BCHS greenhouse

Macayla Ballard, a Barren County High School senior, picks dead leaves off ferns that are being grown in the school's greenhouse.

GLASGOW — Barren County High School will soon be getting a second greenhouse. The Barren County Board of Education approved a bid at its Oct. 17 meeting to purchase materials to build it, but not for labor.

“We are looking at partnering with maintenance and a partial outsource of some labor,” said Bo Matthews, superintendent of Barren County schools. “The savings will reduce the project costs.”

He added that he will know more about construction timelines later this week.

The second greenhouse will be constructed adjacent to the existing one that is behind the school.

“The plan is they are going to join,” said Andy Moore, agriculture teacher at BCHS.

The greenhouses will be connected by a sliding access door.

“It will be like one building but in the greenhouse world you need thermostat control. You need environmental control,” he said. “By doing the sliding door it allows us the option of still having the two separate greenhouses, but in certain times of the year the door may remain open.”

Moore said he couldn't share a lot of information on the types of plants will be grown in the new greenhouse because “timing is everything.”

“We've got to get it built. We've got to see where we are in the school year. We're about a month away from starting the process for the spring sales, so what I've done is I've purchased our seed with the idea that there may be a second greenhouse,” he said.

The seed won't go to waste. Moore says it can be used a later date if needed.

Having a second greenhouse will allow the BCHS agriculture department to grow more hanging baskets, because of there popularity.

“We feel like what we are already doing with the ferns and other hanging baskets we have a good demand on those, and the biggest thing it's going to allow us to do is not necessarily quantity difference as a quality difference,” he said.

There is a problem with the quality of plants produced in the existing greenhouse due to a lack of space.

“We pile on top of each other. We are seeding and the seeding trays are really taking up space that the transplant trays should be in. We can grow the same types of stuff, but we can do it better. We could maybe have them started sooner. It's a lot of 'what ifs,'” Moore said.

Having a second greenhouse will also allow the school to do hydroponics and aquaponics or aquaculture, and still maintain its spring sales.

“Our spring greenhouse sales are what fund the whole horticulture part of our program, so if we lose that then we are losing that part of our program. That's what we want to protect,” Moore said.

He continued it would be nice to add the technology and research to it.

“I think ultimately we want to be able to do what we are doing and maybe diversify it a little bit,” he said.

When the new greenhouse is constructed, an area near the front will be dedicated to sales.

“On our end, on the teaching side, that is a big component of these greenhouse classes,” Moore said.

The students study the sales and marketing aspect of operating a greenhouse at the end of the semester, and Moore said he thinks the agriculture department can do a better better teaching it by having a counter that would serve more as a retail sales area.

In May, Cargill Inc. donated $3,000 toward the construction of the second greenhouse. The second greenhouse is estimated to cost around $80,000.

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