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Succulents on point 

Growing Grounds has plants meant to grow in SLO County

Thinking about getting into gardening, but want to make sure you have plants that will survive well on the Central Coast, specifically? Growing Grounds has got you covered.

"Anything grown here will thrive in SLO County, and about 80 percent of it will also thrive over the grade," said Program Manager Craig Wilson.

Growing Grounds has both a farm and a shop in San Luis Obispo, where it grows and sells its plants, respectively. Wilson describes their products as "potted nursery stock exclusively"—in other words, they don't grow vegetables.

"They're Mediterranean climate zone plants," he said. "And then within that we focus on California natives, as well as seeds we've collected locally."

One might think that a plant nursery would be suffering right now due to the recent drought, but for Growing Grounds, it was all business as usual.

Not only are they accustomed to adjusting the availability of certain products based on seasonal changes, but the majority of the plants are designed to be drought tolerant anyway, just because of where they're growing.

"The climate we're in makes the drought omnipresent," Wilson said.

That being said, the drought certainly changed customer demand for certain products. Namely, according to Wilson, Growing Grounds had to increase its succulent stock by about 400 percent.

"Sales [of succulents] skyrocketed," he said. "People were ripping out their lawns. ... They're still a big sell. People have gotten used to them."

Not only will buying from Growing Grounds get you the perfect plant to grow right here, right now, but it will also help support a great cause. Growing Grounds is one of many non-profit programs from Transitions Mental Health Association, and most of the employees at the farm and the shop are there as part of their recovery process.

"Probably the most rewarding part is that I get to help create an environment where people improve their lives through their own efforts," Wilson said. "We're not changing their lives, we're just creating an opportunity for them to change their own lives, and they take advantage of it."

It's not only California that gets to experience the results of these life-changing opportunities. Though the vast majority of Growing Grounds' products are sold in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara counties, Wilson said that they have shipped plants to Oregon, and even New York City. Still, despite a willingness to ship anywhere, it's clear that the entire operation is heavily geared toward us locals.

"We're a fairly mainstream, climate appropriate nursery for this area," Wilson said.

To learn more about Growing Grounds, visit growinggroundsfarm.org or stop by the shop at 956 Chorro St. Δ

Contributor Katrina Borges is into succulents. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

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