Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Mike Tinus.

For three decades, the 57-year-old had been a music teacher at the regional high school, but during that time he and his family have always had their hands in the dirt.

“I have two brothers, and we have garlic wars over who can plant the most,” he said in a recent interview with the Gazette. “My younger brother planted 525 this year; there’s something wrong with him.”

Last month, Mr. Tinus turned his hobby into a career, taking over management of the Community Greenhouse of Martha’s Vineyard.

Formerly known as the Community Solar Greenhouse, or ComgSog, the nonprofit has been teaching people about planting since the 1980s. — Ray Ewing

“It’s a different passion,” Mr. Tinus said Monday, the day after the greenhouse’s first big annual plant sale.

For a vegetable man, it’s a good place to be. Founded in 1983 as a nonprofit, the Oak Bluffs organization, formerly the Community Solar Greenhouse or ComSog, is almost fully volunteer run, with Mr. Tinus as the only paid employee.

Its mission is multiple, to grow healthy food and cultivate community; members can purchase discounted plants and harvest veggies all year long.

“A lot of people consider coming to the greenhouse to be therapy,” said volunteer Cynthia Redshaw. “They just love getting their hands in the soil.”

During a stroll through the greenhouse on Monday, Mr. Tinus, carrying a dusty and cracked mug of coffee, would often stop, squat down and examine plants that had been underwatered or were looking worse for wear.

“You’ve got to survey the whole situation,” he said.

Though its big plant sale is over, and the major fundraiser for the year is complete, the work is not done. It never seems to be. Soon seedlings will be cleared and tomatoes will be planted in soil beds.

Even in the depths of winter, there is life in the greenhouse, with hearty greens to pick.

“I come here at nine o’clock or 10 o’clock and all of a sudden it’s three o’clock and didn’t have lunch,” he said. “Time doesn’t exist here, I guess.”

The greenhouse is run almost entirely with the help of volunteers like Mark Halperin, pictured here. — Ray Ewing

In the long term, too, there is work to be done, including a need to replace the greenhouse fabric. Volunteers such as Sarah Safford, Sara Barnes and Toni Kaufman are all critical to the organization.

Making sure volunteer efforts are put to good use can be a challenge, especially from those less experienced, Mr. Tinus said. But it can be a transition back to his old life as an educator.

“They don’t always know…so there is definitely a teaching aspect, which I’m familiar with,” he said.

Mr. Tinus isn’t exactly undaunted by the position, but he is prepared. Plus, he added, some of the volunteers bring him chocolate.

“It’s a real community-based thing,” he said. “I feel at home here.”