Stories From Growing Domes Across the Globe
Laura & Dwane’s Lush Alaskan Greenhouse Getaway
Novembers’s Dome of the Month features a 22′ growing dome in Wrangell, Alaska. Laura and Dwane decided to purchase their Alaska greenhouse a little over a year and a half ago due to the lack of good quality produce where they live and Laura’s passion for organic gardening.
Wrangell is located on the northern tip of Wrangell Island, an island in the Alaska Panhandle. Their dome is perched right along the Pacific ocean. Because of this, Laura’s dome tends to create its very own micro-climate making gardening quite the adventure.
What are they growing?
Laura is very adventurous with her garden. She called it “the ultimate hobby.” In their first summer, she planted a cabbage that never formed a head but seeded its self and grew the following year. Right now, she is producing all kinds of things such as swiss chard, tomatoes, eggplants, and jalapenos. She even cultivated a potato that was sprouting in her cabinet.
What are the challenges?
In her short time with a Growing Dome, Laura has learned that it is imperative to “try different varieties.” The dome creates a whole new environment with all kinds of possibilities. For instance, she planted pumpkins inside and outside of her dome. The ones on the inside grew to be twice the size as the ones on the outside. Unlike here in Colorado, the breeze from the pacific ocean creates an extraordinarily humid and lush environment inside of her greenhouse, attracting red worms by the hundreds. The humidity makes growing lettuce inside of the dome pretty much impossible. When I asked Laura if anything was growing in her dome that surprised her, she said: “mushrooms, they pop up everywhere, which is crazy because I can’t grow them outside.”
Although the weather in their greenhouse stays a happy 50 degrees all year, Laura and Dwane have not been able to grow in their greenhouse year-round due to the lack of light from October to February. She said, “we are lucky to get one short sunny day a week this time of year” On the bright side, Laura hopes to change this by purchasing grow lights soon.
How has the dome affected their lives?
The small town of Wrangell is a popular tourist destination. Laura and Dwane often have people knocking on their doors and stop them outside to get a tour of their greenhouse. They have had visitors from near and far places like Australia, Germany, and Ukraine.
Aside from the constant visitors, Laura shares her garden oasis and its goodies with her daughter and grandchild. When I asked her what the best part of owning a growing dome is, she said, “No matter the weather outside, it’s beautiful in there! Lush plants, soothing waterfall sounds from the pond, and bountiful produce. These pictures are mid-June, and my plants have already taken over my walkways. I was able to start hanging baskets and flowers for my home and my daughters without interfering with my veggies, and combat the winter Alaska blues by planting my vegetable starts in there in March!”
Show off your greenhouse!
All of our Featured Growing Dome’s are highlighted in our monthly newsletter “The Happy Grower,” on our social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), and in our blog. At the one year mark of our newsletter, we will be creating a yearly calendar that includes every Dome of the Month. Apply here. Have questions about an Alaska greenhouse? Send us an email to [email protected]