College horticulture program accounts for 2018 drought in annual plant sale

Sale runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the college's on-campus greenhouse

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
  • This is the college program's fifth annual spring plant sale.
  • Local horticulture program is a partnership between San Juan College and NMSU Cooperative Extension Service.
  • This year's theme is "Cinco de Mayo," and patrons dressed to the theme will receive discount.


San Juan College student Kenneth Trujillo handles a crown of thorns plant with student Wayne Gransky  on Thursday in the college greenhouse.

FARMINGTON — San Juan College’s horticulture program will host its annual Spring Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday in the college’s greenhouse.

The program, which is a collaboration between San Juan College and New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, hosts the sale each spring, according to program instructor and event organizer Kevin Lombard.

Each year, horticulture students care for starts, buds and plants throughout the spring semester, starting with tropical plant propagation in January and seed planting in March. Each spring’s sale allows students in the program to experience the business end of the plant industry, exposing them to marketing to and interacting with customers, Lombard said.

This year’s crop has been customized to this year’s climate too, Lombard said.

“We started seeing the writing in the wall back in December that this year was going to be a pretty bad drought year,” Lombard said, adding that the students planted and will sell more drought-resistant plants than normal.

Saturday’s sale will also include information from NMSU Agriculture Agent Bonnie Hopkins regarding how to successfully garden during a drought. Hopkins said there will be no formal presentation, but she will be available to answer questions.

The event also includes a live DJ, free hot dogs and tours of the horticulture facilities, including the greenhouse, water catchment systems and beehives, according to Lombard.

There are “hundreds” of plants available for sale, with prices ranging from $2 to $30, Lombard said.

The plant sale is a “self-sustaining operation,” Lombard said. The spring sale has typically brought in between $3,000 and $4,000 for the horticulture program since its inception, and proceeds fund program operations and materials for the next year’s sale.

“It’s helped us, over the years, to meet the bottom line,” Lombard said.

This will be the program’s fifth annual sale, and Lombard said anyone dressed to the “Cinco de Mayo” theme in Mexican wrestling masks or sombreros will receive a 50-percent discount.

Lombard said the plants must be sold over the weekend, as the local horticulture program does not offer summer courses.

“My goal is to try to clear out the greenhouse so we don’t have to care for any plants over the summer,” Lombard said.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or