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December 5, 2012

PRETTY, PRETTY POINSETTIAS: Prosser poinsettias up for sale

NEW ALBANY — Carefully cultivated by 30 pairs of trained hands for four months, the poinsettias at the Prosser Career Education Center’s greenhouse are up for sale.

Mike Johnson, Prosser’s horticulture teacher, said his students have been taking care of this year’s crop since August. He said the red, white, marble or jingle bell poinsettias are up for grabs at the same price they’ve been for five years — $6.50.

He said for that price, the plants are pretty much in line what other stores charge, but the money goes back to something other than just a grower.

“They’d be supporting education, that’s the biggie,” Johnson said. “That’s the only reason we do it — for the students to get education. Plus, you’re getting a fresh, locally grown product.”

Brittney Durham, a senior at Salem High School, is the greenhouse manager for Prosser this year. She said she thinks the experience students get in all facets of caring for the plants is valuable.

“I just like to be out in the greenhouse rather than sitting in classroom,” Durham said. “I think we get more out of being out here with hands-on things than sitting in a classroom for two hours with book work.”

Students begin growing the plants in August. From there, Johnson said they manage fertilizing, watering, potting, insect control and other care. He said he’s proud of the work his students have done with about 1,500 plants in the greenhouse.

“I’ve checked out a few of our local box stores and I would put ours against theirs, I think they’re better quality,” Johnson said. “Especially if they’ve been in the box store for a day or two.”

But Durham said the plants were affected by weather this year. She said they had to throw away a lot of plants that had complications because of the heat.

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