Green Valley Gleanings

David Elvig’s Tomatoes

Posted by on Friday, August 31st, 2012

From City of Ramsey Councilmember, David Elvig
August 22, 2012

Here are a couple of pics of the two large plants I grew this season this year. (still growing…) The two plants overlap one another and are still 13′ wide and 5′ tall. They required steel fence posts and rope to support; cages were trivial and the 1″ hardwood stakes did not come even close to supporting the massiveness of these plants. Started with fish skins in the ground in fall and spring did the same. One can of tuna fish at planting. Set the seedling purchased from GVGH about 16″ deep – 2 gallons of water per day.

You will note in the pictures, a wine glass set at the base of the plant to determine scale and a scissors in another picture. The plants are continuing to blossom now in mid August so if you were in a warmer climate who knows how long these could go…

1″ + thick slabs on BLTs baby!!!!

- Big Zac – 40 + fruits – first two harvests were 8-10 fruit averaging nearly 5 lbs with some going as high as 6 1/2lbs. Good sweet flavor as well – longer to ripen. The fruit is well shaped and not much cracking or breakage. Impressive to see and even more-so to hold. Only draw back is when you start them in cages it is hard to get the fruit out as it becomes much larger then the cage! Also, they are used to hanging from their stems so when they’re place them on a hard surface they tend to bruise themselves over night from they’re own weight. You have to use a tool to cut the large stem when harvesting – I found it beneficial to leave a 1″ stem and store them on the counter stem side down; helps not to bruise. Just one of these bad-boys over fills a quart juice jar!!!!

- Brandy Boy is on the right, about 35 + fruit with some coming in over 4 1/2 lbs! Ripens surprisingly fast – was faster then my Sunsugar cherry tomatoes. Most all of the fruit is coming in at the exact size of a softball – about 3 lbs. Nice shape with very little breaks. Great flavor! Two fruits over fills a quart juice jar! Unless you have a big clan, do a fair amount of cooking, a lot of canning to do or an insatiable appetite for tomatoes, these are probably the more practical of the large plants to produce – big yet can use one entire fruit at one setting.

- Sunsugar cherry tomatoes – wow! (not pictured) Second year and they have both been impressive! The plant is 9′ in diameter each year! They are the sweetest tomatoes ever and everyone is Jonesing for them! I harvest them at 150 to 200 each time! (Yes that is with the zero at the end!) They do tend to split a bit so someone harvesting more often may not find that. I don’t discard those however as they seal themselves over and are just fine to cut for salads etc. Last year we determined we harvested around 1200 fruit from just the one plant. Thought this year may be a little less, but looking today it appears we’re on track for similar. I counted around another 140 buds in mid August! This is an outstanding plant – I need to figure out some more things to do with this much fruit. For now I’ve been freezing and using in stews and throwing a few in with spaghetti – really adds a wonderful natural sweetness along with your really cool purple basil!

Bravo Green Valley on some outstanding breeding!!!

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Green Valley Teatime

Posted by on Friday, March 23rd, 2012

What a great time for a cup of tea!  The yard work hasn’t begun in full force yet, it’s not too hot (most days…) and we all need to relax a bit.  Ran across this poem which we hope you’ll enjoy:

My copper kettle
whistles merrily
and signals that
it is time for tea.

The fine china cups
are filled with the brew.
There’s lemon and sugar
and sweet cream, too.

But, best of all
there’s friendship, between you and me.
As we lovingly share
our afternoon tea.
~Marianna Arolin

If you missed Ladies Night on March 20th, just thought we should tell you about our new Green Valley exclusive and COLLECTIBLE Teacup and Saucer.  It’s an exclusive design painted and fired by a local artist from Clifton Woods Studio, a Collector Item that is in very limited supply, numbered for your collecting pleasure!  The teacup is a very delicate design with a beautiful PANSY handpainted on one side; the back of the teacup has a demure back of the pansy showing the underside.  This is a great gift for Mom, sister, Grandma, friend.  And there’s a matching teapot!

Another quote, author unknown:  ”Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.”

We agree.

Tea Cup and Saucer

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March in Minnesota

Posted by on Monday, March 5th, 2012

March is a great time to be in Minnesota and here’s why: 

  1. Weather is totally unpredictable.  It can be totally WINTER or totally SPRING or anywhere in between.  It keeps us on our toes and provides something for everyone!
  2. When those spring breezes flow in, the smell of spring in the air is an elixir you can’t experience in tropical climates.  This MUST be why all the snowbirds return?
  3. MARCH MADNESS and state tournaments galore.  (Another explanation for ROSB – Return of Snow Birds).
  4. Garden Centers are preparing for the spring rush, so it’s a great time to visit your local fave—Green Valley Garden Center—where you’ll get all the scents, sights and sounds of spring excitement and catch spring FEVER.
  5. March is anticipation…watch for swelling buds on trees, signs of bulbs beginning to ‘show’ themselves.
  6. Great place to be if you like the color BROWN.  Snow is melting, ice starting to go off the lake.
  7. Make predictions or place friendly family bets on the DAY that ice will leave your favorite lake.
  8. We are more apt to get snow that makes great snowmen and snowballs.
  9. Since you can’t be in your yard turning over the soil and planting, it’s the perfect time to do a simple soil test so that when you CAN be working the soil, you’ll know how to amend it.
  10. Finish pruning oak and elm before the weather turns warm.
  11. March is the time to cut pussywillow stems, wild plum stems, forsythia, and force them into bloom in your home.
  12. The sun is stronger, so start seeds on your windowsill (or under grow lights).
  13. HERBS are in and ready for your windowsill.
  14. You can put the push on spring and watch a Bulb Garden come to life.
  15. Sunlight, glorious sunlight!  Yeah, days getting longer, sun climbing higher!!
  16. Birds returning…hurrah!!
  17. Clocks move forward March 11, 2012.
  18. Irish folk get to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th.
  19. School’s out for SPRING BREAK!!
  20. Spring arrives March 20th!!
  21. Customers get to use accumulated Loyalty Points at Green Valley Garden Center, but only until the 31st of March!!

Last, but not least, William Cullen Bryant:

MARCH
The stormy March is come at last
With wind, and cloud, and changing skies;
I hear the rushing of the blast
That through the snowy valley flies.

Ah! Passing few are they who speak
Wild stormy month in praise of thee;
Yet though thy winds are loud and bleak
Thou art a welcome month to me.

For thou, to northern lands again
The glad and glorious sun dost bring
And thou hast joined the gentle train,
And wear’st the gentle name of Spring.

And in thy reign of blast and storm
Smiles many a long, bright summer day
When the changed winds are soft and warm
And heaven puts on the blue of May.

Thou bring’st the hope of those calm skies,
And that soft time of sunny showers,
When the wide bloom, on earth that lies,
Seems of a brighter world than ours.

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Happy New Year from Green Valley Garden Center!

Posted by on Friday, January 13th, 2012

Time seems to be picking up speed as the years fly by, but what a great time to take a few moments to reflect on all the blessings of the year gone by and ask God to draw us closer to Him in the year to come!

January at our little spot in the country is a time bursting with promise of the seasons to come. There are tulips popping their heads out of the soil in our windowsill bulb pots, the hyacinth will soon be blessing us with fragrance, and daffodils will be jumping out to say, “Here’s a little sunshine for your table on a winter day”!Tulips

 

 

 

Easter Lilies are out on the tables and beginning to find the light of day as they emerge from the soil and ‘winter’.

Lilies

 

 

 

 

The Wheat Grass is up and treating us to a little perky plant to add a mini ‘lawn’ to a fun pot. HINT: makes great ‘hair’! Come and see what we’ve done…

Wheat Grass Smiley Face

As usual, there is foliage on our tables to clean the stale indoor air in the home or office. Check out the fantastic work foliage does here.

We’re so thankful to the Great Creator for making plants, not only for their beauty, but also for the way He’s made them with the ability to clean the air around us (one reason outdoor air is so ‘fresh’ is that trees, grasses and other plants are working silently to make it that way).

During January, we’ve begun the Great 2012 Makeover at Green Valley Garden Center and it’s truly an exciting moment in our history to showcase our plants and what we do here in an even better way. Come visit us and let us delight your senses. Watch our EVENTS page for upcoming classes and ‘happenings’ leading into spring.

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Ladies’ Night Out

Posted by on Friday, December 2nd, 2011

A huge thanks from Green Valley Garden Center to all who attended our Ladies’ Night Out on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 which was a great success. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we’ve had many great comments which we ALWAYS appreciate.
Thanks for buying LOCAL.

Many of you asked for the recipes of the yummy treats that we served. Here they are.

You vendors (you know who you are) were fantastic and we are grateful you came and hope you connected with many of our customers. We love to make connections with local businesses and entrepreneurs.

**GV Factoid: Did you know Green Valley Greenhouse grew approximately 150,000 poinsettia plants this year? That’s A LOT from our little spot in the country!

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Late Fall Tip

Posted by on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

If you had damage from deer checking out your tasty shrubs, evergreens or using your fruit trees for a scratching post, it’s time to apply a coating of a liquid pest spray.  “Liquid Fence” works year-round to keep deer and rabbits from all your shrubs and trees.  It’s long lasting and rain resistant while being earth and family friendly.  “Repels-All” will last up to 2 months and keep out a number of critters including mice, voles, shrews, chipmunks, rabbits and birds.  It’s environmentally safe and biodegradable.  Spray on now and again before winter takes hold to build up a strong defense.  Continue applications throughout the winter.  The wildlife is preparing for winter, so get a jump on them before they fatten up on your landscape.

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The Beauty of Fall

Posted by on Monday, September 26th, 2011

There is definitely a chill in the air, giving us hints at what will be coming before we know it! Mum season is oh, approximately ¾ complete, and if your home is still mum-less, we can help. New product is arriving every day in preparation for Spruce Tip season and the holidays, so stop in to discover new inspiration. Need ideas for making your home look like fall/Halloween? We’ve got plenty. Coming soon…the absolutely most artistic birch creations you’ve seen! (Should be arriving week of October 10th) Conical wall baskets created from downed birch trees and dogwood sourced along Lake Superior’s North Shore. Yes, we found an artist with all the right touches—each is a unique creation. Fill with a different look for every season! Hang on your front door or interior wall and voila!

Now is a great time to plant BULBS for spring. If you haven’t considered it, why not try garlic? Couldn’t be easier and we’ll show you how. And while you’re at it, might as well plop a few tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc to get that wow look as soon as the snow melts. Remember wanting that color last year when it started showing up in your neighborhood? This is how to get it—plant during October. Very easy.

Hey, don’t toss those containers from your spring plants! They can be very helpful when decorating for the holidays. We will help you fill them with WINTERGREENS to cheer your outdoors all winter long. Think 16” Moss Hanging Basket or 12” or 10”…or your deck planters. How beautiful they are when greened and decorated! We have many upcoming classes during November where you’ll be able to bring your own pots/hanging baskets/deck planters and fill them up during our workshops–and save some dough!

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Fall Mums are Coming!

Posted by on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

We may not be able to feel that chill in the air quite yet; in fact right now on these hot and humid days we can find ourselves longing for that chill….But fall mums are on their way! We have mums, asters, rudbeckia, and more growing in all shapes and sizes… More to come soon!

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Fairy Fest

Posted by on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

In with the old AND in with the new! Timeless tradition and modern folklore…

We are busy preparing for our Fairy Fest happening on Saturday, July 9, 2011 from 10am to 2pm. This is a first for us but we have all been inspired by the charm and magic of Fairy gardens! We are Fairy Crazy! This Saturday we will be hosting a celebration of Fairies of all ages. This event will be complete with live music and a fairy gardenmother telling stories. We hope you will join us. Check out our website for more details…

Here is a little background information on the creators of many of the fairy products that we carry. It is interesting that some of the products are designed by a very modern artist and some are from the early 1900’s.  The mystique of fairies lives on even today.

Cicely May Barker was born in West Croydon, Surrey on June 28, 1895. She was fascinated with fairies all of her life and had a passion for creating them along with poems and stories. She drew her inspiration from real people, often her younger sister, and her drawings of plants are always botanically correct. Her attention to detail and the sweet charm of her fairies are what make her art a timeless tradition, and many of her creations are still sold all over the world today.

We also have many pieces by Marjolein Gulinski.  She is a self-taught young artist from the Netherlands who designs all of her own work. Marjolein places special emphasis on the faces of fairies and desires for the fairy to “look kindly at her.” The attention to detail in the face and also the attention to coloring make these fairies exceptionally charming for any spot in your home or garden.

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Potager Gardens

Posted by on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

A traditional kitchen garden, a plot near the back door or kitchen door, a place to find common vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers to add freshness to your family’s dinner table…. Potager gardens are usually ornamental and visually appealing. These gardens are very functional and can be customized to what you and your family will eat. These gardens are becoming more and more popular with the rising prices of fresh vegetables and with more families eating organic. What a great lesson to show children where the food on their plate at dinner comes from!

We love the idea of these Potager Gardens being completely functional and also beautiful; so we decided to give them a try here in our own display gardens. We designed a knot garden and filled it with rosemary, swiss chard, radishes, lavender, basil, and chives; just to name a few. Kids and adults alike will love a pizza garden; we planted our own using a paste tomato, peppers, basil, and oregano.

Raised beds are growing in popularity and with good reason; some benefits of raised beds are that they are higher and easier to work in rather than the ground, their soil can more easily be amended with fertilizer or compost, and they dramatically reduce weeds. What’s not to love?

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