Just for Organization

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Longview High School's Horticulture Program

It was that time of year, when time was catching up with the speed of the full bloom of fruits in all aspects from food to schools. Students world-wide were getting cases of "senioritis", the lack of motivation to perform with vigor in school, final exams were in their braking distance (alluding to driving because I just finished Driver's Ed), and of course, the fruits on our trees and the vegetables in our gardens were in full ripeness. Longview High School had the perfect gallery of such beauty; too bad Enloe doesn't have one...yet.

The man behind the horticulture program is Mr. Patrick Faulkner. Through a decade of research and trial and error, he has gotten Longview's garden to look like this:

The classroom was filled with a bunch of neat tools. In the far right, you can see a big machine that is used to grow the plants and prepare them for outside conditions (like plant daycare!).

Whoops, that isn't a garden, it's Mr. Faulkner's classroom. This is where the preparation for magic happens. We started out tour here.

Longview is an alternative high school, a program that is essential, that basically, provides students with the "second chance" that they deserve. What stood out to me first when meeting Mr. Faulkner was his perpetual passion for his teaching, the students, and horticulture. He said that through his class, students were able to get "down to earth" and really connect with a part of them that they never knew was there. Some of his former students went on to attend colleges and some even went to create and run their own businesses with the skills they learned from his horticulture classes and teachings. That's quite amazing, especially due to the fact that these students, who once needed correction, overcame their situations and succeeded! Now that, I call, is pure dedication and perseverance. Think about how the world would be if everyone could do that: step back and analyze the situation at hand and then change it to suit their aspirations and their potential. Unfortunately, I believe that the only thing stopping anyone from achieving their dreams is their ignorance - not knowing their own potential.

Pictured: Mr. Faulkner tending his plants!

 We walked outside, passing huge piles of soil and mulch to reach this lovely greenhouse.

Mr. Faulkner showed us around the greenhouse, which was absolutely beautiful!

The tilapia feeds the plants and the plants feed the tilapia.

I have never seen this technique, aqua-tonics, done before. I have known of the science behind it, the about 20 tilapia in the bottom tank producing waste that is then circulated to the plants above as fertilizer, but have never seen it done so fluently before! The plants, that I believe consists of mint and other herbs, flourish under these conditions, as you can tell.

 These plants, that the class grows, are soon going to go out for sale in yard sales. Perfect way for anyone to get a feel of the business-side of gardening.

This is a composting technique that uses mushroom grains.
Around the other side of the greenhouse starts the outdoor gardening space.

 I've never thought of using marigolds and flower beds around the garden to ward off predators by producing flowers that attract bees... Thanks Mr. Faulkner for the tips!

Raised beds really aid the plants to grow healthily.

Plant a Row for the Hungry is a program that IFFS does. Longview has turned into an outreach hotspot for local organizations!

Veggies for days

Communication is key! Look how much space they have and look at how well they utilize the sun and the space!

Strawberries + irrigation system
Strawberries get their own little space :)

When in doubt, grow vertically! Pictured: muscadines

Bond-fire place where the anyone can rest under the shade when tending the gardens. So clever.

Compost area!

Raised beds, again!

To top it off... the season's harvest!
It goes to say that passion and resources produce great results. Thank you, Mr. Faulkner, for showing us around your wonderful garden. Keep changing lives!

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