by Leigh Mills
There are over 30 greenhouse domes in Saguache County; most of them are located between Crestone and Villa Grove. I recently talked to a handful of dome owners to get their opinions as to the pros and cons of owning and growing plants in a dome-shaped greenhouse; each person was eager and willing to share information about their domes. I visited three domes of various sizes and at one, I enjoyed eating a fresh fig and received fresh bay laurel leaves to dry and use at home. I also surfed the internet for grow domes and perused the Growing Spaces web site since that’s the business where most, if not all, of the geodesic greenhouses in the area were purchased.
The pros and cons of a geodesic greenhouse are about the same as a well-designed, built, and maintained conventional style passive solar greenhouse. Growing can happen all year round and in the bigger domes, select trees can survive and flourish. The domes come as kits that can be installed by the owner with an extra person or two. For an extra fee, you can have professional help installing your new dome or even have an installation team do all the work. The kits also include several features that make the domes energy efficient while cooling or warming the inside space and can be operated off-the-grid. The co-owner of Growing Spaces has updated some of the design elements over the years to make the materials last longer and increase the venting capacities.
The only drawback to a geodesic growing dome like the ones from Growing Spaces is the cost. There are cheaper greenhouse dome designs out there; however, it looks like they wouldn’t come close to the quality, durability, and growing ability as the domes from Growing Spaces. These dome kits have all the necessary parts and accessories to have a solid, yearround growing space. There are also several ways to upgrade the basic package, such as adding fans, solar powered waterfalls and metal glazing strips. One dome owner I spoke with chose the poured concrete foundation option.
Most gardeners agree that having some sort of structure for growing plants adds to the length of our short gardening season and increases the types of food that can be grown at our altitude. I recommend that anyone interested in a greenhouse read Shane Smith’s Greenhouse Gardner’s Companion, ask folks who have greenhouses what they like and dislike about theirs, surf the internet to see different greenhouse styles, and check out the Growing Spaces website: growingspaces.com
Here at the Heyokah Homestead, we have a small, very plain, low cost, attached greenhouse that suits our purposes. If you have a larger budget and want all the bells and whistles, then a dome from Growing Spaces is something to consider. Pamela Rose and Rodney Volkmar have been installing domes in our area since 2002 and are able to help you install yours.