The Arka Tech

Students prepare for spring plant sale

Horticulture students are springing into action to prepare for the annual spring plant sale at Arkansas Tech.

Dr. Jim Collins started the sale 32 years ago when he began his career in horticulture at Tech.

“It’s a public relations thing,” Collins said. “We started as an agricultural school. Our department is one of the biggest, and it’s grown.”

At the sale, there will be a variety of plants, including geraniums, marigolds, ferns in hanging baskets and vegetables.

According to Collins, the yellow tomato, Yellow Boy, is a popular sell because of its low acidity. There will also be an assortment of red tomatoes and peppers, including jalapeno, bell and banana. Cost will vary, but according to Collins, buyers from previous years have said the prices beat local department stores.

The plants receive a small portion of chemical spray and will be cared for during the spring break by a paid student worker to ensure all is well in all four greenhouses.

“It’s hard to be organic in a greenhouse situation,” said Collins.

The department would be unable to sell if there were insects on the plants. The houses are fumigated once a month to ensure the safety of the plants.

More than 60 freshmen in Collins’ Principles of Plant Science class seeded the plants in January and will help the day of the sale by directing traffic and parking vehicles.

Currently the greenhouses are behind about two weeks because of cancellations on campus. However, all transplants will be done before spring break. Collins will have 28 students from the Green house management class helping transplant.
“Hands-on is where students learn the most,” Collins said.

The spring plant sale will take place April 10 and 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Red Hill Lane.

For more information, contact Collins by phone at (479) 968-0632 or email him at