Student volunteers Hayden Hull, Raul Raul Plancarte, Wendell Vallejo, and Makardi Hatch plant around 200 Roma tomato seeds in the newly revitalized greenhouse at Toledo High School.

An old, abandoned greenhouse is finding new life at Toledo High School.

The school’s greenhouse project is part of a larger plan to cultivate a horticulture program for the Toledo School District, which is spearheaded by community volunteers Deidre and Stephan Dillon. Within the past few weeks, there have been signs of progress at both the high school and elementary school in preparing for the fast-approaching growing season.

Just a few weeks ago, the aging and abandoned greenhouse was covered in weeds, and had no electricity or other necessities for making it functional. Revitalizing the greenhouse began with help from community volunteer Chuck Reynolds, and soon evolved into a collaborative effort between school and community.

Toledo High School agriculture and metal shop teacher John Ball and his students jumped into action to make the project a reality. Shawn McCullough donated his expertise to restore power as students labored to weed, clean, and build the heated grow table. The table was built by student Hayden Hull with the help of other students and woodshop instructor Guy Buswell.

Reynolds is pleased at the level of enthusiasm from students and teachers despite there not being an existing horticulture program at the school. “This is an opportunity for kids to connect with their community as well as learn more about horticulture and where food comes from. This would have never been possible without the support from Mr. Ball and his students. Despite the great progress, we really need to some help and contributions from anyone willing to help,” said Reynolds.

With spring just around the corner, the kids will quickly see the results of their labor.

“If all goes well these plants are only about 6 weeks out before transplant. It appeared to me that the kids yesterday were kind of in aha. I will be interesting to see their faces when they see the plants pop out of the bed. Not that far away,” said Reynolds.

A list of supplies that are needed right away are:

  • More pepper and tomato seeds – preferably popular eating tomatoes such as Early Girl or Better Boy.
  • Roughly 600 4” pots for transplanting
  • Organic Potting Soil
  • Plant Markers – old plastic blinds can be repurposed nicely to make many plant markers.
  • Money – even a little can go a long way when it comes to planting.

If you would like to help out with this the new horticulture program in any way, you can contact Deidra Dillon [email protected] or Chuck Reynolds at [email protected].