Mountain Valley Growers USDA Certified Organic Herb, Perennnial and Vegetable Plants

 

Welcome to this edition of Mountain Valley Views, the online newsletter for Mountain Valley Growers.

 

 

 

Herb's
Sensational
Strawberries

Herb's Pick
of the month

What's on Sale?

 

 

NOTES FROM HERB GARDENER:

Nothing says summer like fresh home-grown strawberries. I am really pleased that this year we are able to offer organic strawberry plants. I have never liked having to buy chemically grown strawberry starts, but until now there was no alternative. I tried to convince myself that, once I got them home, they would be grown in my good organic soil. But, it wasn't an easy debate to win. Knowing that chemicals can be stored in roots and then transmitted to the leaves and fruit of the plant, I always wondered exactly what it was I was actually putting in my mouth. 

 

We have been working on an organic strawberry plant offering for quite a while. Needless to say I am tickled pink to finally be able to offer you a better, healthier alternative with our organic strawberry plants. And, these are plants.  These are not a bunch of dried-up root crowns that have been sitting in cold storage for who knows how long that may or may not actually be alive. These plants are fully rooted and are actively growing, ready to flower and produce oodles of strawberries.

Our Aromas strawberries were developed by the University of California at Davis to have superior flavor and high yields with more consistently large berries. Aromas Strawberries are day-neutral, ever-bearing strawberries. Day-neutral strawberries are not influenced by the length of the day and so they bloom and fruit most of the growing season.

Strawberries can be a bit ornery to grow. They have some very specific requirements and there are some helpful things to know about growing them. First and foremost is that they don't compete with weeds well. Second is that, in order to grow plump and juicy, they need plenty of water and nutrients plus excellent drainage. Their need for water is compounded by their shallow root system that can dry out easily. The third thing is that while the strawberry loves the water, the moistness is also very attractive to ground bugs like mealy bugs and earwigs. These little bugs like to hollow out  homes for themselves in the berries. Further, the abundance of water can also cause ripening fruit to rot where it touches the ground. Fourth is that the fruit is tastiest when it fully ripens on the plant. Unfortunately, this is also the stage the birds tend to come in and swipe them right out from under you.

It might seem hopeless, but there are some simple solutions. Strawberries seem to grow better in raised beds or in containers. These can be filled with top-quality compost or potting soil which helps to encourage beneficial bacteria and earthworms. Raised beds containing quality topsoil can be filled with strawberries, mulched with compost (which adds to fertility), and covered with clean straw to help conserve moisture and keep the strawberries off the ground. Raised beds need only be a foot tall and two feet wide. Planting two rows of strawberries about 8 inches apart will provide a strawberry bonanza.

Hanging baskets, like our Bloom Master planters are ideal because the berries can hang in the air, which keeps the ground bugs away.  If watering a hanging basket is a concern, any container can be used and placed atop walls or on blocks in the path of automatic sprinklers which keeps water levels more consistent. Baskets and pots are easier to fertilize than large rows in gardens. They are also easier to protect from the birds. If it comes down to you or the birds, set up one of our motion detector sprinklers aimed at the strawberries. It will deter a lot of different kinds of critters that might be after your goodies.

To encourage nice large plants, runners can be pruned off during the first part of the growing season. These can be potted up and replanted in another spot later on. Also, if the plants have not yet reached a good size, the first flowers can be pinched out to encourage more leaf growth, which will mean more food for the strawberries later and more fruit for you.

TIL' NEXT TIME,

HERB

   
HERB'S PICK OF THE MONTH

The tasty tribute to strawberries above was planted in a 14 inch Bloom Master Planter. We stock both the 10 inch (8 inches tall and 10 inches around and the 14 inch (13 inches tall and 14 inches around) Bloom Masters in green. We like the green because it blends in with the plants well.  And, if you don't want to hang your Bloom Master, no problem, it has a flat bottom that makes it perfect for just sitting around!

The 14 inch Bloom Master (pictured above) has 30 holes, 3 rows of 10 offset holes, and a planting area at the top. It is just right for a 24 or 36 pack of Strawberries. The 14 inch planter will hold about 4 gallons of soil and will weigh approximately 40 pounds when wet. Needless to say, it comes with a very sturdy hanging chain.

The 10 inch Bloom Master has 8 holes, two rows of 4 offset holes, and a planting area at the top. It is the perfect size for an herb collection. Grow just one kind of herb like Basil or Parsley or choose several different herbs, like chives, thyme, basil, parsley and winter savory. It is just right for 6 or 8 Strawberry Plants.  The 10 inch planter will hold about 2 gallons of our Organic Gro Container Mix and will weigh approximately 7 lbs or less when wet; the perfect size for for any patio or window. A sturdy four-strand wire hanger with rigid hook and planting instructions are included.

Because Herb is so excited about his Organic Strawberry Plants,
 he has put together some special offers to help get you started.
Strawberry Plants
The more you buy the more you save!

1 Strawberry Plant $3.95
6 Strawberry Plants $16.95
12 Strawberry Plants $24.00
24 Strawberry Plants $36.00
36 Strawberry Plants $48.00
Order Strawberry Plants here.
Bloom Master Planter Kits
In addition to either the 10 inch or 14 inch planter, these kits include enough Organic Gro Container Mix to fill the planter and a 32 ounce concentrate bottle of Metaatural Bloom Formula Fertilizer (perfect for berries!). 10 INCH KIT IS 29.95; 14 INCH KIT IS 47.95
Order a Bloom Master Planter Kit here.
   
WHAT'S ON SALE???
Over the winter, we updated your shopping experience so that plants and gardening supplies are not thrown together in the same box. Needless to say, this wrecks havoc on the plants. So, if you want to order plants and a book, you will have two shopping carts and two check outs. It might seem a little awkward but your plants will thank you.

What's on Sale??? will now have two sections also,
 one for Bargain Plants and one for Gardening Supply Specials .

Bargain Plants are a great way to try something new!
Bargain Plants are our way of saying Thank You to our valued customers. These are grade A, number 1 plants that we just happen to have a lot of.
 Please choose six plants (or a 6 Pack Specialty Herb Garden or a 36 Pack Assortment) at the regular price from the pages listed below before you place your order for Bargain Plants.

Plants A-F
Plants G-M
Plants N-R
Plants S-Z
6 Pack Herb Gardens
36 Pack Assortments
The current list of Bargain Plants includes:
Royal Blue Butterfly Bush, Warley Rose Rockrose, Purple Cone Flower, Joe Pye Weed, Woolly Lavender, Catnip, Creeping Golden Marjoram, Skeleton Rose Scented Geranium, Rosemary, Purple Garden Sage, Gray Santolina, Woolly Thyme and Tricolor Society Garlic.
To order at the Bargain Plant Price,
please click here for the Bargain Plant Order Form.

To learn more about any of these plants click on the plant's hyperlink on this page.
Take Five!
 Order five of our On Sale Containers and receive a water meter and a water breaker free! Click here for more information!

Strawberry Samples

Perhaps one reason strawberries are so popular is that they can be used in so many ways. They lend their sweet succulence to a variety of dishes and beverages. It is no wonder they go with our favorite, herbs.

Strawberry Wine with Herbs
1/2 pound fresh strawberries
20 Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena leaves
2 tablespoons Rosemary leaves
1 bottle of Rosé Wine

Wash, hull and slice strawberries. Finely chop herbs. Mix strawberries, herbs and wine in a clean glass container. Close container with a tight fitting lid. Shake mixture well.
Refrigerate for 2 days, shaking it occasionally.
Strain the wine into a pitcher through a sieve lined with a cloth towel. Serve cold.

Recipe courtesy of the PastryWiz. Visit their site for more great strawberry recipes, including tips for making your own chocolate dipped strawberries.

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