Stories From Growing Domes Across the Globe
Matt & Christie’s New Mexico Mountain Greenhouse is growing beautiful tropical flowers year-round
If you are an avid user of the Growing Spaces Facebook Group “Growing Dome Enthusiasts”, then you are no doubt familiar with our December Growing Dome of the Month owner, Matt Larson. He often posts pictures of his extraordinary flowers in his 33′ Growing Dome Geodesic Greenhouse.
With limited cell service just outside the Capitan Mountains, we got a hold of Matt just in time to tell his story. He wanted to make sure that everyone reading his story knew there is more to southern New Mexico than the desert landscape. Matt’s dome sits at just over 7,000 feet. In a given year, they can experience temperatures from 100+ to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
How has a Growing Dome affected their lives?
Matt has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Especially when cooped up indoors. During the 17 years he worked as a ski instructor at Ski Apache, Matt had no problem keeping his SAD at bay. It wasn’t until he retired that he realized he needed a new escape.
In 2016 on his way back from visiting a friend of a friend’s 18′ Growing Dome in Gunnison, Colorado, Matt and his wife Christie stopped in Pagosa Springs to purchase their very own dome greenhouse. Since then, the greenhouse has allowed Matt to pick himself up when his SAD weighs him down. It enables him to enjoy the warmth of the geodesic greenhouse, savor the growth of his beautiful flowers, and stay active outdoors even when it is cold and gray in the winter months.
What makes their greenhouse special?
Matt built his greenhouse himself with our 33′ Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Kit. As a savvy builder tends to do, he added some modifications to his Dome to make it work best in his environment for both his gardening and therapy needs.
As you can see from the image, Matt’s Dome is below grade, meaning part of it is actually below ground. He has a 2′ concrete block insulated stem wall completely encompassed by soil and outside beds. He believes that this helps insulate the dome a little better. It also has the added benefit of rain running off into the outer beds. He also built a custom entryway that acts as an air lock going in and out of the dome, and allows for additional space for storage and starts.
What are they Growing?
Their Growing Dome is more for enjoying than it is for producing. Although they have grown things like fresh citrus, peppers, carrots, beets, and tomatoes, they love being in their dome and enjoying the beautiful flowers and foliage. Matt is famous on our facebook page for the many flowers he grows in his greenhouse. Especially his tropical flowers like Birds of Paradise, Cape Jasmine, Thanksgiving Cactus, Hibiscus and Plumeria (not pictured).
Interested in visiting their greenhouse?
Matt wants anyone considering a Growing Dome to see one in person. He “loves the damn thing” and wants everyone to see why. If you live in New Mexico and would like to take Matt up on his offer, send an email to [email protected].
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 a New Mexico greenhouse? Send us an email to [email protected].