Author Archives: Oakridge Lifestyle

Keeping Your Succulent Alive and Happy

Keeping Your Succulent Alive and Happy

By Erna

Succulents are the darlings of contemporary gardening. These beautiful plants have a striking aesthetic unlike anything else in your garden. It’s no mystery why their look captivates trends so easily! The unique beauty of succulents is matched by their habits, which play by different rules than some of your other favourite houseplants. You aren’t alone if you’ve brought home a new succulent, only to have it struggle. Fortunately, the succulent code isn’t hard to crack, and a few guidelines will have your plants thriving in no time. It isn’t hard to have healthy succulents to brighten your home all year – from houseplants to living DIY decoration.

Succulent Rule of Thumb

Green thumb or not, the guidelines for succulent care are simple. You’ll always have the healthiest and most attractive plants if you try to replicate the environment that they are adapted to survive in. Succulents have become super successful at growing in their native, arid habitats. By creating growing conditions they are comfortable with, it’s incredibly easy to keep your succulents looking their best.


One of the most common succulent problems is also the easiest to fix. A lot of complaints come from people who end up doting on their plants much more than they need to. What succulents actually need is some neglect, so put down the watering can! They won’t like to be on the same watering schedule as your tropical houseplants. When you do water, be thorough. Instead of a small trickle, drench them until water flows out the bottom of the container. This will help to wash accumulated salts out of the soil. You’ll then want to let the soil dry out before you water again. In the summer, you’re aiming for watering once a week. In the winter, your plants will be dormant and only need water about once every two weeks.


Even the best watering schedule relies on the right soil as a foundation; we are still trying to copy the natural habitat of your succulent. You should aim for something that has great drainage, but isn’t pure sand. Your plant still needs some soil for the nutrients to grow. Our favourite happy medium is peat moss, or a specialized succulent or cactus soil mixed half and half with sand. Too much soil can choke the roots of your plant, but too much sand will starve your plant, so a healthy balance is important. If you don’t think that your soil is a good fit for your succulent, repotting is a simple fix. Take extra care with the delicate roots of your plant as you move them from one medium to another. While succulents certainly don’t need fertilizer to thrive, some prefer it to give their plant an extra boost. A half-dose of all-purpose fertilizer during spring and summer is the best choice to feed your plant without overwhelming the roots.

Location, Location, Location!

Like any of your other plants, your succulent has its preferences for sunshine and temperature to be comfortable. Room temperature is great for your succulent. If you feel like taking your succulent care to the next level, place it close to a window during the winter. The drop in temperature by a few degrees could encourage your plant to bloom in the spring. The more important guideline calls for 6 hours of light a day minimum. This can be a tall order in our dark winter months. Placing your succulent close to an East or North-facing window can squeeze a few extra moments of sunshine into the day. With South or West-facing windows especially, take care to keep your plant a few inches off the glass. The UV rays from the sun are magnified by windows and can give your plant a sunburn, even in the winter. Less than 6 hours of sunlight certainly won’t kill your plant, however, it could cause your plant to stretch, changing the look of the plant that you originally brought home.  

These popular plants are easy to take care of once you know the secrets to meeting their needs. There are so many fun options for things to do with your succulent that are open, once you know what to do! A quick look on Pinterest or Instagram can provide all the inspiration you need – feel free to dream big in your container designs or decorating at home. A happy home includes healthy plants with your own personal flair!

Can We Eat Healthier in Winter?

Can We Eat Healthier in Winter?

By Megan

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon”

– Doug Larson

Comfort Food in the Winter

We’ve had a chilly winter, even by Canadian standards! As the mercury drops, we have a tendency to reach for comfort foods. Looking at the bleak and frigid weather outside, all we want to do is curl up and be cozy! Your body and brain are demanding carbs and fat for warmth, and between the winter darkness and the freezing temperatures, it’s hard to say no to them.

In the winter, we always end up reaching for foods that make us happy quick. It’s unavoidable and not the end of the world, especially when teamed with a hit of extra-healthy nutrients to keep us feeling our best. Microgreens pack more nutrition per pound than any other food you could grow at home! They give you a much-needed energy boost, and their nutrients and vitamins will keep you and your family feeling healthy until spring.

Buying microgreens at the store comes with a price that could make them impractical. Growing your own is cheap and easy, making this a simple way to cheat winter blues! All you need is a South-facing window, a container, some potting soil, and, of course, some seeds.

Our Favourite Grow-At-Home Tricks

Microgreens are common garden plants grown normally but harvested before they’ve matured, so you won’t need to bother with any fancy seed mixes or designer names. Most varieties sprout in 2-5 days, so it doesn’t take long to start reaping the benefits of your microgreens.

The best results will come from common varieties that you’re already familiar with. Look for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, sunflower, cilantro, or chia. If you buy bulk packs and keep the extra seeds in the fridge, you can keep lots of homegrown treats handy, even on the coldest days.

All you’ll need is a container with some drainage. You could use an old container or even repurpose a milk carton.

Mason jars are a popular container for growing – their size and shape make them ideal environments for sprout growth. Avoid anything painted on the inside to keep your seeds and food clean. Add a few inches of soil and you’ll be ready to plant!

Sow your seeds thickly. The guideline is that the seeds should be one seeds’ width from each other. This shouldn’t be a complicated chore, simply sprinkle them on, making sure they don’t pile up anywhere. Cover your seeds with a layer of potting mix that is also the width of the seeds.

Water your improvised garden gently until it comes out the bottom. You’ll want to keep the soil evenly moist for a few weeks as your seeds sprout and grow a few inches. The best time to harvest is when your plants are a few inches high, so you can leave an inch at the bottom (you might even get another crop as a bonus).

Picking Microgreens

There are so many choices for microgreens that there’s an option for every vitamin and nutrient. These little plants can pack up to 40x the nutritional value per pound than their mature plants. If you grow an assortment of varieties you’ll be able to get everything you need to feel healthier in the winter.

If you want Vitamins C, K, and E, some great options that taste great are red cabbage, garnet amaranth, daikon radishes or red radishes. Alfalfa and red wheat are also two of our favourites. Cilantro will give a boost of lutein and beta-carotene for eye and skin health. Arugula tastes delightfully peppery and has a generous serving of calcium. For expecting moms, the folate in chard helps keep pregnancies healthy. For growing microgreens with the kids, Mung Beans are a great choice as they’re easy to grow, and most kids like the taste of them as well.

But if you’re looking for a simple place to start, here at Oakridge Garden Centre, we carry West Coast Organic Sprouting seeds, 100 grams for $3.49, which is a super affordable option for this type of project.

Staying healthy this winter doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead of saying no to every craving for comfort food, try using microgreens to boost your health and immune system. Growing microgreens at home is easy – and a little spot of vibrant green sprouts at home can be quite the winter pick-me-up, as well.