Sudbury, Ont., couple sets up backyard dome to extend their gardening season

To become more self-reliant, Jordan and Sofia Tizzard have installed a large geodesic growing dome in their Greater Sudbury, Ont., backyard. 

The dome, which has a diameter of around 5.4 metres, is made of polycarbonate, with a wood frame, and functions as a greenhouse for the couple and their young family.

“We wanted to take steps towards being more resilient, more self-reliant and more independent,” Jordan said.

“A crux of that is having your own food or food sovereignty. The more ability we have to provide ourselves with good, healthy food in a reliable manner, the more free we are to carry our lives out as we see.”

Jordan said the dome allows them to extend the growing season from March until November.

In the summer months, the temperature inside can reach 34 C, and in early spring and late fall, they can get to around 20 C in the dome.

In the dome, they have some large tomato plants, along with some peppers. Earlier in the year, they also grew some Swiss chard and radishes. There’s a fig tree in the centre of the dome, along with some ground cherries.

They have had the dome for approximately a year, and Jordan said it’s been a big learning experience. Sofia’s family is Portuguese and has a lot of gardening experience, which has helped.

“I’ve messed up a lot, but I’ve learned a lot,” he said.

Some tomato and pepper plants inside a dome.
The Tizzard family grows tomatoes and peppers inside a dome they installed in their backyard. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

To document their experience with the dome, Sofia said they started a podcast. That has also helped them connect with other gardeners in the region.

“We have really built a community,” she said.

Sofia said the dome garden also presents a learning opportunity for their children.

“I think it’s important we bring our kids out to the garden as much as we can and have them see what we’re doing, and have them do things, as well,” she said.

“And I think that’ll teach them the importance of it, just like I learned from my parents.”

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