Grower Profile: Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery
Friday, October 5, 2018
“Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery.”
Growing plants under extreme conditions in the Sonoran Desert can be a challenge, but Thomas Birt decided to take the risk and started his nursery in the early 90’s with a revolutionary concept. As a clever entrepreneur, he learned and understood the art of growing plants while he was working at another nursery and also by experimenting with growing techniques in his backyard.
Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery started with one acre in the middle of a residential area in Tucson, AZ. It consisted of a small office and a production area for native trees, shrubs and plants. At that time, Thomas managed the crop production area, sales and made deliveries. The hard work paid off and after a couple of years he expanded his production area by purchasing residential properties next to the nursery and constructed new greenhouses.
With the expansion, it was necessary for Thomas to hire a grower to split the work load, then came Guadalupe Velarde. He would be responsible for growing bedding plants, herbs, vegetable transplants, tropical foliage, citrus, roses and orchids. Thomas would still be responsible in the production of shrubs, native trees and plants, succulents and cactus.
Currently, Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery has grown to a 22-acre farm divided into three production areas:
- 3 acres of high tech greenhouses for bedding plants;
- 2 acres of retractable roof greenhouses for trees;
- 2 acres of shade houses for citrus, roses, tropical foliage and vegetable production.
In addition, there is another greenhouse designated to grow plants that require high humidity and low light. Thomas calls it his “Orchid Greenhouse”.
Besides plants, the nursery has a gift shop that offers fine pottery, fountains, outdoor copper sculptures, soil amendments and many types of potting soils including the Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery’s own brand name. Mainly 95% of their sales are from retail and the remaining is wholesale.
“This is just some of the native nursery supply offered by Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery.”
“Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery specializes in cactus and succulents.”
Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery has also a Plant Pharmacy: its objective is to teach customers how to grow plants rather than exchanging “sick” plants for healthy plants. Customers can come in with questions about their unhealthy plants and ask a team of experts for advice about the cause of the problem and prescribe the precise treatment. Customers follow recommendations and if the plant requires a “medicine” it can be purchased onsite. “Medicine” is often a mild pesticide or fertilizer. Customers can also find books and tools for gardening.
Every year, Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery hosts several events during spring season.
This season started with “citrus tasting” which was held the first Saturday of March. During this event, several types of tasteful citrus were offered for customers to sample including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins and even kumquats.
“Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery citrus tasting event.”
During the second Saturday of March, the Tucson Orchid Association held its event at the nursery. Their annual Rose Show was held during the first Saturday of April in which the latest varieties of roses were displayed. Rose lovers waited in line several hours before the nursery opened in order to get the best selection of the most colorful and fragrant roses.
“They have a huge selection of roses that are ready to sell at their rose show.”
Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery has recently started to use PRO-MIX® products and PRO-MOSS® TBK.
Guadalupe was already a satisfied customer with PRO-MIX® products, as he used to grow plants in PRO-MIX® BX early in his career at a different nursery. After several years of using another growing medium at Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, Premier Tech Horticulture’s Grower Service and Sales team set up a trial with PRO-MIX® LP15 MYCORRHIZAE™ and PRO-MIX® HPCC MYCORRHIZAE™. Trials were a success and, being convinced of the benefits of MYCORRHIZAE™, Guadalupe changed his substrates to PRO-MIX®.
Some aspects that made him change were:
- PRO-MIX® products with active ingredients,
- The high quality peat,
- The ongoing and attentive support from the Grower Services and Sales Team.
We wish the best to Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, Thomas Birt and Guadalupe Velarde in their new venture.
For more information, contact your Premier Tech Horticulture Grower Services Representative:
Jose Chen Lopez
PRO-MIX® is a registered trademark of Premier Horticulture Ltd.
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