The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Shelby Taylor

Dandy Valley plants good ideas


Shelby Taylor

PERFECT EXAMPLE OF PHOTO SYNTHESIS: The Falters of Dandy Valley Farms always have something colorful in their store.

Digging into this story, I was excited to talk to the 'plant manager' about the plot of the business.

During the spring, business blossoms quite nicely, but later in the year, the demand seems to get rough around the hedges. Getting to the root of the problem, owners of the business Ron and Perpetua (Poh, pronounced 'Pooh') Falter explain, "People usually think about planting in the spring but they don't realize that it's actually a great time to plant in the fall."

This was news to me, but I guess gardeners always know the ground rules. "Once you plant them, just make sure they're good and watered before the ground freezes, then you don't have to do anything during the winter." explained Ron.

You can simply sit back while your tree goes into dormancy and the roots take hold. In the spring, your trees are re-leaved. Currently in stock for fall planting are fruit trees, berry plants, ornamental trees, conifer trees, and shade trees of all kinds.

Ron has run the farm for almost 27 years, with Poh joining almost seven years ago. The nursery features: bedding plants (vegetables, fruit, and other garden plants), flowers (all of your annuals and perennials), trees (fruit, ornamental, shade,and conifer), shrubs of all kinds, and even wheat.

With multiple expansions over the years, Ron is proud to say his business is a full service nursery. Anything not on site, he will haul in for custom orders. "If a person wants different kinds of nursery stock and/or the amendments they need, like plant potting soils and so forth, we haul those in too." says Ron. One of the only trees he doesn't have on hand are palm trees. (For that tree pun I had to go out on a limb.)

Ron's experience in the industry reaches back to his childhood, growing up on a small farm in Kalama. "We had a huge garden and my dad always had me out there helping him. You learn how to grow the best way; the natural way." Ron said. "I've always loved growing food."

But Ron hasn't always been your typical farmer. With his father being a musician, Ron grew up playing (drums and percussion) first in their own family band, and then in high school with friends. After a manager became interested, they toured with Bobby Daren all over the northwest. Later, Ron continued touring with Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, and Carl Perkins Jr. One of his significant tours was with Buddy Knox, who was extremely popular in Canada.

By 22, Ron went on to pursue an education in music, nearly obtaining his doctorate degree. He played in showrooms in places such as Lake Tahoe and Reno, for stars such as Elvis, young Michael Jackson, and Donny Osmond. Eventually he taught at universities in Oregon and Nevada and presented lectures all over the country.

After years of performing, Ron's cousin convinced him to settle down here in Goldendale, and rediscover his gardening roots.

But if Ron's background wasn't interesting enough, Poh describes her move to Goldendale as, "From fashion to farming!" Poh and her family own a small boutique in the Philippines for gown rentals. "Before, I would prepare the clothes for weddings. Here, I continue, but I prepare all the flowers instead." Poh laughs. "It's been amazing for me. I just go with the flow." Poh, who speaks four languages, has friends reaching all over the world. Her advice is, "Enjoy life. Go places!"

The two have plans to eventually take some time after the nursery is winterized and go back to the Philippines and visit. But for now, they're continuously improving the farm.

One thing Ron was excited to share was his new cutting hedge technology. A new service he is offering is rototilling your garden for an hourly charge. "And I can rototill a lot in an hour." Ron chuckled. And you know gardeners they till it like it is.

Additionally, the fertilizer business is a growing industry, but Ron's not following the herd. "That's the most unique thing about our nursery. We mix our own soils using real soil. That's what we're known for--naturally grown." Ron said. "The whole nursery industry uses commercial fertilizer for everything. It's a soil-less mix made of bark dust.. Etc. then they add the nutrients to that medium."

But your plant gets quite the shock when you bury it in an unfamiliar place. i.e. your soil at home. "Even if it doesn't wilt right before your eyes, which a lot of them do," He laughs, "they're still in shock. It will take anywhere from 10 days to three weeks for that plant to adjust to the soil and start growing."

Ron's plants, having grown in real soil, allow the customer to eliminate the shock and loss of growing period. "If you go to buy a plant or tree or any other nursery around, you won't get that." he says. Ron sells soil mixes, top soil, rotted bark dust, decorative top dressings and delivers orders. He also has premium potting soils, such as mushroom composts and organic potting soil. "We try to accommodate all of the needs of the customer. That's what makes us a full service nursery."

Don't let your gardening ambitions fall; now is the best time to spring into gear. Start your garden adventures today with Dandy Valley Farm & Nursery at 174 Rimrock Rd. Call Ron and Poh Falter at 773-3373.


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