I ran across this idea on the Facebook Group "Ag Education Discussion Lab" and had to share it. Brynn Campbell Tinker shared a great new product that your students can create and sell in the greenhouse as part of the spring plant sale.
She calls it an "herb box" but it has a unique twist.
She ordered oval 16'x8'x6" planters, but you can always have your Ag Mechanics students create wooden planters as a class project. The customer selects 3 to 5 herbs to go in their planter from a list of 10 possible herbs. The Plant Science/Horticulture class fills each planter with seeds based on the order and within about 7-8 weeks the herb box is ready to pick up. She plans to charge $20 per box. If the customer holds onto the planter until next year then you'll refill the box for $10 with next year's herb order.
So depending on where your chapter is, you still have a few weeks to get this product organized, orders in, and get the boxes planted. For future years you can save some money on herb stock by asexually propagating the herbs to create your own supply of herbs. That's a money saver and a great project for your Plant Science/Horticulture class. You can even attempt to allow some herbs to go to seed and see if your students can grow new plants from these seeds.
This product is a great idea for several reasons. As I mentioned you have the potential for several lessons for various classes:
Ag Mech project (planter project)
Plant Science/Horticulture class (seed selection & ordering, planting seeds, asexual reproduction, plant management & seed harvesting, & scarification/stratification of seeds)
Ag Business ( product development, marketing, communication)
And you may know more activities. Also, when you send out this flyer to your Spring Plant sale customers 8-10 weeks before your sale, then you've made an additional contact to remind them about your sale. So even if they don't order an herb box, they still are reminded that you are scheduling another plant sale this spring. Be patient and plan on trying this new product for at least 2 or 3 spring plant sales? Why you'll have more than a few customers who will buy in year two that do not buy this year. Mainly because they'll get into summer and suddenly wish they had fresh basil for a recipe, but they didn't buy an herb box from your chapter. I bet they will next spring. Take a look at 10 Ways to Improve Your Greenhouse Plant Sale for other helpful hints.
Take pictures! Then post them to your Chapter Facebook page and your Chapter twitter feed. Let the folks in town see what you are doing without screaming "buy my plants!" Instead caption it with "Planting seeds for our Spring Plant Sale herb boxes" and even tag a customer with "Bob Smith your seeds are planted and will be ready in 7-8 weeks." Stay just a little vague to add some mystery. Then his Facebook friends will ask, "What is that?" and he'll provide a plug for your Plant Sale. Spread the photos out and don't post 85 photos in 1 day, that's just way too much. Post a few each day over a week or two.
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