Gossip and Greens

19 Jan

We have a very small, but efficient greenhouse down here.  It’s run by one of the Galley staff, Karen Harvey.  She’s this really cool women that has all green hands, not just a green thumb! 

Another way that I have been involving myself in the community is volunteering at the greenhouse about once a week.  I do a vareity of things while I am there; harvest, plant, etc. and one of the best parts is to get the chance to chat/gossip with Karen.  It’s not really gossip, it’s just being an informed community member.  This is her fourth year and she’s got great stories and advice.  We talk about work, friends, boys, life, love, the pursuit of happiness, and much, much more.  It’s almost a type of therapy for me (and I think for her too!) 

I have made it my routine to visit the greenhouse about once per week to catch up with Karen as well as play around with some greens.  While there, I have harvested and planted lettuces (arugala, butterhead, swiss chard), harvested and planted herbs like dill, cilantro, curly and flat leaf parsley, basil and lemon basil and generally helped Karen maintain the green house.  The greenhouse is hydroponic meaning that it uses water to grow plants rather than soil.  There are special lamps used to simulate the sun and special nutrients added to the water when it doesn’t have the proper balance for growth. 

The products of the greenhouse are used every week in the kitchen in a vareity of ways.  The lettuces are used for salad during dinner.  The herbs are used by all in the kitchen from the bakery using fresh edible flowers or mint for garnishing to the cooks using fresh sage or basil in an Italian dish.  It’s a nice touch to add these things.  The community really appreciates all the efforts that are put into the greenhouse.  It initially started as a project by an employee about 20 years back and slowly grew and developed into this amazing place that people will go to volunteer, relax on a hammock, or just take in some fake sun.

Imagine the cold weather of the Colorado mountains in the dead of winter and then going into this warm, sunny, moist little hut.  It’s a pleasure to visit the greenhouse and a great opportunity to learn about gardening down here.  It’s inspired me to do more gardening when I return to Colorado.  Maybe I can create my own little hydroponic garden?

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