The Perpetual Greenhouse Garden

The Ott-Kimm Conservatory is an ecosystem greenhouse that has existed for over 30 years.  The success of the conservatory is based in a fundamental partnership with nature.  The greenhouse functions as a self-sustaining ecosystem.  No fertilizers, pesticides, or anything artificial has ever been introduced, yet the greenhouse is still abundantly productive.  The soil has not been fertilized or amended for more than 30 years.  Nothing except kitchen scraps are brought into the greenhouse, yet it is more productive each year.  This is because the natural cycles are encouraged rather than hampered.  Using rainwater enables demineralization and feeding all the prunings and excess fruit to the soil surface are two of the founding principles of Perpetual Soils.

Peaches, pears, nectarines, apricots, persimmons, figs, pineapple guava and much more are produced in harmony with nature in a harsh zone 4 climate.  Using the earth temperature as a buffer, the greenhouse maintains a zone 8 climate without any heat, fossil fuel, or even electricity.  This nearly triples the growing season from around 120 frost-free days to 300.  Even though outside receives only 13 inches of precipitation, the biome inside effectively receives 40 inches.  This all adds up to a growing space more similar to Portland Oregon than high, dry, and cold Montana.

This workshop will be a guided picture tour through the seasons in the conservatory.  We will illustrate the main principles and techniques of the conservatory, using pictures as aids.  This workshop is intended for everyone, from novice to expert.