Greenhouse on the Roof

By Halee Bernier (BUSA ’18)

As our fifth week in wintry Montreal came to an end, we escaped the cold during our Friday morning Environmental Earth science class and visited the Concordia Greenhouse. Just a short metro ride away, and located at Montreal’s second-largest English-language university, it is one of the only rooftop greenhouses in Montreal. The greenhouse creates a very warm and relaxing environment making it the perfect place for students to study and work on homework.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a very friendly staff member who allowed us all to sample sunflower sprouts that had been recently harvested. A fellow classmate, Laura Smith, described the sprouts as having a very grass-like and earthy taste, but enjoyable nonetheless. He proceeded to give us a tour throughout the entire greenhouse and explained the different areas and growing procedures throughout.

The first room we entered was filled with nice little benches and tables and almost every seat was taken by a Concordia student relaxing and finishing assignments. There were simple succulents and other green plants that are to be expected in a greenhouse or even your own home. The environment felt very clean and refreshing and the natural light made for the perfect atmosphere to relax and be stress-free. I will definitely keep this location in mind if I ever need a calm work environment to write essays or projects throughout the semester!

My favorite portion of the greenhouse was a room filled with plants being grown through hydroponics. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without using any soil! They are grown in containers with water and nutrients that are required for their development. I thought this was a wonderful method to practice especially in highly populated cities where acceptable farming land is scarce. I was impressed by the variety of plants that were able to grow using this method, including a banana bush!

Another area in the greenhouse was the room where all of the mother plants are kept. Although we were not allowed to fully enter the room, we could easily see the plants through the door and windows. The mother plants are kept in order to continue to have cuttings to propagate new plants. One area of this room had a large pool with goldfish bigger than I have ever seen. Apparently the fish balance nutrients in the water and create fertilizer that can be very beneficial to the growth of the plants. I thought this was an interesting and very sustainable way to fertilize a garden!

The Concordia Greenhouse was an enjoyable experience, and I am happy to be aware that it exists. On a weekly basis they have workshops that are open to the public at a small cost and sometimes even free! There are many opportunities to take advantage of here and several Champlain students are even volunteering weekly at the greenhouse for their final project. I am definitely interested in trying one of the workshops out, because the one thing I have missed since coming to the city is my large collection of house plants I have back home and could not bring with me!

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