DOBSON — Students studying Horticulture at Surry Community College recently visited North Carolina A&T’s University Farm and the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville as a means of enforcing the lessons learned in class.
During the University Farm tour, Horticulture Extension Specialist Dr. Sanjun Gu and Horticulture Extension Associate Randy Fulk guided students throughout many facets of the 492-acre working farm. As students explored the farm, they were exposed to current research and practical applications regarding specialty crop production, high tunnel technologies, and small-scale equipment. Though the tour covered much ground and made many stops, highlights included a section for medicinal herb production under shade cloths, strawberry season extension, and new equipment demonstrations for small-scale growers.
Surry’s Horticulture Instructor Jeff Jones described the goal in visiting the University Farm by saying, “Hopefully, the students’ perspectives on possible endeavors, production techniques, and crop choices were widened, and they were able to see that research can provide information that can minimize trial and error for them as growers.”
At the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, students observed ornamental plant displays and were able to sample a few edible plants such as persimmons, figs, and pomegranates.
“Garden visits like that introduce students to the plethora of plant diversity and allow them to strengthen their plant palates in regards to landscape usage and identification skills,” said Jones.
The Horticulture curriculum at Surry offers many hands-on opportunities for students. Not only do students spend many class hours working in the campus greenhouse, but Jones considers off-campus trips to local farms, gardens, and other similar establishments to be an integral part of providing Horticulture students with the most complete education possible.
In addition to the students’ visit to NC A&T’s University Farm and the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, students enrolled in Horticulture courses in the fall 2017 semester have also visited Sanders Ridge Organic Farm in Boonville, Fair Share Farm in Pfafftown, Borrowed Land Farm in Ararat, and Flora Ridge Farm in Mount Airy.
Jones said, “These trips consistently allow for perspective and allow students to hear from authorities in the field.”
SCC offers a Sustainable Horticulture certificate encompassing the study and practical application of foundational horticultural principles for those interested in pursuing career development in local horticulture industries.
Registration is open for spring 2018 classes. The deadline to register is Dec. 21. Spring classes will begin Jan. 8. For additional information contact Student Services at 336-386-3264 or Horticulture Instructor Jeff Jones at 336-386-3391 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the program on Facebook and Instagram @surryhorticulture.