Starting A Vegetable Garden
You don’t need acres to grow your own veggies. Even a small vegetable patch is rewarding if you know how to use it.
Choose varieties that thrive in your growing zone. Pick out seeds that are easy for you to grow.
The 24th annual Camas Plant & Garden Fair will return to downtown Camas from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 13.
The annual Mother’s Day weekend event will offer more than 100 local nurseries, growers and garden artists. Shoppers will find a large variety of fruiting trees, vegetable starts, flowers, garden art and furniture, planters, birdhouses and feeders, pottery, metal art, flowering hanging baskets, garden benches, stone art, sculptures, herbs and more.
The Plant & Garden Fair is organized by the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) and offers something for all ages.
This year’s event will host a record number of plant and garden art vendors this year, including many beloved local Camas growers and artisans.
Shoppers can browse unique glass-topped stepping stones, benches and birdbaths from Carla Stevens Glass Art. Gardeners on a tight budget can have their questions answered by the closed loop gardening experts at the EatWell Community Garden booth. Lacamas Lavender Farm will be on hand to spread their love of all things lavender. People interested in vegetable starts can check out the plant starts produced by the Organic no till practices at Shady Grove Farm.
Three new vendors joining the event for 2023 are Van Hevelingen Herb Nursery, NW Sun and Rain Garden Boutique and Pith to Bark. These along with over 30 other new vendors add unique and often hard to find offerings to the fair.
Van Hevelingen Herb Nursery – This Newberg, Oregon-based nursery, established in 1984, by Andy and Melissa Van Hevelingen, has grown from five lavender varieties to over 100 different herbs and perennials gathered from around the world. The couple has a wealth of agricultural knowledge and have lectured throughout the U.S. and the U.K. They’ve also contributed to gardening articles in Fine Living, The Country Folks Grower and The Oregonian.
NW Sun and Rain Garden Boutique – Local Washougal resident Denise Vance started sharing her handmade succulent creations in early 2019. She specializes in the care of Tillandsia air plants and crocodile ferns. In addition to being an air plant expert, she’s also an accomplished crafter, and offers shoppers a selection of indoor/outdoor macrame plant holders, and other eco-friendly repurposed succulent displays.
Pith to Bark – Artist Gavin Tougher started creating pollinator boxes and nesting boxes out of spare materials at an off-the-grid farm in southwest Colorado. His unique hand-crafted pieces strive to imitate the systems of permaculture. The aesthetic of each piece shows the relationship between ecology, art, form, and function. He uses wood, bark, stone, and other found objects in his workshop studio, currently located in Corvallis, Oregon.
The fair will have over 20 designated vendor experts that shoppers can talk with to learn more about plants, effective gardening techniques and other related topics. Look for the “yellow sun” signs on expert booth locations.
The full Plant Fair Expert List and a list of fair vendors can be found online at cwplantfair.org/vendors. Stop by the DCA information booth at Fourth Avenue and Cedar Street during the fair and pick up the list of experts and their booth locations. Some of the expert topics include: air plant care, attracting pollinators, carnivorous plants, container gardening, dahlias, evergreens, fuchsias, herbs, houseplants, Japanese maples, landscaping, lavender, microgreens, no-till vegetable gardening, peonies, perennials, Pacific Northwest native plants, rhododendrons, tomatoes, trellising and vertical growth.
“This event has an amazing variety of both indoor and outdoor plants, stunningly beautiful hand-crafted garden art, fun and free activities for families, delightful live music, delicious food vendors, and so much more,” said Downtown Camas Association Event and Project Manager Leah Nichelson. “We’ve added over 30 new vendors this year to an already long list of passionate and knowledgeable growers and artists. There is truly something for every garden enthusiast, and it’s the perfect place to shop for Mother’s Day.”
The Kids’ Zone, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Northeast Third and Fourth avenues on Northeast Dallas Street, will offer free activities for children and families including an obstacle course from My Gym and a take home seed sprouting activity hosted by the Camas Farmer’s Market. This area will also feature a free petting zoo with goats, bunnies and more, hosted by the 4-Seasons 4-H Club. Many event sponsors will also be hosting activities for kids at their booths. Children and theater lovers will enjoy Rhys Thomas who is returning with his Strolling Jugglemania Show including a giant rose puppet, themed juggling, performances on stilts and other activities.
Live music at Northeast Fourth Avenue and Northeast Cedar Street will include Bret Malmquist playing acoustic jazz guitar from 10 a.m. to noon, and local singer songwriter Brenna Larsen performing from noon to 3 p.m. Scout troop 565 will be on hand with their trusty wagons to help citizens transport their purchases as needed.
The DCA will host the annual wheelbarrow raffle prize drawing with a large assortment of plants, trees, flowers and garden art generously donated by fair vendors in a sturdy wheelbarrow donated by Lutz Hardware as well as a downtown gift card raffle. The items will be on display and tickets can be purchased at the DCA table on the corner of Northeast Fourth Avenue and Northeast Cedar Street on the day of the event. The winner will be drawn at 3 p.m. that day.
Sponsors of the event include Waste Connections of Washington-Clark County, as well as Georgia Pacific; Edward Jones, Robert Barber; Clover Podiatry; NW Natural; WaferTech; Renewal by Andersen; Hampton Inn and Suites; Blossom Natural Health and Wellness; Dr. Jared Bowyer, DDS; Papermaker Pride; Juxtaposition; Minuteman Press; City of Camas and 4 Seasons 4-H.
For more information on the Plant Fair, see cwplantfair.org or fb.com/CamasPlantAndGardenFair. For information on the DCA and other downtown events and initiatives, visit downtowncamas.com.