Sean Mary Helen Johnson is an incredibly gifted artist and delightful person (cactusflowerstudio.com) who lives in Santa Fe, NM. One can sense the breadth of her imagination just wandering through her home and multiple gardens. We also share something in common. Both of us have reinvented ourselves from previous careers and have followed our passions.
On October 6, we completed a 12’ x 12’ Mud Hub Greenhouse for Sean. This project spawned a couple of firsts for us, a greenhouse size we hadn’t built before and a new crew to “train”. Andrew and Ezequiel were a joy to work with, as one might surmise from the photos. They are also very competent and talented. We completed the project in the two days it normally takes.
What an honor to have been selected to contribute to this wondrous home.
A recently built Mud Hub Greenhouse stares at significant pueblo history in Black Mesa, which is located above the floodplain of the Rio Grande Valley in northern New Mexico. Ancestors of San Illdefonso Pueblo, famous for their black on black pottery, have farmed in this area for well over 700 years. They arrived after abandoning villages at Mesa Verde and Bandelier because of massive environmental changes.
Black Mesa, an isolated volcanic outcropping high above this flood plain, served as a natural fortress for the Pueblo Revolt against Spanish rule lasting from 1680 to 1694. The successful defense by the pueblos resulted in the restoration of ancient native religious practices.
Bordering San Illdefonso land, in view of this historic site, Richard and Andrea Schmidt of La Mesilla seek refuge of their own in a small way, by introducing healthy organic food to their diet, free of disease and pesticides, without leaving home. In doing so, they join in the agricultural traditions of this region
When land in the valley below an uprising containing at least 55,000 rock carvings came available, Lynn Roeder jumped at the chance to purchase. Mesa Prieta was formed well over 3 million years ago by lava flows and is the largest petroglyph site in New Mexico. The valley, with rich loamy soil, is ideal for growing.
Lynn is a professional grower, among other talents, such as river guiding. Having had other greenhouses, we were flattered she chose ours for growing crops. Here she writes us:
“Seeds are sprouting in the greenhouse: peas, spinach, Asian greens, lettuces, claytonia, herbs, beet greens, leeks, radishes, carrots, and flowers. Gardeners should always inter-plant flowers for the joy they bring as well as the ecological benefits.The first tray of tomatoes spent their first day in the greenhouse yesterday.There’s been lots of wind but I’ve learned to “vent” the mudhub by opening up the north side. At night I use the leftover pieces of bubble wrap from moving here to make little covers for seedlings as the temps go below freezing at night. And I added a small heater/fan. I have zinnias coming up so want to protect them. I also have four corners tied down at night and for wind.
I’m grateful to have the greenhouse and appreciate you getting it done.”
Ready, Set, Grow!
I received a message from a greenhouse prospect in Santa Fe wanting to know how soon I could look at their site. He described the area as steep and tight between a house and guest/work unit. He and his wife preferred a 12 x 20 all-season greenhouse, installed by Mud Hub. I advised that we would need a level site before work could begin.
The following day, a text and photo showed up on my phone of the owner on a bobcat leveling the area. Arriving at their home to check the size of the area, there he was, leveling the ground…..by sight, without the use of instruments.
As we began the project, we checked the level for accuracy and it was almost dead on. An orthopedic surgeon, Lee learned from his builder dad everything from rough grading to finish carpentry.
The site was tight, but it worked. During assembly, soil was delivered. Clearly, Lee and Iris, his wife, were anxious to get going with spring gardening.
As we leave a job-site, I sometimes forget something like a tool or extra component. This time, I forgot to take finish photos. So I returned 4 days later, to take some. As I peered into the doorway, I saw a completely furnished greenhouse with beds filled with soil and plant starts.
Mud Hub completed the installation of a pair of 12 x 20 greenhouses in Mineolia, Texas in August 2018. The owners are commercial aquaponics farmers, who adapted our greenhouses for their own use incorporating a variation of their aquaponics system. The project was successful and significant in that it was the first installation out-of-state for Mud Hub Greenhouses, demonstrating that unit components could be shipped to any site, regardless of location.
In spring 2018, Mud Hub Greenhouses was asked by Westwind Landscaping, of Albuquerque, to provide greenhouse components only & consultation. Westwind wanted to assemble one of our 12 x 20 units themselves for Albuquerque Public School System’s Career Enrichment Center.
We knew this was an imminent direction or step that had to be taken but had no idea how this was going to happen because we have always assembled units ourselves. Now we had to break it down in a format that others could understand and use.
This project prompted the writing of our Assembly Guide, which surprisingly was useful to them. Westwind followed it almost to a ‘t’ and needed very few clarifications. Now we could assist others in constructing Mud Hub Greenhouses and open up an assortment of flexible pricing options.
Mud Hub Greenhouses officially began doing business the day a scale model was displayed on a vendor table at a growers market one Saturday morning in 2017. We weren’t sure about the outcome.
So when people came by & asked what “those little herb garden kits” on the table were going for, we had to explain that they represented something bigger you could stand up in and grow vegetables, thus the challenge of offering something unexpected and new at a farmer’s market.
Yes, the model garnered a lot of interest. But the excitement of being asked to visit several sites after market closing, can’t be described. People were actually interested in purchasing a garden originally just intended for personal use.
We’ve come a long way since assembling the first ones, but that’s another story.