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Greenhouse Filled Up!

Yup, that’s right, we have already filled up the new greenhouse… The rain has been looming over us this past week, so we finally bit the grit and moved all the succulents under cover. With that, we are forced to think about what it means once we acquire more plant inventory… Luckily there is still room in our original greenhouse and we have space to grow in the garage. We will definitely have to utilize the garage to grow our more sensitive succulents– which will open more space outdoors… it will all work out. 🙂

inside view
View into the greenhouse!

So far we are noticing the greenhouse is staying relatively warm! There is a lot of condensation that develops on the roof. That is the only issue I see causing problems in the next couple months– issue because when the condensation falls from the roof it waters the succulents with COLD water– that don’t want or need to be watered and probably would prefer to not be given practically freezing water!

Honestly, since moving up here, I have had to let go of anything I thought I knew about raising succulents– I used to just be able to leave my succies outside and water them… that was it… Here, with the less hardy succulents, they require a lot more of my attention so they don’t freeze or rot. We are learning to appreciate Sedums and Sempervivums as they are cold hardy succulents that will do well in the PNW— we are still in testing phase to see if they can handle a freeze and/or snow and lots o’ water.

plants in quarantine
Our 4 plants in quarantine!

Since we used to keep succulents scattered around the backyard to bask in the sun we became used to looking out of our office window to a beautiful view. Since moving the plants under the greenhouse, the backyard looks so empty! Brett’s mind is running with great ideas to better utilize the yard now. Stay tuned for that…

Rain is in the forecast for the next week- since the succulents are under cover, I am less concerned about the water- now to make sure the plants are not freezing and root rotting. With its white cover, light is plenty inside of the house- so this is not a concern, yet. Even with the shortening of days, Brett has reminded me that the natural sunlight will increase a bit in the winter over the house because currently, we have cherry tree leaves causing a few areas of light blocking to the greenhouse– once those finish falling (about 1/3 done) we will get to see a whole new perspective of light on that corner of the yard. It is always a challenge to get the most out of available sunlight on your property and we are not immune to that considering we don’t own a property that we can build anywhere we like.

We have been kept busy preparing for our first market on Friday. We have another market next week too! We have our display pieces figured out, our pricing models decided and pieces ALMOST to final products.  Please enjoy the behind the scenes pictures of our booth for Night Market.

We will catch up with y’all next week! Check out the Patreon page for updates on business progress and follow us on Instagram & Facebook- we will be posting various information across all of these platforms.

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The Greenhouse is DONE!

assembled greenhouse with cover
New Greenhouse built, check!

Well, we did it! We have doubled our covered inventory space in the backyard… all with a giant thanks to Fred Meyer garden center! Brett and I were poking around Freddies on Wednesday night looking for the supplies we would need to build our new greenhouse- as discussed in our last post, check it out– we came across a 6′ x 8′ x 6.5′ temporary greenhouse structure— for 50% off!!! We didn’t buy it that night because it was not the appropriate size to fit in the space we have for it.

So, here is how all this went down- Thursday morning, I was looking out the window into the backyard and saw how well the sun hits the spot NEXT to where our current greenhouse is… I went upstairs and told Brett that maybe we should use that spot for our new greenhouse… We went and measured and voila- it would fit the 6′ x 8′ footprint of the greenhouse we found for cheap…

land space at beginning of project
The starting space- was going to be a fire pit area. Not anymore…

A day went by- Friday morning- I woke up panicked that the greenhouse would not be available at Fred Meyer any longer- 50% off is a great deal- and I’m used to Bay Area where someone else would have scooped that up just to resell it. Needless to say, I did not expect it to last. I called the store to check on the inventory level and see if I would save myself a trip there. I was told that they weren’t selling greenhouses any more and to check back in spring… I told her, “Darn, I was just there two days ago and there were two left! Thanks though…”

This made me feel some type of way… my gut did not trust the answer. So I got in my car- drove to Freddie’s and walked back to the garden center. 

There they were! Sitting in the same spot as two days ago and still 50% off. SCORE! I dragged one of the babies home with me.

Shelter Logic Greenhouse
The un-boxing of our new Greenhouse!

On Friday we got serious about the job ahead… We prepped the ground and assembled the structure. To prep the ground, we scraped up the old layer of rock, then made the ground slope a little more even with dirt and sand. After, we spread a new layer of sand, leveled the surface, and covered the area with weed block (landscaping) cloth. We reused the old rocks in the back corner area, then spread 2.5 bags of new rock in the area. Once the pad had been prepped, we began to build the greenhouse.

our sanded area
We used mason sand to create a flatter surface for the new structure.

FYI – We shop at Yard N’ Garden Land in Vancouver, WA for sand, rocks, soil, and ideas. They are a great nursery store with wonderful customer service to boot. We have bought some of our favorite Sedums from this place and love to walk around and look at the seasonal plants and decor they stock.

Anyway- The hardest part of assembling the greenhouse was driving the stakes into the ground. Note- they did not make it all the way down… I am not even in the slightest concerned about this– there will be plenty of weight on the shelves and within the structure to weigh down the house– and well, time will tell… 

Brett & I are stoked about this greenhouse- it saved us a couple hundred dollars and a lot of time and effort on constructing our own. The cover of this structure alone is 10 times better than what we could have DIY’d. 

We haven’t really moved succulents into the greenhouse as I was really tired after working in the sun. We did move some of our Jade collection in to see how they take to the structure. IMO, Jade is our hardiest plant and one I have the most trust in- I do not anticipate anything to change with moving the Jade in, but am willing to use them as test subjects. 🙂

The weather forecast this week in Vancouver, WA shows 60’s to low 70’s with lots of sunshine, no need to worry about the succulents so much this week. REALLY, no rush with that forecast. I am viewing this like we have one major step completed in winterizing our succulent inventory. As a bonus, we even have the old greenhouse & space that can be re-utilized as an “Orchid House” – as well as a place to store my personal favorites. As I said, I’m in no rush to get the plants moved, in fact, this coming week I have a friend visiting and I’m not planning to spend much time with the plants at all – TOUGH LOVE little succies! 

our TWO green houses

Side note, we are still working our way around the backyard, updating and cleaning it as we go. This is something I love about Brett & I- we attempt (and I think, succeed) to beautify every backyard we have. This place has been no different – now that fall is here, we are kept much busier with raking than in the Bay Area – and with all the moisture in the air, weeds are growing bat-shit crazy fast. We have yet to spray with chemicals to eradicate them because I find it therapeutic to go outside and dig the weeds out. 

We have been lucky to come across some great succulent and planter deals around town. As we get more and more serious about Suburban Succulents, everything seems to keep falling into place. Kismet, and that’s how I know things are on the right path.

Hope all of you are finding sweet deals on garden supplies in your towns! Please share in the comments what you stock up on at the end of growing season!  

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Winter prep in the PNW continues…

AH! The cold nights and dreary/rainy days have arrived– the sprinklers went off this morning and I freaked out at the thought of too much of a chill hitting our little succies. (They are all ok!) Today involved a lot of plant moving in order to find warm, relatively dry spots for them to continue to grow until the new greenhouse build is complete.

To top it all off, with this wetter weather, the grey slugs are out full force. We are keeping them at bay with our natural methods, with the emphasis on keeping them at bay. There are no methods to completely eradicate slugs from your plants only killing as many as you can to hinder the population growth.

Here in the wet PNW, these slugs can get massive. The gray leopard slug in the photo below can grow to be 8″ long! This one here was probably closer to 4 and gross enough for my liking. 

gray leopard slug enjoying our pumpkin plants
Leopard slug on the loose! We left his smashed carcass for his brethren to know their fate if they enter…

Did you know? Grey slugs should never be touched with bare hands– they can carry a nematode that can cause meningitis. Definitely avoid touching bare handed and always wear gloves!! 

I have started to rig our current greenhouse to utilize more of the upward and inside middle spaces- it is very difficult to maneuver in there but as long as you walk straight in and reverse yourself out, it works out…kinda. I have faced a couple of tray casualties, the obscenities were shouted and mess cleaned up, but what else can I do… Can’t wait for the new greenhouse to see how much more room we will have to work with.

greenhouse DIY design
Suburban Succulents new greenhouse plans!

The greenhouse plans have been created and we are keeping the structure basic which serves our purposes just fine! Above is a rough sketch that Brett put together for us. We are hoping to utilize as much upward space as we can. The best part of making your own greenhouse is the customization options. We will keep you updated with the progress and share what worked and didn’t once the project is complete.

Have any of our succ-scribers built a greenhouse themselves? Let us know in the comments. See ya next time!

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Fall has arrived! Garden updates…

Since our last post, we have repotted EVERY container plant we have in the backyard– and most of the houseplants too. We are seeing an improvement in the health of our little succulents as they have a better draining soil to stretch out their roots in- we found that our old soil had compacted to dirt mush and most of the 2” succulents were becoming root bound and sitting in some water- due to the rain we have been getting and less sunny days to dry up all that water.

small transplanted arrangement

In an attempt to fight the rain gods from killing all of the plants, we have moved our favorites and the most sensitive varieties into the greenhouse to best protect them… Brett always laughs at how much I try to fit into our greenhouse (because all of them are my favorite)– but stuffing is never good- it leads to less air circulation & less light being able to reach all plants. It is time for us to increase our growable space.

We are finding that we are going to need to change our attack plan for keeping the succulents protected this winter– Initially we figured our small greenhouse would house MOST everything and whatever didn’t fit would be kept in a sunny, rocked area in the yard —  we realize, it’s not going to house them all… SO, we are going to build a greenhouse structure in our side yard that can fit all of our temperature sensitive plants– the spot is already cleaned out and set-up as a dog run from previous renters, so the prep is easy, now to gather supplies and do the build.

What happens if the greenhouse doesn’t keep your succulents warm this winter you ask?? Firstly, we learned that we own many varieties of succulents that CAN survive the colder winter temperatures and have separated them from the rest of the flock as the “outdoor troopers”. These include our sempervivums, sedums, and stonecrop varieties. The most tender succulents will be brought indoors to be grown under our LED light system in the garage– that way we will reduce casualties overall should that fate come and winter is a beast… My fingers are crossed this will not be the case!

For the greenhouse build, we plan to use PVC pipes and a transparent 4-6 mil. thick polyethylene. Sounds good, eh?? Well, it always looks good on paper— Stay tuned to see what worked and our final result.

Our leatherpetals are getting massive!

What are you doing to prepare your plants for winter? Let us know below.