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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Holy Poinsettias: Poinsettias Fill NHS Greenhouses in Preparation for Plant Sale

Poinsettias+on+the+rolling+benches+in+a+greenhouse+soak+up+the+sun+while+getting+ready+to+be+sold+at+the+FFA+Holiday+Plant+Sale.
Kylieann Craine
Poinsettias on the rolling benches in a greenhouse soak up the sun while getting ready to be sold at the FFA Holiday Plant Sale.

WOODBURY — As visitors walk into Nonnewaug greenhouses, their eyes will quickly be drawn to hundreds of poinsettias. 

Every winter, NHS greenhouse production students are given the task of preparing one of the best sellers for the Woodbury FFA Holiday Plant Sale: poinsettias. Beautiful, bright-colored poinsettias cover every bench.

Three hundred poinsettias are gathered from Geremia Greenhouses in Wallingford each year. Eric Birkenberger has a longtime relationship with the company and gets the poinsettias delivered to the school yearly. While NHS’ longstanding relationship with this distributor is vital to NHS plant sale, there are certain variables that also impact the aesthetics of these plants. 

Eric Birkenberger takes care of a white poinsettia. (Kylieann Craine)

“We are keeping an eye on water and temperature,” said Birkenberger. “There is a lot of waterborne disease, so it’s really important that the kids don’t mess up with the watering.”  

Although NHS students do their best to monitor water and temperature, these plants do arrive to campus pre-finished, so students will be in school in time to take care of them and assure that they are ready for market. The growing process for the poinsettias started in August, meaning students would not be in school to take care of them. 

Poinsettias are a seasonal plant and are mostly sold during the Christmas season for their bright red coloring and their shaping of a star. Poinsettias are photoperiodic and require different amounts of light and dark to change the color. Because students aren’t on campus at the right times, they would not be able to monitor the amounts of light the plant receives to create the desired color.

All three greenhouses have at least 60 poinsettias, and every single one is taken care of by the greenhouse students during their class periods. The students have done worksheets and research on how to take care of poinsettias before taking care of them on their own. The students use a method of water with Edmunds Flood benches, which function as a filter system that makes sure each plant gets an equal amount of water and fertilizer.   

“We use a fertilizer and the Edmunds Flood benches so they are all watered equally with an equal amount of fertilizer,” explained senior greenhouse student Juliann Noyd. “The ones that aren’t on the Edmunds Flood we use just hose water and we use a pump to incorporate fertilizer into that water.” 

The students make sure the plants are strong, healthy and looking good for the Dec. 2 plant sale. There will be a variety of plants, wreaths, and poinsettias.   

“When it’s closer to the plant sale we have a preorder sale online,” said Birkenberger. “People can also get them the day of the plant sale. We have foil to put with the plants. Customers get care tags so they know how to take care of them. I heard a lot of comments that the customers like poinsettias and they last a long time, so I think the kids here do a good job.¨ 

All the wreaths are made by students in all agriculture classes, as well as alumni and staff; plants are prepared by students in their greenhouse classes. The sale itself is set up at the school with student volunteers. 

¨We have [poinsettias] until Dec. 2, and they better be out of there by then,” said Alexa Sweeney, a junior greenhouse student, who expects a great crop of plants and a large turnout. “You should all show up.”

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About the Contributor
Kylieann Craine is a senior and a first-year reporter for the NHS Chief Advocate. She is part of the Woodbury FFA program. Kylieann likes to write about hot topics. Outside of the classroom, Kylieann works with art and creative writing. She has two cats and a dog, and she works with plants.
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