The Elder’s Dream Greenhouse Garden Getaway
The Elder’s, Jerilyn, Jay, Maddog, and Samantha, got their 33′ Growing Dome with the hopes of generating enough food for themselves and others in the community. In just a year, their Dome has become so much more than a year-round gardening space. The Dome has acted as a getaway location for the entire family during the pandemic. Jerilyn called the expanse “the perfect place to slow down and veg out.” It is truly their dream greenhouse garden getaway.
Jerilyn describes herself as a “beginner greenhouse gardener.” Before the installation of their Growing Dome, the Elder family grew out of a small hoop house garden in their yard, and that was the extent of their growing experience. In preparation, Jerilyn took a greenhouse management class through Colorado State University.
Planning their Dream Greenhouse
Here at Growing Spaces, we have always told potential customers and new Growing Dome owners to dream big and create a space that is unique to them and their needs. That is is precisely what Jerilyn accomplished with their dream greenhouse. When I asked her how she did it, she said it was all in the planning and preparation. They started by taking a personal tour of the Domes in Pagosa Springs, then did “A LOT of pinning on Pinterest, and used the Growing Spaces website to look at images of other raised beds designs. As a visual person, it was so helpful to have an extensive gallery of pictures for ideas.”
“There were so many gorgeous unique raised bed designs to chose from,” but in the end, she had to go with what would work best for them. So, they opted to have Growing Spaces build a large bed in the center of their greenhouse and an outer bed along the south wall. (Contact us to see if raised bed installation is available in your area.) The beds were built with our naturally treated wood and lined with metal sheeting that acts as a vapor barrier. Opting for a more straightforward bed design left room for her to bring in two 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 foot racks and grow lights for growing microgreens. The shelves also act as a separate work station. “The work area is so helpful. It seems to be something a lot of people forget when planning their Domes.”
Customizing their Garden Space
In addition to the raised beds installed by our team here at Growing Spaces, Jerilyn and Jay also have made a few customizations to their greenhouse garden to make it a dreamy space. The additions include a custom raised deck above the pond, a water line, a screen door, and electricity that is used to the power a bamboo ceiling fan (purchased at Home Depot) and microgreen grow lights. Jerilyn’s Facebook posts showing her and her family relaxing on the deck above the pond have been truly an inspiration for so many of our customers. Thank you, Jerilyn!
How has their Greenhouse Grown
At the beginning of their journey, Jerilyn struggled to get a good understanding of the pond, but she has managed to become somewhat of an expert since then. They now have floating water plants, two water features, and a heavy-duty aeration system that supports the life of their many koi fish that have become something like the family pets. Pro tip from Jerilyn “If you add an aeration system, remember to mount it above the bottom of your tank to decrease moving around debris, thus keeping your pond clearer.”
Since having the Dome installed by the Growing Spaces crew in July of 2019, in the backyard of their home in Elizabeth, CO, they have grown swiss chard, carrots, cucumbers, onions, plenty of herbs (especially basil), even some okra. Jerilyn said you can taste the difference in produce bought from the store vs. grown in the Dome. As they continue to improve their greenhouse gardening skills, they would like to produce enough food to share with their community in some sort of CSA donation box.
Advice to Future Dome Owners
“The best way to get ideas and plan your dream garden is to ask other Dome owners what they would have done differently.” The best place to do that is the Growing Dome Owners group. (This group is exclusive to owners and was created as a communal space for Dome gardeners to share advice.) If you haven’t bought a Dome but want to gather ideas, check out the Growing Dome Enthusiasts group instead. Oh, and “get the biggest one you can.”
You can find all of our Featured Growing Dome’s highlighted in our monthly newsletter “The Happy Grower,” on our social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), and in our blog. At the end of the year, we create an annual calendar that includes every Dome of the Month. We send them to all Dome of the Month participants, along with a gift of Growing Spaces gardening goodies! Apply here. Have questions about a high altitude gardening? Send us an email to [email protected]