKALB – DeKalb resident Jackie Keck was eyeing hanging baskets Friday in hopes of finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift for her mother and mother-in-law.

Keck also picked out some annual plants for herself during the annual plant sale at the greenhouse at DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road.

“I do lots of pots and perennials at home,” she said.

The plant sale continues from 8 a.m. to noon today. Plants, vegetables and hanging gardens are for sale to benefit the school’s horticulture program.

DeKalb High students planted the seeds in February, watered them and watched them grow. They also were required to research two different types of plants in order to learn about what they were growing.

Some of the plants for sale include coleuses, dahlias and lavenders. Shoppers can also find broccoli, zucchini and basil.

Popular items include petunias and geraniums, said Sarah Peterson, agriculture teacher.

Vegetables cost between $2 and $3, and hanging baskets range in price from $15 to $20.

“It really shows off our hard work,” said Gennelle Romero, a senior at DeKalb High. “We basically grew them all, and people are buying them.”

Students put up flyers at local businesses to promote the sale. Leftover plants will be donated to DeKalb County Community Gardens, and some students will be able to bring home the plants they helped grow, Peterson said.

Some of the plants will even be planted at Van Buer Plaza in downtown DeKalb and near the flagpole at the intersection of Grove and Fourth streets, she said.

“The students do all of the work,” Peterson said. “They grow, they plant, they transplant everything.”

DeKalb High senior Nicholas Olson admitted he took the agricultural class expecting it would be an easy course, but once he began working on growing the plants, his appreciation blossomed.

“It was better than sitting in a locked up classroom for 45 minutes,” Olson said. “I just enjoyed being out here all the time.”

Kathy Peterson drove all the way from St. Charles to see what plants were for sale. Peterson is the aunt of Sarah Peterson’s husband.

She picked out some coleus shade plants for her backyard.

“I have the perfect place for them,” Peterson said as she took a second look at her purchases.

It’s important for locals to support DeKalb-area farmers, Peterson said.

“It’s a great time for us to support everybody,” she said.

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