by Katherine Agnello
TRINIDAD — We can only spend so much time on the internet, pursuing COVID-19 memes, before we’re forced to find a new hobby. Carol Bazanele, the owner of Trinidad Greenhouse, has a great option for you to try: gardening!
“Gardening grounds you. It helps you find joy and happiness,” Carol explains.
During World War II, a Japanese internment camp existed in southern Colorado, outside the small town of Granada, known as Camp Amache. The Trinidad Greenhouse has been in business since the 1940s, when a displaced Japanese family from California opened a greenhouse here in Trinidad and became a flourishing business. Carol worked there during her high school years in 1977, after which her family bought the business in 1982. They have a seasonal garden center, where they grow plants from seeds, cuttings, and other specialty growers.
They also have a full service floral shop and are still providing a limited floral service. They use cold frames for slow-growing perennials, meaning they’re protected from the elements while still being outside. They begin sowing seeds around Christmastime. Right now, they are in the midst of transplanting seed-sprouted vegetables. The greenhouse grows and transplants thirty different types of peppers, twenty-five different types of tomatoes, artichokes, and regional favorites such as basil and oregano. Later in the season, about six weeks before they open, the greenhouse will do direct sowing for fast-growing plants like beans, peas, corn, and lettuce. They also offer petunias and other bright flowers for growing in windowsill planters, hanging baskets, or color bowls. “You can’t eat them, but they sure make you happy,” Carol says. She’s sold a great deal of house plants over the past two weeks.
It’s too early in the season to reliably grow plants– they tend to freeze– so the greenhouse currently sells planters, soil, and pots. They offer curbside pickup if you call ahead from your car. They will usually open for plant-based business between the end of April and the middle of May. They recommend refraining from planting until the final freeze is done, generally between May 7 and 11. There’s a “legend” for local farmers: when the snow is gone from Fisher’s Peak, it’s safe to start planting. Carol says this holds true, but it’s sometimes difficult to tell with the peak’s burn scar. It certainly isn’t time to plant yet, but you can start planning your garden. Turn over the soil, make your beds, research what you want to plant and make sure it can grow well here. Make sure it’s a variety you’re interested in eating!
“[In the end,] it’s so cool to realize that this came from your dirt and water,” Carol says.