Colorado Gardeners Dream Come True
Robyn & Martin Schulze purchased their property in Chromo, Colorado, many years ago, with a dream to move away from Longmont, Colorado, upon retirement. They first heard of Growing Spaces on one of their many weekend trips to the new property. At the time, Robyn was doing her best to tend an outdoor garden in Longmont where the weather was wild, and the winds were strong. She knew that someday she would have her very own Growing Dome Greenhouse.
Today, almost 30 years later, Robyn and her husband Martin live the retired life with a 26′ Growing Dome. Prior to investing in the Growing Dome, Robyn purchased a small 10×17 German hobby greenhouse for her home in Longmont. Although she could grow hardy greens through the year and the greenhouse did okay, Robyn said, “The dome is a big step up. Yes, it was a big investment at the time, but I knew it was going to last a long time, and with a bonus of looking beautiful.”
As a result, she is able to grow so many more fruits and vegetables than she was with the less expensive greenhouse.
Getting Inspiration From the Growing Dome Community
Like many other Growing Dome owners, Robyn was able to tour several Growing Spaces greenhouses in her area. She believes the Growing Dome “has the potential to be a real work of art.”
Robyn got the inspiration for their raised beds from fellow Dome Owners Jim and Linda Smith. Besides the raised bed designs, she was enticed by custom-built greenhouse trellis’ and seating areas from our Growing Spaces photo gallery.
With the help of her husband, an experienced engineer, they have been working diligently to bring her vision to life. Everything from the Douglas fir raised beds to a beautiful redwood trellis. To a deck above one-quarter of the pond tank to provide a space for plants along with an upcoming water feature, as shown in the pictures below.
What is Growing In Robyn’s Garden?
As of 2021, Robyn has officially had one full year of gardening in her Growing Dome. In that time, she has learned a lot about the different microclimates created within the greenhouse. She said that “there is a learning curve, but there are also a lot of opportunities when it comes to what you can plant. I spent most of my first year just figuring out what works where and what doesn’t work at all.”
Much of what she has learned came from Greenhouse Gardener Companion, a book by Shane Smith.
Seed Saving and Sharing
Robyn has been very successful in growing an artichoke, cotton, Israeli melons, and many different greens, but the thing that impressed us the most is her heirloom tomatoes. The seeds themselves have been passed down for almost 80 years. Robyn has been practicing the innate art of seed saving since she was gifted the seeds from her late mother, who received the seeds from her mother, and so on.
With Lyman McDonald’s help, a fellow Growing Dome Owner that Robyn met through our Facebook group and whom she shared seeds with, they believed to have identified the seeds as German Pink Tomato although nothing is certain. Robyn stated she would be happy to send seeds to anyone who is interested in growing these heirloom tomatoes. All you have to do is connect with her via Facebook along with mailing her a pre-addressed envelope.
After watching Claudia Stover’s Pond Gardening 101 class on our Youtube channel, Robyn was inspired to get into water gardening. “The pond has so much potential, and I have a really big vision for it, starting with the lotus seeds I have recently purchased.”
Robyn is also planting table grapes, kiwi vines, and a climbing annual for her new trellis. “It might end up looking like a jungle inside, but I just love the idea of it.”
Advice to Greenhouse Gardeners
If you are new to greenhouse gardening, Robyn would like to share a bit of advice.
1. “Do your best to avoid adding plants you didn’t start yourself from seen as they are more likely to bring in outside pests. If you must, do your best to inspect, quarantine and treat the plant before putting it in your garden.”
2. “Try as many things as you can and don’t get frustrated when some things don’t work out. Everyone’s dome is going to be different.”
3. “It can be tempting to overwater your plants. Don’t do it!” You can use the moisture meter that comes with your Growing Dome kit. For more advice on when to water, see our Soil Testing Video.
If you are interested in learning more about Robyn’s greenhouse or Growing Domes in general, we highly recommend connecting with Growing Dome Owners in our Facebook group.
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.