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How Green is my Greenhouse?

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GREEN : A WAY OF LIFE

I grew up in Vermont where my parents never bought anything really expensive. They were frugal Vermonters and abhorred debt, buying things used when possible. Often finding castoffs by others that were free, our home was filled with things reclaimed before the trends of green was top of mind.

My parents home was filled with beautiful wool carpets that came from Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC - simply because my father asked them how often they changed the hotel carpet. The conversation lead to huge rolls of carpet being picked up at the train depot by me and my father. My parents had no idea we were being green.

Before Robrick Nursery came into being, my wife and I had very little money. My primary work was training dogs. Needing to eat, we grew a garden which supplied 90% of our food, using mainly organic inputs because this sort of material was available — cheaply or for free. A frugal way of life passed down from my parents. 

When we stumbled upon the Robrick Nursery property it came with a mobile home, however we soon realized this was not a suitable space for us to live in. Instead we constructed a Chiquee similar to those lived in by the Seminoles. We collected thousands of palm fronds and built a thick thatched roof that protected us from the elements. We found cypress hearts near our back pond left behind by a logging operation long ago which supported our new home without the need of being pressure treated. 

For several years we enjoyed the adventures of life in our thatched hut, but when our daughter was born we knew we needed more space. So we set out to build a better suited shelter for our growing family based on the design concepts of the Chiquee. The shape of our new home was octagonal and the roof high, much like the Chiquee, allowing us to add vents to let heat escape. The walls and roof were thickly insulated with Styrofoam sheets similar to the insulation of palm fronds used on the Chiquee. Our rafters, made of pine, were cut on site included other local lumber as well. And all our windows came from a local VA hospital that was renovated. Inside and out our home was built with salvaged parts…not much was new except for the nails. Because of our savings (both economically and environmentally), we were able to save enough money to start Robrick Nursery.

Robrick Nursery was built much like our home, with local salvaged and repurposed materials.

  • History
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Soil
  • Packaging