May 14, 2012

New Greenhouse Business Opens in Sanford, Colorado

Paul is instructing volunteers on how to install a drip irrigation system

Paul loves to educate and will give you tips and instructions for keeping your plants alive and thriving.

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden...But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."   This quote by our third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, sums up how Paul Niebel feels about his love of gardening after a varied and interesting career.  Paul has been living in the San Luis Valley for about 18 years and in his retirement, decided to turn his hobby into a small business.  He officially opened Kirby House Agro, LLC and just completed the Leading Edge business seminar.  He also used the services of the other business counselors at the Small Business Development Center.  “What I liked most about the classes was that it stimulated my movement forward and provided tools and ideas to better organize and run my business.” His greenhouse is behind the historic Kirby House, a well-known Sanford icon.  In fact, his brother-in-law’s grandparents were the Kirbys and many folks around here remember them fondly.

At Kirby House Agro, you can purchase drip irrigation systems, flowers (both annual and perennial), vegetable seeds, and starters.  He grows everything from seed and only sells what will grow in the dry, alpine climate.  He is not out to compete with other green houses, but to work in collaboration.  His philosophy is two-fold: (1) Have fun and (2) Educate others.  You can purchase some of his products at the Valley Food Co-Op, the GreenSpot and Circle K.  He has recently taught some educational gardening and drip irrigation classes in conjunction with the Alamosa Community Garden organization.
Paul is a Vietnam Veteran who has worked professionally as a nurse, EMT, potato inspector, and outdoor wildlife instructor.  He is married to Delores, who will be retiring from 28 years of teaching and is a native to the area.  They met while attending a dance (Delores impressed him with her waltzing).  His bachelor’s degree is from UNM, Albuquerque in history and archeology, so if you have time, he can also tell you about some of the heritage plants and the story of what makes them special, rare, beautiful and interesting.  He sells the dry bean called the “Manassa Martin,” which was brought to the Valley by the early Mormon Pioneers.
The picture of the plant is the Black Prince Snap Dragon, a very hard to find “heirloom” flower.
The greenhouse is open Mon-Sat, 10:00-6:00 or you can contact Paul on his cell phone at (719) 298-0106.

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