Horticulture: Elective Review

A review of the horticulture elective for those wondering what it is.

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A lot of 6th-grade students were assigned horticulture to be one of their electives, due to not being able to choose electives in their first year. For those who are about to take it or those who didn’t and want to know what it was about, that is what will be explained in this article.

Horticulture is a one-semester elective about, well, horticulture, the study of gardening. During the course, you will take tests and do garden work to help teach you about gardening and a little biology and help prepare you for later electives that involve horticultural skill or that require some knowledge of biology, similar to how Intro to Computers prepared students for future computer electives. Due to it being one semester you need another one-semester elective approved before you can take horticulture.

The tests in this course are not that hard. Most of them involve a review of what you learned within the past month or week. The first test is a review of all the tools in the tool room, the later tests include a digging test, planting plants in a greenhouse, and a few others I forgot about. The tests are fairly simple and aren’t that hard, just like a test should be if their goal is to test you on anything. This is another reason why I enjoyed this elective in 6th grade, you don’t need to memorize pages of information to pass the test.

The gardening work is mainly about digging, planting, fertilizing, and eventually pruning plants, and most of it takes place in the horticulture yard. There are a few assignments that take place in areas outside the horticulture yard, like the 6th-grade lunch area and the planter boxes outside the PE area. The assignment was to trim the dead branches, but now that a few entire rose bushes died, I don’t think that is an assignment anymore.

This year (and all years after) there are live animals in the horticulture area, who live in their own pen. My class helped prepare the area where the pen was eventually built, so our year obviously didn’t have the animals until the end of the year. During free time or block schedule when there’s nothing to do, you can just dig up worms and feed them to the chickens. It’s not the most fun, but it’s better than sitting in a room doing nothing.

Another thing students learn during this course is how to water plants, use fertilizer, and on what different pests can do to your plants. The lessons are mostly outside and a good introduction to planting plants and how to keep them alive. The course also teaches you how to take branches and twigs from one plant and plant them as a separate plant. Towards the end of the semester, you get to plant a plant and take it home (not recommended if you have a full locker or if PE is after your horticulture period).

Horticulture is a good elective to take before you take Animal Husbandry or Animal Science but is also a good elective if you just want to learn some gardening skills you can use at home, as suggested by the previous horticulture teacher.

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