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America’s checkered past has created a tense association between Black folks and agriculture. Visual artist Derrick Beasley, DJ Matthew Green, and Chaz and Dominique Dawson, the cofounders of Noir Plant Club, are out to heal that relationship. Together, they make up the Greenhouse Studio Collective. In honor of Juneteenth (the holiday that recognizes the freedom of enslaved people in the U.S. since 1865), the group is launching the first installment of Something in the Soil, an event in Washington, D.C., that aims to nurture the connection between Black people and planting. 

On Saturday, June 18, Greenhouse Studio is inviting the community to come together and focus on nature and growth through music, photography, and immersive art. Throughout the day, attendees can expect live DJ sets, pop-up shops, a digital photo archive of folks and their foliage (plant portraiture? yes, please!), flora and vessel swaps, and more. And for those of you who can’t make it to the capital city, you can still appease your inner plant parent. We asked Chaz to share some of his favorite growing tips with us so you can start nurturing your greens at home stat. 

Hack Your Greenhouse

When Chaz and Dominique started their flora fam, they needed a solution to keep their home from turning into a jungle. “We had plants all over our house, which is how a lot of people enter the green space,” Chaz shares. Enter IKEA’s Milsbo cabinet. “It was a way to control our space a little and have our plants all in a centralized location. And then we really liked the look!” The Dawsons took the piece and outfitted it with custom acrylic shelving to create their ultimate indoor greenhouse

Create Plant Gangs

If you’re not ready to graduate to greenhouse status, Chaz says you can easily create a more supportive environment by grouping certain species together and giving them the tools to succeed. He suggests clustering tropicals near a humidifier, gathering a group of sun-loving buds near windows or under a grow light, and keeping the climbing types under control with moss poles or trellises. In addition to mimicking their natural habitats, he says these arrangements will make it less likely you’ll forget to water that lone pot sitting on your sill. 

Save by Going Sustainable

One thing Chaz says even the most seasoned green thumbs seem to overlook is the water bill; feeding a houseful of plants can add up quickly. His solution is to keep an eye on the weather and set plastic bins outside when the forecast predicts showers. By collecting rain to nourish their collection, he and Dominique not only save money, but they give their plants a more natural thirst quencher than tap water.