Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Greenhouse gives full service to gardening community

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Junior agribusiness horticulture and plant science major Jesse Summers arranges plants for display at the Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse in Cape Girardeau on May 1, 2020.
Photo by Brooke Holford

The Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse has seen a spike in new gardeners as many look for activities to do from within their homes.

The greenhouse is an on-campus facility, and the largest student-run production/commercial greenhouse in the country.

At the campus greenhouse, employees grow plants to a finished growing size and sell them to the community.

Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse Manager Melissa LaPlant said the greenhouse shut down in March when the university closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed the growth of vegetables.

The greenhouse opened back up on Monday, April 30, With the help of student workers who assisted LaPlant in getting the greenhouse backup and running for the community gardeners.

“Plants are considered a type of therapy and since people are stuck at home, the best thing for them to do is to garden,” LaPlant said. “Gardening has increased, and we have more gardeners this year than we have ever had before.”

The campus greenhouse was able to reopen earlier because they are an “essential business,” LaPlant said, noting they grow and sell food.

Indoor plants in the process of growing at the Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse in Cape Girardeau on May 1, 2020.
Photo by Brooke Holford

The greenhouse allows students from Southeast majoring in plant science to get hands-on experience.

Student workers are able to get acclimated with different types of plants and how to properly care for them by learning what each plant name is and how much water each plant needs.

Southeast junior Nick Thole said the student workers help take care of plants and customers, water plants, fertilize and transplant plants into a pot.

“It is a very great experience,” Thole said. “I have learned customer relations and I get first-hand experience working in a greenhouse and it helps me learn different plant names because I am working with them constantly.”

Southeast senior Jesse Summers said he has learned a lot about greenhouse operations, which is a function the greenhouse uses for their computer systems on heating, cooling and control.

Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse provides it’s services all year long to the Cape Girardeau community. The greenhouse is located at 1112 Bertling St. in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.