KPU horticulture brings community together at plant sale
The event marked the end of the spring semester, and a weekly vegetable sale will take place throughout the summer
Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s faculty of science and horticulture rang in the spring season on April 29 with their annual plant sale, attracting over 300 visitors.
Located at the Langley campus greenhouses, customers shopped for a variety of plants including flowers like marigolds and irises, vegetables, fruits, various herbs, shrubs, succulents, handcrafted hanging baskets, and fertilizers.
All plants for sale were grown by KPU horticulture students during their classes, and 100 per cent of the revenue goes back into the programs.
“We start [our planting] mostly from seed, unrooted cuttings, divisions, we do a bunch of bare roots and shoots,” says KPU horticulture instructor Shelley Murley. “At the end of the semester, we have our one big plant sale to get rid of everything.”
Murley says students in the horticulture classes each play a part in growing and caring for the plants.
“[Students] in our general introduction to greenhouse practices [class] learn how to do shifting up, pruning the plants back, watering them, [and] make moss baskets and planters,” she says.
The cedar hanging baskets filled with flower assortments at the sale were created by students in wood construction classes. Those in the landscape design courses also use the plants in mock up demonstrations such as garden designs before being sold, Murley says.
The event was mainly run by student volunteers who are part of science and horticulture programs. KPU horticulture student Sakshi Kashyap was one of the volunteers and got involved with the plant sale through her course work.
“During our classes, we are usually [at the greenhouses] and plant some of the plants here,” Kashyap says.
“We are given instructions by the professor about [plant] protection, pesticides, and taking care of the plants for these [sales],” she says. “When I see so many people in the greenhouses [for the sale], it’s so wonderful.”
Murley says the event is backboned by a strong sense of community as locals come in year after year to support the sale.
“We have really good prices, we have really good quality. We’re not trying to make profits on our products. We’re trying to basically cover our costs and break even,” she says.
The plant sale usually sells out 80 per cent of their products, and all remaining plants from the sale will continue to be sold throughout the next couple of weeks.
The faculty of science and horticulture will also be holding a vegetable sale every Thursday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at the greenhouses until October.
Like the plant sale, all the vegetables are grown and cared for by KPU students. Customers can expect to find lots of tomato, pepper, cucumber, and lettuce varieties for sale, along with monthly seasonal fruits and vegetables like eggplant, beans, peas, spinach, and strawberries.
“Everything is picked fresh, day of harvest. So you get great flavor, it’s got great shelf life, and the prices are really good,” Murley says.
“[Grocery] prices have gone up drastically over the last few years, and I haven’t raised my prices in 15 years because [the vegetables] are a byproduct of our program. I need the plants in order to grow or add [other] plants. So it’s either throw them in a dumpster, or generate some revenue, which is positive for everybody.”
Murley often finds a sense of intrinsic happiness in growing and selling these plants.
“I really like being here with the students and being able to share the knowledge and joy with them,” she says.
“You get to see [students] transform from liking plants but not really knowing anything about them, and [watch] them evolve over their periods of time of being here. It’s lots of fun.”
For more information about KPU’s horticulture programs and upcoming vegetables sales, head to www.kpu.ca/hort.