Planting a seed: OHE Spring Garden and Lawn class promotes education, next generation of gardeners

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It was standing room only as Orange Hill Express (OHE) in Chipley hosted its annual Spring Garden and Lawn Class Saturday, Feb. 17.

OHE partnered with VPG Fertilome Hi-Yield representative Ben Teer and Jordan Capp of Fox Farm to hold the free event, geared toward teaching participants how to be more successful in gardening, whether they’re growing ornamental or food-producing plants.

Store owners Larry and Ramona Hill frequently hold educational workshops to not only help patrons have better results in their farming endeavors, but also to help foster and inspire the next generation of farmers and gardeners.

Jordan Capps of Fox Farm teaches Eli Rapps how to pot a marigold plant. Capps was one of the educators to speak during the Orange Hill Express Spring Garden and Lawn Class. [CAROL KENT | The News]

“People ask us all the time why we do our classes for free,” said Sherry Bass, OHE store manager. “We would rather educate our consumers than just sell them something. We want them to not only understand what they’re buying but to also understand the benefits.”

Capps and Teer agree that consumer education is key.

“It’s all about giving the end user confidence,” said Capps. “We hear things like, ‘I buy all my plants from the store because I kill all my plants’ when it’s really just a couple simple mistakes like overwatering or not having the right light is what’s making the difference. I love seeing the lightbulb go off as people learn, love to see that moment when they think, “Maybe I can do this.” You may think you have a black thumb, but there’s often really just one little tweak you need to make, and I love that our products help with that.”

Silas and Layla Henline try their hand at potting marigolds. [CAROL KENT | The News]

“Education is incredibly important,” echoed Teer. “It gives the homeowner confidence to use the products and apply the proper protocol to be more successful in whatever they’re doing. The goal is not to have a customer but rather to have an educated consumer.”

Participants got some hands-on gardening experience, thanks to a donation from Bonnie Plants that allowed everyone to take home a free marigold.

In addition to the free plants, OHE also gave away door prizes, and participants each took home 12-quart bags of Ocean Forest Soil donated by Fox Farms as well as calcium nitrate, tomato and pepper set spray, and yield booster donated by VPG.

Ben Teer of VPG helps educate consumers on how to have the most success from their gardening endeavors. [CAROL KENT | The News]

OHE will host another free class during the Purina Chick Day event on March 18, when Purina representative Rebecca Weeks will be on hand to teach about raising chicks, general poultry care, and more. For more information on this and other free classes, call 850-638-9505.

It was standing room only as about 100 individuals were in attendance of the annual Spring Garden and Lawn Class, hosted Saturday, Feb. 17, by Orange Hill Express.  [CAROL KENT | The News]