Teacher starts classroom garden

Free Tomatoes distributed to staff


Lucy Zumbrunnen

When senior Ethan Hoeschen began as a teacher’s assistant for Al Wachutka his sophomore year, he was assigned with the task of growing and taking care of tomatoes.

“I’m not sure if (Wachutka) was growing tomatoes before I started as teacher assistant, but I started my sophomore year. He had me plant a few pallets of tomatoes, grow them and then transplant them into pots,” Hoeschen said.

After the tomatoes were distributed into pots, they are free for teachers to take, according to Hoeschen.

“We give them away within that last few weeks of school, so about right now during the year and the next year he had me do the same thing,” Hoeschen said.

With an impressive amount of plants grown this year, Hoeschen said there was a wider variety to choose from, which allows for more to be taken as teachers can pick and choose different types.

“This year we grew about 250 individual plants with some other types of plants as well including cucumbers,” Hoeschen said.

Wachutka said he was confronted with the idea when he was left with excess seeds.

“I ordered some seeds for myself and I liked so many of the varieties I picked up 10 to 12. And when they send you seeds they don’t send you five, they send you 30,” Wachutka said.

Instead of discarding the extra seeds, Wachutka put them to use and planted more plants to give to teachers.

“I planted all of them, and it was more then I needed because I only needed about twenty. So I kept what I needed and gave the rest away.”

When Watchutka received a positive response from teachers regarding the plants he decided to continue giving them away in future years.

“People liked it so much I decided to do it again this year,” Wachutka said.

Sophomore Grace Shultz, a teacher assistant for Patrick Hartman said she also helped out.

“I just helped move the plants to the right tables and sorted them by type,” Schultz said.

Since the plants were always located in Patrick Hatmans room it was something she had to work around during class time.

“Since I usually work in the back it was just something I had to work around, it became less crowded once teachers came in,” Shultz said.