Story and Photos By Hayley Hart/Online Editor/@hayleylhart
The Horticulture Club’s annual plant sale at the PCC began Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27, and resumes Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Javier Reyes, 20, a horticulture major, said the plants for sale are grown by students in the club. Reyes said, “We have indoor and outdoor plants” and fruits and vegetables. Reyes pointed out one of the exotic species for sale is the staghorn fern. It is being sold by being mounted on boards as the plant typically grows at the top of tree trunks or in ruts of the tree trunks or branches.
Amanda Paiz, 22, a double major in human development and childhood development at Cal State Long Beach, is taking a chemistry class at the PCC and saw the plant sale signs around campus. She said she had no idea the garden was on campus. Paiz said, “It’s like a hidden secret.”
Paiz stopped at the sale after church on Easter Sunday. Paiz purchased jalapeños, zucchini, a plum tree and Thai chilies. Paiz said, “When I cook I use a lot of chilies. I’m excited to grow these.”
Paiz spoke with Brian Hastie, the vocational instruction technician in the horticulture program, about growth space for the zucchini. She said she was pleased they don’t need much room to grow.
Hastie said the official beginning of the plant sale is unknown, but believes it began shortly after the program was established in 1973. Hastie said, “We see people we haven’t seen all year, but they come out for the plant sale.” Hastie said the plant sale is, “really an open house. We give advice on planting, on gardening, on irrigation, anything to do with gardening for free.”
Robert Johnson, a teacher in sheet metal and fabrication at LBCC and adviser for the Metal Fabrication and Welding Club, was at the plant sale with students from the club selling items made by students.
Some of the items are decorative metal wall hangings with humming birds, American flags or mermaids plasma cut into the metal, birdhouses and pit grills ranging in price from $5-$150.
Johnson said, “I truly enjoy seeing our students learn. They develop their creative side and math skills and they make tangible objects to bring home.” The proceeds are used by the club primarily for field trips to facilities that value the skills the students are learning.
Edgar Pelayo, 27, a horticulture major, was volunteering March 27 for the first time. Pelayo started in the program because “I love the outdoors and wanted to work with plants. It’s a good program. People should look into it. It’s kind of a dying lifestyle.”
During the first few hours of the sale March 26, Reyes said, “Milkweed is the most popular and it is sold out.” He said milkweed is good for the butterfly population, specifically the Monarch butterfly as when in caterpillar form they eat the plant.
Ty Elijah, a culinary arts alumna and EOPS student assistant, was at the plant sale March 26 as a plant sale volunteer. Elijah said, “The plant sale is going well. It’s going on next week too.”
According to statistics of prior plant sales given by the horticulture program an average of $20,000-$30,000 may be raised, up to 10,000 buyers may attend, 10,000 plants are available to purchase and over 100 species of plants are at the sale.