Enough space to grow all the things


Shortly after one of the large storms hit CA I realized many of my plants had been damaged by hail and too much rain. I decided it was time to find some greenhouse space. Luckily I live just over the hill from Half Moon Bay, CA which is one of the few agricultural areas left in proximity to the Bay Area.

The space I'm officially renting needs a new roof, so I was offered the defunct aquaponics space you see below as a "temporary" home.

Looking a little rough around the edges

Power works...

Fans work...

Needs some TLC but lots of space and left over materials

After writing a check - day one involved some clean up and the salvaging of materials in order to create a temporary home for plants currently suffering in my backyard.

Starting to clean up and make space for plants


There were about a dozen of these old nursery bench tops laying around. I have many more palettes currently being used in my backyard which I'll lug over the hill.

The first plants arrive

Several days later and more plants have arrived

The space I'll eventually move into is about 4200 sqft - this temporary space is closer to 18,000 sqft. To put that into perspective the space used above is roughly 60ft x 10ft and I'm about 1/3 moved in so far - not counting space needed for a potting area and shipping area.

Below is the side door I've been schlepping plants through... the built in water feature over the door is an added bonus.

Still raining in CA


A month later and I'm still moving plants out to the nursery space as time permits.

Mid April

Coral Aloes seem happy

Aloe ferox young'uns seem happy

Larger sized Aloes

Notice all the brownish sand? This served as a base material beneath the plastic, hydroponic pond liners. I've started rolling up and removing the liners because I don't need mini-ponds every time I water the plants. The sand can get messy - so a little weed barrier cloth is helpful.

What's a nursery without a potting station? The little blue tables are leftovers from my yard (made from a deck we tore out yrs ago) Not sure what I'll use them for, though they make a handy spot for my car keys.

Setting up a work area for potting etc

A pile of potting mix... this is getting real.


Finally I can get around to those tasks I've put off like re-potting several root-bound agave. Also - this is the first day I brought a lunch bag.

Some of the Agave need new and bigger homes.

One of the problems I've encountered with growing plants in nursery pots, out of doors all year has been exposure to too much rain water. The problem gets worse if the plant is also root-bound because then water has trouble draining and the roots will eventually rot.

5ga and root bound

10ga with room to grow

These agave (and more) came from offsets a few years ago. It's great to have mature landscape specimens but waiting years for offsets to mature before selling them isn't a viable strategy all by itself. The same can be said for growing Aloe and Agave from seed - it is an inexpensive way to grow lots of plants but takes a long time. As a stopgap solution I've bought companion plants in bulk from a local wholesale nursery.


Leucospermum pattersonii "Brothers"

It can be hard to find large, focal point plants so I'm happy to grow these on into 15ga pots for my design clients, other designers and contractors looking to source that one special plant.


Leucospermum "California Sunshine"

Oddly, finding more unused table tops and free palettes is one of my main constraints right now in this temporary space. Given the price of wood I'd rather spend money on plants and materials as long as possible.

Filling up empty space with more flats

All of the Aloe thraskii together at last

Menagerie of unsorted plants

U.V. Zones


The plants at this point are broadly separated into a few zones based on light intensity. In the foreground are some larger Agave that had already been growing in full sun - most of these are not covered in shade cloth. In the mid-ground plants are covered with a 40% shade cloth (screens 40% of UV light), in the distance the younger plants are covered in a higher (80%?) UV cloth. I'll move plants around and adjust as needed but after the first month many plants seem happier here than in their previous home.

Aloe dorothea "Crimson" looking happy.

This is just a beginning - I hope to fill much more of this space over the coming months with new plants.

Check out the store here.


  1. Wow! You've jumped in head first. I wish your store were closer. Best wishes getting your larger operation up and running.

    1. Thanks Kris. If you are ever up here then you are of course welcome to stop in for a look.

  2. WOW, I don't know which is more impressive. Seeing all those plants spread out here, or knowing you somehow had them all (or many of them) staged at home. Your family must be loving all the open space there now.

    1. True! I think they breathed a collective sigh of relief - now I just have to put the lawn back in ;)

  3. Replies
    1. sometimes I have a similar sentiment when I'm standing in that space


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