Have you thought about your plant plan for the impending colder weather and shorter days? Time to clean, fertilize, move/cover/protect tender plants, & prune/trim for all the plants!
Stop in the shop and see what we are doing to prep for the rainy fall and cold winter months ahead.
Need help with your winter plant preparations? We can help- we dig the dirty plant work! Your place or ours, count on Suburban Succulents to send your plants into Fall refreshed and ready to cozy up with you in the winter months.
Need eggs? We have fresh eggs available for $5 a dozen.
Meet the chickens:
The chicken in the photo is Egg the Stallion- she’s a dark Brahma. She loves to peck at my toes and all-around just likes to hang out with whoever is near her. She is one of the gals that lets me pick her up nearly every day… and *most of the time* she manages to not poop on me in the process! 🙂
We have a surplus of cooking herbs, too!
Want herbs for creating a fresh pasta sauce? Want to make some yummy herb flavored butter to use? How about some herbs for freezing to use later? We have Rosemary, Chives, Basil, Thyme, & Arugula all harvesting now!
If you’re interested in what we have available for sale from our front yard garden, please come by the shop to see the current selection.
With the change of the season’s we will be changing our hours of operations.
Find us open a few less hours per week, but still just as accessible for all your plant-y needs! Contact us should our hours not work with your schedule, we are happy to work with you.
We will be open Friday through Sunday 12-dark.
Still figuring out the rest of the weekdays and holiday schedule. Have suggestions? Let us know!
We’ve had weather in the low & high 40’s… who’s complaining about that?!
So far, there are no complaints about our first winter at the new house. We’ve seen ice, maybe thrice, and no snow, yet! Yeah, it has rained a lot, but I enjoy listening to the sound of it on the roof while I work. Between weather events, we have been able to get the yard and garden more prepared for the coming seasons and have even spotted the Sun a few times! Yipee! On the 5th we received a load of free wood chips to use for the yard and another on the 21st. The yard is now set for mulch for the year. If anyone needs woodchips, bring a shovel, bucket, and a way to get it gone! There is never a dull moment around here.
Our January Garden Update
What we are doing and you might consider too:
Although now is not the time to focus so much on what is growing in the ground, January is the best time to get your plans pulled together for your Spring, Summer, and even Fall gardens. Here’s what we are working through this month:
Create a seed wishlist and go through the backlog of all the seeds to test for viability. We are gathering information as to how much we will use and how much we want to freeze. The public library has many food preservation books that I have been reading through… To sustain one’s family, you need so many bushels of food!
Plan crop rotations and succession plantings. Brett has created a detailed seed catalog that is used as a tool for planning successions and rotations. In some time maybe we will have our schedule fully automated and have simply a reminder of “hey, it’s time to plant x today”.
Pruning back dormant vines, fruit trees, and blueberry bushes. We placed new beds for our berries this year- now for the hard part- choosing a more permanent place to plant them then in a large portable pot.
Layering our dormant beds with compost and other soil amendments (did you see our tips about compost?). We are preparing our beds now to be productive growers in the early spring!
Fill mulched areas around the yard with another layer of mulch. Now is the time to get woodchips, especially in the PNW. We have had two loads of free chips dropped in the last 3 weeks. I want to simply sing the praises of getchipdrop.com and I am thankful for the free mulch, however, there is a slight issue with the contracted companies not following instructions on where to drop the chips in our yard- so simply beware of that.
There are plenty of other things you can do to prepare the garden at this time of year but nothing beats the time spent dreaming about what you will accomplish in the coming year. Let us know what you are adding to your garden to prepare for spring.
Try this to build your compost!
Is your compost lacking body and decomposition? Our was.
We learned about a rapid-fire composting technique that involves Wood pellets (animal bedding) and Alfalfa pellets (animal feed) found at your local feed store. Soak the pellets overnight in water and add it to your compost tumbler, or pile, or heap, or whatever. The wood pellets act as the brown (carbon) where the alfalfa pellets act as the green (nitrogen) in your compost. The more alfalfa you add the faster your pile will heat up, adjust your ratios of either type of pellets depending on your compost.
The benefit of adding alfalfa to your compost in addition to your grass clippings and even coffee grounds is that alfalfa is also a slow-release fertilizer.
What’s growing in the garden?
You can find us currently harvesting small amounts of the following:
Broccoli & its leaves- our bunny loves!
Lettuce starts (inside the workshop)
Which brings us to…
It’s time to plan all the plantings!
Suburban Succulents Happenings
The shop is improving! Each week we try to make an upgrade. Last week we changed out the lighting in our storage space. Now that we are more confident with what is required, we are planning to upgrade the lights throughout the entire shop. We still have to get that pesky door changed out… For those of you who have visited the shop, you know the door I am talking about that is just sitting and blocking the back exit, currently. I can’t wait for the light that will come through that window!
We have finally been feeling the low 20s of winter and as a precaution, the greenhouse has been cleared of tender succulents. We are leaving a few select items in the greenhouse to see what happens mainly Haworthias, Gasterias, and some of our mother plants… we have lost a few soldiers so far, but slowly we are learning which plants can handle the outdoor greenhouse life in the PNW. It’s madness and we love it- I often remind myself that “We grow through what we go through” and next year won’t be this same way.
Butte moved into a shed to keep her dry… She’s not necessarily happier there because she loved to dig in the dirt in the yard, however, she still gets to jump around the yard occasionally and she is staying a lot cleaner!
The Lil chicks are fully integrated with the other hens and are being weaned off their chick feed (we are really just trying to use through the bag that we last bought). It’s a pain in the ass to corral them into their own fenced area to eat their food nowadays. Little fact: Chickens that are laying should not eat medicated chick food as it’s not recommended to eat their eggs because of coccidiosis medication playing some part with the eggs… not medical advice, but we are working through it.
The other day we went to Orchard Feed to get chicken food and other composting pellets; we ended up ordering 7 chicks, four more than we intended to. We love our wide variety of chicken breeds. The unique egg colors & characteristics of each hen are absolutely fascinating! The pleasure that it brings me to watch them waddle around the yard- pure merriment!
Expect lots of spring bulb planters to be available in the coming weeks. We will also have lots of outdoor pots, some empty and others with flowers, to liven up your home!
By June we should be able to offer cage-free, backyard-raised, well-loved chickens eggs! With our flock growing to nearly double the size in just a few weeks, our egg production should be locked into a steady number by May or June. Please let us know if you are interested in getting on our egg list!
Do you want chickens but do not want the work of the chick/pullet phase? Let us know, I’m happy to raise chicks for you and your family.
How about meat birds? If you want fresh chicken, let us know and we will chat about our meat bird plan.
We are definitely still gardening, well, kinda. 🙂 Currently, it’s more quick dashes outside to pull some greens for the animals and to harvest veggies and herbs that we need for our meal rather than planting anything new in the ground. Outside right now, you will find we have lettuce, parsley, kale, chard (barely holding on), carrots, arugula (like crazy), broccoli, and beets (almost gone) that are gracing us with their presence. Back on Halloween, we made 4 new 32 sq ft. garden beds in the yard- there are now 14 garden beds, plans to add 4 more in 2021, and a foolish idea to add cow panels along the entire front of the yard to grow peas which turns into a redesign of how the beds are utilized into the future. December is the time to plan for next season- what are the dream plants to eat next year vs. the reality of what we have space, time, and the climate to grow.
Brett and I have planted our garlic crop for next year and it is already growing! We are both worried that we didn’t plant enough…there is always next year to grow more, but we don’t want to wait that long. We planted a winter-hardy cover crop to keep the beds that are not in production busy over the fall/winter months; planting a cover crop helps with keeping the beds “actively photosynthesizing” and soil being worked by the roots for next seasons use. The beds that we have nothing in now look so sad sitting out there empty… makes us look forward to seeing the ground covered in snow!
Our indoor seedling nursery is FINALLY coming together in a corner of the workshop. I am looking forward to the year that we no longer buy any of our veggies from the store… it’s getting closer.
Topic to Consider: Compost Your Leaves
Do you usually compost your fall leaves or gardening waste? If not, this year is the time to start. You can make a compost pile in almost any space, large or small. All of the leaves in the yard/street/everywhere imaginable are wonderful, not only for jumping in 😉 but also for providing wonderfully nutrient-dense compost for your garden next year. Additionally, you can add your table scraps and any other green waste from your home to recycle the plant matter and provide nutrients to your future gardens.
Our three smallest hens are getting used to being outdoors with the rest of the flock and are living full-time in the coop with their sister fri-hens. Now all 9 are running around and having a good time eating bugs and grass and whatever else they find to devour. I think that only 2 or 3 of the hens are actually laying eggs, given it is winter, egg production is known to slow-down so I am not getting too worried about it yet…but, once mid-spring rolls around if they aren’t all laying, then I’ll be charging rent.
Butte absolutely LOVES being outside right now- her fur coat was made for this life- her white coat, however, was not. *Ya Filthy Animal* haha. She has an entire greenhouse covered area as well as an outdoor exposed space to frolic about that we move every couple weeks… shes loving all the scraps from our veggies with the occasional grain mixed treats and shares how much she loves us by digging holes in the yard for us to trip in. The chickens just think the spaces we’ve filled-in are dust bathing holes, so, I guess, depending on how you look at this, it’s just one big happy farm family… 😐
Suburban Succulents Happenings
The inside of Suburban Succulents is almost finished with the conversion from garage to plant shop! ALMOST! Brett and I are installing the new lights soon- by the end of this month is the goal. The houseplants that are growing in the shop are doing very well but will do even better once there is more energy-efficient lighting for them to thrive under.
We’ve finished the touch-up painting and accent wall, mounted the pipe shelving, hung our Diane Madaras calendar art, and now the space really looks like a real shop. Next, we mount the room dividing curtains, which will provide a better aesthetic to the shop that is conveniently shared with the laundry room, and then we replace the backdoor… an infinite work in progress it seems…but there IS progress.
All of the Succulents & Cactus and Orchids are happily growing in the greenhouse- they made it through the first early freeze at the end of October using only 4 sheets precariously hanging from the walls of the greenhouse to protect the babies. I’ll be insulating the bottom of the house with bags filled with leaves (yes, we are the “crazy” people who ask their neighbors for their leaves) and from there we are gonna see what mother nature has in store for us. I’m sure there will be an update of some additional attempts made at freeze-proofing the greenhouse. We’ve mentioned bubble-wrap and it’s not ruled out by any account. 😉
A quick thank you to all of those who continue to support us on this journey of owning and operating our small-scale nursery and eventual farm. We can’t wait for the changes and growth that 2021 promises and being able to share it with all of you. Happy holidays, take care and be safe, Everyone!
And just like that, we are a month into Fall 2020. I was just informed that we are expecting our first below-freezing night next week. AH! Time to stop watering and start to monitor closely those tender succulents and cactus, Folks! It’s been a while since the last post, so read on to find out where Suburban Succulents is now.
Slowly filling the new greenhouse
October 2020 is going to mark an important milestone for Suburban Succulents in the coming years- It’s the month I took a giant leap; put my notice in at my full-time, stable-income job to focus my efforts fully on Suburban Succulents. It has been many hours of work to prepare mentally and physically to get our shop space ready to invite customers into- and we are almost there! We even have regular open hours on the weekends.
Now that I have gained 50 hours in my week, I’ve been able to get to more on my Trello to-do lists done… the lists are actually getting checked off instead of only adding to! Currently, the plants are flourishing and our collection is growing like crazy. We are working with several local artists to offer unique gifts as well! I’ll post their information on a vendor page on our website soon. My concept of running a plant & gift shop is coming to life and it feels like the perfect time.
Cactus seeds have been started in the workshop, succulents have been propagated in the nursery, houseplant starts are growing too, plans are being made to keep the greenhouse warm this winter, the chickens are now laying eggs, and the ground of the trash piles that we inherited at the house is in sight- almost 10 months later, we have made tremendous progress!!
With winter hanging its cold head over us- we are getting serious about our winterizing plans for this year. Every other year we’ve lived in WA State we have suffered a loss of some inventory due to freezing. I am trying everything (bar bringing every single plant inside) to keep all succulents & cactus alive this year. I have read about using bubble wrap- I think I have enough in storage to wrap the entire greenhouse- if it comes to it, so be it!! 🙂 We have completed our last watering and will only spot water the hardy cacti and succulents from now until Spring.
Adriane feeding some of the chickens an ear of corn we grew!
I am absolutely loving the chickens. In my opinion, they are the best “back-yard pet” ever. They provide us amazing eggs and they are cute as all get out- if we had less space though, I am sure I’d feel differently- dodging all the shit piles is a challenge but certainly keeps life interesting!
We are raising another three chicks that will be added to the rest of the flock in another 2 months or so- currently, they are living in the workshop under their heat lamp and seem overly excited to get out of there. It’s too soon, ladies!! 😉 I take them outside occasionally to see their sister-hens from a distance. I think it is important to introduce new animals to the rest of the family as soon as possible- we don’t need any problems when the time comes to integrate the different age groups.
The front yard garden is still producing fall crops- small bits of broccoli, carrots, and radish with overwhelming amounts of kale and chard. Fava beans are coming in and our cover crops are taking over. We’ve planted 3 different kinds of garlic for next year. Amazingly to me, the wildflower bed is still flowering- my diligent deadheading has indeed helped. Brett and I are even working on an extensive seed catalog for next year to bring to you all!
Fall garden bed
That’s all for now from our garden- even though there is so much more to share! Comment below any questions or maybe ideas of ways to keep the greenhouse warm, or anything else you’d like. Happy Fall and hope to see you in the shop soon!
Hello to you all! It has been a hot minute since our last post- yes, over a year. But, here we are, with exciting news.
We have a permanent space for Suburban Succulents! Our new home in Vancouver, WA boasts a lovely converted garage that will be the store front. We have planned an outdoor area for growing as well as for plant displays and social gatherings. We can’t wait to open this space to the community- we have gathered a wealth of knowledge of many types of plants and look forward to being the local source of all things plants!
We are aiming to open at the end of May when hopefully life as we knew it can resume in a safe fashion.
Currently, Suburban Succulents just got the last of its drywall up and is ready for the first fresh coat of paint in what we assume is 35 years. Upon purchasing our home, we knew that we had a lot of work in front of us- the previous owners were hoarders, lived here for 35 years and left most of their trashed items behind for us to dispose of. With that, we still have copious amounts of trash piled on the side of the house waiting to go to the dump (they have advised us not to go to the dump in Vancouver unless absolutely necessary) and yes, it is necessary to get the old shower off my front yard but not so necessary to risk the health of myself, family and others. So for now, it sits. I should mention we have already taken 7 truck beds full of trash since February. Lately, I have been dreaming of how I can incorporate these leftover items into my plant displays— Brett has had to bring me back to earth a few times. 🙂
Until we see you in person or over the ether- be well!
~Adriane & Brett
Wow, we are overjoyed with the support we have received from the community! We have three upcoming workshops in the month of April and possibly more on the way.
The first is with the Vancouver Housing Authority- so these tickets will not be available to the public.
Secondly, we will be at The Lacamas Lake Lodge 4/22 at 6pm for a family-friendly, build your own succulent terrarium class. Tickets are available for $30 on our website. This workshop is brought to you in collaboration with Camas Parks & Recreation. https://www.suburbansucculents.com/product/succulent-workshop-lacamas-lake-lodge-4-22/
Lastly, Artful Attic is hosting us at their shop in Camas on 4/27 at 6:30. Tickets are $50 and will include drinks! Here is the link to purchase tickets https://www.meetup.com/Camas-Art-Meetup/events/259700636/
We look forward to seeing you at one of these events!
If you are interested in or have a place in mind to host a succulent event, please let us know! We still have availability in April & May and will work with you to offer the event you desire.
Hope you all are enjoying Spring thus far. The growing season has definitely begun!
It’s the first day of Spring and tonight you will see the last super moon of 2019 to boot! What are you doing to celebrate?
Our month-long absence has not been in vain- we have been working hard to prepare the succulents for their Spring move back to the greenhouse and outdoors. It is almost that time again to move them outside.
We have BIG plans for the outside this year. We are going to open the yard to customers! We do not have an exact opening date yet, but you will be the first to know… Planning for mid to late April.
Along with that, we are being contacted to host a myriad of workshops around Vancouver & Camas! Come join us at our next one at Artful Attic on April 27. We have tickets available on our home page. Stay tuned for the next dates, to be announced.
If you are interested in having Suburban Succulents join your group for a class to create your own Succulent piece, contact us today. We have many options available for beautiful projects we can guide you in making.
Since Adriane started a full-time job that requires her to work on Friday’s- we have taken a short break from Night Market Vancouver. Her schedule changes to allow an earlier work end time on Friday’s in a couple of months, we will be back as soon as we can!
With that, we have applied for the Salmon Creek Farmer’s Market- taking place on Tuesday’s. We are patiently awaiting the response of if we are in or not.
And finally, the last piece of news for you all, we have taken on our first commercial plant maintenance client- Come check out our plants- a collection of Succulents & Houseplants- at River Maiden Coffee Shop- located off E. Mill Plain Blvd. The shop has partnered with FVHS to have students create & build plant shelving in the windows as well as a hanging fixture in the center of the building. It is going to be our pleasure to supply the plants and maintain them each week! We are over the moon excited for this opportunity.
If you have been thinking of sprucing up your office, store, or home- contact us for all of your succulent or houseplant desires. We have access to any plant options you are interested in and have over 10 years of plant-care experience.
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will start to share pictures of the succulents as well as what we are up to in the garden.
Until then, Happy Spring! Time to get outside and planting those beautiful gardens. 🙂
I’m on FIRE!! Is anyone familiar with that song by Fallout Boy? It’s an oldie but somehow stuck in my head when I started this blog post. 🙂
Well, we have not actually set anything on fire, but it is definitely lit up in the garage. The plants are growing substantially. It is amazing with adding 6 LED’s can do to help the plants grow.
Now, with all the lights set up, we can focus on HEAVILY expanding our propagation stations. I can’t imagine what the nursery is going to be looking like this spring. I hope to have succulents popping out of our ears– the plan to expand into Cactus and Air Plants are underway, and our Orchid/Tenufolia/Dendrobium collection is still surviving and thriving (although these are all living in the upstairs office enjoying the warmth of the house). Next week I will get some posts up showing all of the sprouting Cactus which we started from seed only last week. We are using a heat mat and it is producing incredible results.
Above are only a couple of shots we have captured of our new set-up in the garage of the LED lights and of the last night market we attended on 2/1. At this point, I have fallen behind on getting this blog posted, so I’m just trying to get something out to you all!
As always, let us know if you hav questions or comments about what we are up to. We love to keep in touch and teach as much as we can about succulents!
Love to you all! Thank you for the continued support.
As promised, more so to myself than any particular person, here is an update on our growing situation in the garage and house for this 3rd week of 2019.
We have officially moved 95% of our succulents inside the house due to cold weather conditions. About 75% of these reside in the garage and the rest on our windowsills scattered throughout the house. I can’t wait for spring to get all the plants back outside and growing under less stressful conditions. I find I am spending more time cleaning up after dropped leaves than I ever have before. Has anyone else noticed that their succulents stretch and drop a bunch more leaves when living inside the house?
Slowly but surely, I am organizing all the propagated succulents in trays in the garage, see the pictures below. This attempt to keep all varieties near each other will make it a bit easier to organize later on when the plants are larger. Beyond that, we are planting out new leaves to grow more baby plants, and potting up teenaged succulents into 2″ pots (these will be our succulents to use in the spring & summer). Although we probably have close to 1000 succulents, the number of succulents we have still will not last us very long with our spring/summer markets coming up. We are preparing for this by acquiring more succulents and ramping up the amount of light & fertilizer we are giving.
The succulents that are outside are VERY hardy mother plants; some crassulas types, leather petals, and a few extra-hardy echeverias. We are keeping our eyes on these succulents though as we are facing another cold snap and don’t want to lose these mother plants. How sad that would be!?!
Brett ordered more lights for use in the garage. They are red/blue LEDs that, according to his research, should promote root growth. Our plan is that once spring hits and we temper the succulents to be outside again, the natural exposure to sunlight will make the body of the succulents grow extremely well, especially since we will have focused these past few months on root growth. I’ll keep you posted on this as it progresses.
Beyond organizing and cleaning up the succulents in the garage, we are prepping succulent products for the Night Market coming up on 2/1. Sweater weather pots and red rocks will be used to make the living succulent pots more festive. The 3D printer is employed full time now, it’s busy printing new pots and key chains. I can’t wait for their debut!
We are looking forward to being at the Vancouver Night Market again, this time at the new location, Warehouse 23. Stop by and say hello on 2/1 from 5-10pm.
Thank you to everyone who continues to follow along with our journey. Let us know if you have any comments or questions, we are here to help any way we can. Have a great day!