Students sell fruits of their labor

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Tenth-grader Hayleigh Hazen, left, senior Kaila Brudelie, center, and ninth-grader Emma Fairbairn, right, work with some of the plants that will be for sale Friday.

NEW ULM — Agriculture students at New Ulm High School are selling the fruits of their labor this week.

At the high school greenhouse Friday, 1-6 p.m., the public is welcome to come and purchase seedlings of produce and flowers.

“If they are looking for something they can put into their garden, we have those vegetables; or if they are looking to do containers of flowers, we have things for that, as well,” agriculture teacher Kelsey Brandt said.

Produce available includes tomatoes, kohlrabi and peppers, in addition to flowers such as petunias.

Landscaping students started growing the plants in late February and early March. This is the first year the students are selling plants, though Brandt hopes to continue the program in future years.

“This year is our first attempt to see what people are even interested in buying or what works well in the greenhouse,” Brandt said.

She anticipates they will adjust what they grow depending on what sells best. This year Brandt expects the flowers to sell the best.

Some community members have already given input on what they would like to see, Brandt said.

All the money raised by the plant sale is expected to go back into funding the greenhouse. It will pay for things like plant trays and seeds, Brandt said.

The greenhouse was installed behind the high school near the end of summer and beginning of fall 2016.

Much of the funding for the project came from the Farm City Hub Club, along with other community donors.

Costing roughly $130,000 to get started, the 1,400-square-foot greenhouse opens up an opportunity for students to learn about agriculture.

Hydroponic and aquaponic systems were installed soon after construction. The former is a sustainable growing system that allows greater recycling of water. Aquaponics combines fish and plants to create a small ecosystem.

In May last year, the greenhouse received an additional $15,000 from the ISD 88 Foundation to install solar panels. Plans for the panels are being finalized, and they are expected to be installed this summer.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.