March 2018 Newsletter

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Seed potatoes

WE ARE EXTENDING BARE ROOT SEASON FOR TWO MORE WEEKS. WE STILL HAVE A REASONABLE SELECTION OF FRUIT TREES AVAILABLE BARE ROOT. DON’T WAIT TILL TOO LATE TO BUY BARE ROOT FRUIT TREES. THE COOLER WEATHER IS KEEPING THEM DORMANT SO WE CAN EXTEND THE SEASON A LITTLE LONGER. ONCE WE POT THEM UP, THE PRICE GOES UP. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EXTENDED SEASON AND GET BARE ROOT FRUIT TREES NOW.

March has started out a bit cool this year. Winter decided to come a bit late. It actually is still winter by the calendar until the 20th which is the first day of spring. Lots of nice rain to start off the month. My rain total for the winter up through the end of February is 15.25″ so far since October here at the nursery. As I write this, we had another 1.5″ overnight last night and more rain coming through Friday at least. Last year at this point we were at 38 inches for the same period.

It is now time to get ready to start fertilizing.The rain is going to get the ground good and moist, and with the above average temperatures we had in February, many trees are leafing out. As soon as deciduous trees and shrubs have their full set of leaves, you should give them their first fertilizing of the year. A balanced fertilizer works well for most things. Use a rhododendron, camellia, azalea fertilizer for your acid loving plants. Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons after they are done blooming. Same thing for camellias. Citrus should use a citrus fertilizer.

Some citrus may have suffered some damage from the freeze we had last week. If you have that problem, I would suggest treating them with Superthrive. It will help them to get past the damage. Start fertilizing as soon as the danger of frost is past. I think it will be safe in another week or two. Most likely we are past hard freezes. Fertilize citrus monthly through the growing season. Speaking of citrus, we now have some of our citrus in and avocados are on order and will be in soon along with more citrus. With the late freeze we just had, I pushed the shipment back a week to be sure we are past freezes. I expect next week or the following they will be in. Call ahead to check. I will send out an email as soon as they arrive. We will have a nice selection to choose from.

It’s a good time to plant seed potatoes now too. We have Red, Russet, Yukon Gold and Kenebec. They sell for $2.50 a pound. If you’ve never grown seed potatoes, they are very easy to do. And the potatoes you get when you grow your own are much better than the ones you buy at the store. To plant them, cut them into pieces with two eyes per piece. Let the pieces you cut dry enough to scab over the cut. Plant the pieces in the soil about 8 to 12 inches deep and add the dirt back over as they grow and even mound up as the plants grow. The roots under ground produce the potatoes.

Roses in plantable paper pots. $21.00 each. Grade #1.

Roses should be leafing out now. If you have not pruned back roses, it is still a good time to do it. If you have any that are really large cause of neglected pruning during prior seasons, prune them down now. Prune roses down to 12 to 24 inches tall with several strong canes left and an open center.

Be sure to start spraying roses with a fungicide now. We have had a dry winter but we are getting rain now so don’t neglect to spray or rose diseases could get started. We use Neem Oil every two weeks here at the nursery on the roses to prevent aphids and fungus problems.

It’s time to start fertilizing roses as well. Roses are heavy feeders. They should be fertilized about every 6 weeks. Use a rose food or you can use a balanced all purpose fertilizer as well. I use a combination of the two on my roses and it works very well.

SPRING VEGETABLE PLANTING

We will have vegetable starts in two to three weeks. As soon as we get a few warm days, we will have requests for summer vegetable starts. It really is too early to put them in now. We will wait a couple of weeks before we will be carrying them. Maybe longer depending on weather. The rule of thumb is to waittill overnight lows are consistently 50 degrees or higher and the ground is no longer cold to the touch. You can start seeds indoors now and you can start prepping the soil now. Add bone meal or oyster shell to the soil along with the vegetable fertilizer when you are prepping the soil. Bone meal adds phosphorous for root development and supplements calcium. Oyster shell adds calcium. Calcium will help to prevent blossom end rot. We also have calcium nitrate which can be added to help prevent it. I use organic fertilizer on my vegetable garden. I use bone meal and oyster for calcium and phosphorous, and tomato and vegetable fertilizer and kelp meal. Kelp meal helps to prevent diseases. About half way through the season I re apply fertilizer and bone meal.

We will be having an organic vegetable gardening class on March 7th and April 8th. I will send out email reminders for that. We may also do one on the 17th and 18th if people are interested that early in the season. Please send me some feedback on when you would like to see those classes, or any other classes, and I will try to accommodate schedules as much as possible. The 24th and 25th are not available for classes since I will be at the Yuba City Home and Garden Show.

If you were not able to get the dormant spraying done on your fruit trees because of all the rain, we do have a fungicide that works after the fact if you end up with leaf curl. It is made by Dr. Earth and it works well at curing the problem. One other thing to consider with fruit trees is the damage that occurs on nectarines and peaches. The fruit can be damaged by a bug when it is very small and then as it matures the damage grows. To prevent this, spray with neem oil or horticultural oil after the petals have dropped and you are sure the bees have finished pollinatiing. This should help to minimize the problem by keeping the bug that causes the damage off the small fruit that is forming. Be sure to fertilize your fruit trees when they have their full set of leaves. Use a balanced fertilizer of a fruit tree fertilizer. We carry both.

This time of year, we start getting lots of merchandise in. Usually weekly or every other week we get things in. If there is something that you are looking for that we do not have, we can usually have it within a week or two as long as it is available. Lots of new stuff comes in regularly through the spring.

Don’t forget daylight savings time begins March 11th.

A note on our hours. We are open 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday and 10 to 4 Sunday.

We hope to see you soon.

Jeff