Spice and everything nice

Jessica Xilo, Parents & Teachers Editor

With an exciting plant variety, the Botany class is holding its 3rd Annual Pepper and Tomato Plant Sale on March 24, 31 and April 7 in front of the pool on Brookshire Avenue to raise money for classroom necessities.

Greg Pittenger’s class is selling over 40 varieties of plants and each plant costs $2.50, or customers can buy five for $10 or ten for $20. This year, the class has learned about plants and gardening in general through projects. The class even planted shiitake mushroom spores at the beginning of the year, but they have to wait at least a year to see their results.

Students participate in activities as a group, so that eventually they can do everything themselves and see the results.  In addition to taking care of the plants, they must know what to spray on them while learning about gardening care in general.

Volunteer workers talk to potential buyers and give information about the different plants. In the first weekend alone, they raised $1800.

“Waves of people come at different times, but there is always someone there,” senior Faith Hundoft said. “There is a greater variety than what you would find in a supermarket.”

A volunteer and senior botany student, Katherine Alvarado, also helped organize and plant seeds and will be selling plants on March 30.

“I enjoyed learning how to plant correctly, not just dispersing seeds randomly,” Alvarado said. “Mr. Pittenger taught me what seasons are best to plant, the exact depth we should plant the seeds, and what specific nutrients they need.”

During the sale, students such as senior Karl Matamoros tell people what the different plants are or they discuss the level of difficulty to grow it. Matamoros was assigned to plant the Foledhue pepper, which looks like a jalapeno but has no spice.

“My favorite plant is the Ghost Chili because it is so spicy that some people have to go to the emergency room,” Matamoros said. “The experience is better than in a classroom where you memorize things from a textbook and hope to memorize it all to pass.”

Botany students carefully plant the tomatoes and peppers and the strongest are put into pots and taken to the sale. The variety includes common plants such as the tomato Celebrity and other colorful plants such as the Lemon Boy, the pure yellow tomato. The hardworking students and Pittenger’s instructions have made it possible to offer new plants to the public.