Have you Tried Growing Your Own Potatoes?

potato-russetPotatoes have arrived. Why not give your taste buds a treat by growing your own. They taste remarkably better fresh and growing them is easy; winter rains and colder temperatures take care of them for much of the season, and when harvest time comes they taste far superior to store bought.  Our most popular varieties, as well as specialty spuds, are in stock now.

Here is our Collection.

Colorado Rose
Bred for early, large yields. Beautiful oval tubers with white firm flesh, good for salads or roasting.

Russian Banana
3-4″ long and an inch in diameter, Russian Fingerling potatoes mature in 3-4 months from planting.

Kennebec
One of the most popular and high-yielding potatoes grown.

Adirondack Blue Potato
Tasty purple flesh with bluish skin. Good tasting roasted.

NORKOTA RUSSET (Coming Later this week)
Very similar to Idaho’s famous Burbank. The good old-fashioned baking potato with the rough skin. This one is much more disease resistant than the Burbank and very productive too.

YUKON GOLD (Coming Later this week)
This is an early potato that matures in 65+ days. Buttery yellow flesh is delicious. Variety makes a good steamer/boiler or use in salads.

Purple Viking
An improved variety with white flesh and russeted, patterned, purple skin.

Planting Tips

Preparing the Soil
Like most garden vegetables, potatoes prefer loose well-drained soil. We need to lighten our heavy clay soils by mixing at least 3″ of MASTER NURSERY PLANTING MIX into the top 6″-12″ of soil; you’ll need three bags for every 50 square feet of planting area. Also, incorporate two pounds of MASTER NURSERY 0-10-10 to encourage root and stem growth, and two pounds Iron Sulfate to buffer the soil pH.

Choose “Certified Potatoes”
Our potatoes have been inspected to assure they are disease-free and are ready to be planted in your garden. Choose from our improved selection which includes many of the popular new colored varieties.

Cut and Dry the Potatoes
Cut the potatoes into chunks 1 ½” square with at least two eyes. Spread them in a single layer (cut side up) and allow to air dry at least overnight. Cut surfaces are dry to the touch. The air-dried cut pieces are less likely to rot in the cool, wet soil. Dusting with sulfur before planting will further decrease the chance of disease infection.

Plant
Form rows that are 4″ deep and 2′ apart. Set the seed potato pieces in rows, cut side down, 12″ – 18″ apart. Do not plant if the soil is very wet, but be sure to water thoroughly after planting. Or plant in our fabric bags. Fabric bags are great to grow in, and harvesting is easy.

Hilling Up
The potatoes will form above, not below, the planted pieces. When the plants reach 5″ – 6″ tall, draw up loose soil (or a soil/straw mix) around the plants so that only 2″ of the stem is exposed. Hill soil up again in 2-3 weeks. Hilling up gives the potatoes a light soil to expand into as they grow.

Water & Feed
After growth begins, give the plants regular deep watering (once per week). Feed potatoes monthly with MASTER NURSERY TOMATO AND VEGETABLE FOOD, a balanced fertilizer. This along with the MASTER NURSERY 0-10-I0 and Iron Sulfate incorporated at planting completes the nutritional requirements.

Harvest

Dig early or “new” potatoes when plant tops begin to flower, dig mature potatoes when tops die down. Dig carefully to avoid bruising or cutting them. Store in a dark place at approximately 40 degrees.

As always, check with one of our staff members if you have any further questions.

mna_tomato[1]

What you will need:

  • Master Nursery Planting Mix
  • Master Nursery Tomato & Vegetable Food
  • Master Nursery 0-10-10
  • Iron Sulfate

Grow Potatoes in Fabric Pots

fabric-pot-potatoHave you ever tasted potatoes fresh dug from the garden?  The taste is incomparable to store bought types and growing in a bag or container is very easy.

We have fabric growing pots that have several advantages over conventional garden growing. They drain well and they are easy to harvest.

These fabric planting pots are made with a spun fabric that feels like felt.  The pots drain well, they allow air into the roots and cause the roots to “self-prune” as they hit the edge of the pot. Roots normally hit the wall of a container and simply turn to wrap around the inside of the pot. With fabric pots, the roots prune themselves when they hit the air and they branch instead of turn.

Fabric pots also have the advantage of remaining cool in the sun.  Normal plastic containers can reach hard-to-touch temperatures on a hot day, but fabric pots breathe, releasing the heat.

Grow your Potatoes the Easy Way!

Prepare
Cut seed potatoes into chunks having at least 2 eyes each. Allow the pieces to dry and callous at least overnight.

Fill the container about 1/3 full with a 50/50 mixture of Master Nursery Bumper Crop and either garden soil, or Master Nursery Potting Soil.

Plant
Plant one seed potato for each 3 gallons of fabric pot capacity. For the #15 container, for example, plant 5 seed potatoes. For the #10 container, plant 3 or 4 seed potatoes. Place the seed potatoes evenly in the container.

Water the soil thoroughly. It should be moist but not soggy.

Care
Soon, you will see little stems pop through the soil. Mound up more soil/compost mix, but do not to cover the leaves. The leaves need sun and air exposure.

As the potatoes continue growing, keep adding the soil/compost mix until you reach the top of the container.

Mid to late summer the potato leaves and stems will begin to turn yellow. Timing will vary somewhat depending on the potato variety.

When the foliage has died back and the weather is cooler, stop all watering about 2 weeks prior to harvest. The leaves and stems will turn almost completely yellow. You are ready to harvest.

Harvest
Don’t use a spade or sharp instrument! Pull out all the stems and leaves, wearing gloves. Dig in and find your hidden potatoes.

Store
Arrange potatoes in a single row for a day and allow to dry. Then brush off the soil. Store potatoes in a cool, dry area with good ventilation. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator!

Bag Care
Fabric containers are reusable! Shake out any extra soil and allow the container to dry. Store in a dry location until you are ready to start again next spring.

Read more about growing potatoes.

January Vegetable Guide

 

Vegetable Plant Time Plants for a family of 4 Special Notes Plant Now
Artichoke Year ’round 3 – 4 plants Permanent, perennial. Bareroot 
Asparagus January – February 30 – 40 plants Permanent, perennial. Pick up free planting guide. Bareroot 
Broccoli August – February 15 – 20 ft. row Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From starts or seeds
Brussels Sprouts August – February 15 – 20 ft. row N/A From starts or seeds
Cabbage August – February 10 – 15 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Cabbage, Chinese August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Carrots Year ’round 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seeds
Cauliflower August – February 10 – 15 plants Tie leaves up and over head to protect from frosts. From starts or seeds
Celery August – February 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Chard August – February 3 – 4 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Chives Year ’round 1 clump Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Endive August – February 10 – 15 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Garlic October – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Note: plant through EARLY January for best results From Bulbs
Leeks August – February 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Lettuce August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Mustard August – April 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Onions  November – March 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. starts
Parsley Year ’round 1 – 2 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Peas September – January 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Potatoes January – March 50 – 100 ft. row Arriving Early January for planting through mid-March
Radishes Year ’round 4 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seed
Rhubarb December – February 2 – 3 plants Bare root in November – January, Canned in February – April and again in September and October. Bareroot
Spinach September – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Strawberries June – September 12+ plants Bare root in November – 6-Pack arriving in March. Bareroot after 11-12

January Garden Checklist

With and without winter fertilizer – Note the yellow lawn in the foreground

checkbox Feed the lawn monthly even during cold winter months. This not only maintains its attractive green color all winter it also minimizes rust disease and other problems resulting from malnutrition. Masters Fall and Winter Lawn Fertilizer is specially formulated for the winter season.

checkbox 2018 Roses are arriving every week! Come select early to get growing.

checkbox Choose your Camellias now! Seeing is believing, so choose now while they are in bloom. The selection is great and you’ll be able to pick just the right color for your winter garden.

checkbox Move your living tree outdoors. Care for other holiday gift plants such as azaleas and camellias by placing them outside where they will thrive in cooler temperatures.
Brighten the garden with colorful bedding plants. Refresh your garden containers with primroses, pansies, Iceland poppies and more. Check with the staff for helpful advice and ideas.

checkbox The Berries are looking awesome this year! In stock now . . . we have a great assortment of Blackberries, including Olallie Blackberries, Raspberries, Huckleberries, Gooseberries, and Blueberries. In addition to all of our berries, we also have Currants, Olives, and Grapes. This is the best time to shop for the best selection.

checkbox Spray Your Roses Now. An application of dormant oil just after winter pruning on roses will help reduce pest populations by smothering over-wintering eggs. Spraying fungicides, as well, will halt diseases such as rust, blackspot and powdery mildew. Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil is listed for use on organic gardens.

checkbox Treat Hydrangeas for Bright Blue flower color. Apply Master Nursery Hydra Blue monthly until summer for bright blue hydrangeas.

checkbox Protect frost tender plants when frosts are expected. Spray with Cloud Cover and for added protection drape frost tender plants with Fast Start Plant Blanket Fabric. Try not to let the covering material rest on the plant. String non-LED Christmas tree lights on your frost-tender plants when a freeze is expected. The warmth from the bulbs will provide another measure of protection.

checkbox Prune most fruit trees, roses and other leafless trees and shrubs from December through January. WARNING: Do not prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees such as lilac, quince, flowering cherry etc. until the blooming period is over.

 

December Vegetable Guide

December Vegetables

Vegetable

Plant Time

Amount Family of Four

Special Notes

Plant Now

Artichoke Year ’round 3 – 4 plants Permanent, perennial Bareroot after mid-November
Asparagus January – February 30 – 40 plants Permanent, perennial. Pick up free planting guide. Bareroot after mid-November
Broccoli August – February 15 – 20 ft. row Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From starts or seeds
Brussels Sprouts August – February 15 – 20 ft. row N/A From starts or seeds
Cabbage August – February 10 – 15 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Cabbage, Chinese August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Carrots Year ’round 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seeds
Cauliflower August – February 10 – 15 plants Tie leaves up and over head to protect from frosts. From starts or seeds
Celery August – February 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Chard August – February 3 – 4 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From starts or seeds
Chives Year ’round 1 clump Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Endive August – February 10 – 15 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Garlic October – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Note: plant through EARLY January for best results From Bulbs
Kohlrabi August – November 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Leeks August – February 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Lettuce August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Mustard August – April 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Onions (bare root) November – December 60 plants Stockton red, white & yellow. Suitable for small garden. Plant 2″ apart, thin and use during the winter. Leave 6″-8″ between remaining plants. Harvest large hamburger slicers in June. Bundles
Onions (bulb) November – March 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Bulbs
Onions (green) August – December —- Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Parsley Year ’round 1 – 2 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Peas September – January 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Radishes Year ’round 4 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seed
Rhubarb December – February 2 – 3 plants Bare root in November – January, Canned in February – April and again in September and October. Bareroot from mid-November
Spinach September – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Strawberries June – September 12+ plants Bare root in November – 6-Pack arriving in March. Bareroot after mid-November

Bare Root Vegetables

bare-root-veg-table

Artichoke, Rhubarb, Asparagus, and Horseradish have arrived bare root.

Bare root vegetables are easy to overlook because they come at a time of year not often thought of a vegetable growing season, and because they look unimpressive in a display. Frankly, they are ugly and look more like cast offs.

They are often just soil-less twig-like roots without a hint of green. They look like they might need a lot of care and special skills just to be brought to life, but in reality, they are easier to plant because they tend to be hardier and more forgiving than seedlings.

Once planted, bare root vegetables have all the advantages of being perennial. They live year after year.

Artichoke is tops on the list because it makes a stunning landscape plant as well as being a productive edible.

Asparagus is right up there in terms of favorites.

Rhubarb, popular in colder climates grows well in rich soil located with afternoon shade.

Horseradish is best planted in a pot to contain its growth.

 

 

Bare Root Onions

Bare root onions typically arrive early to mid-November and remain in stock only a short time.  Red and white are in stock now, Torpedo and yellow onions expected early this week

Many gardeners wait for this moment, come in while supplies are good.

Our supplier starts the onions from seed in August and carefully nurtures them along to bare root stage.  These onions come in varieties including yellow, white, Torpedo, and gardener’s favorite, Stockton Red. We bundle them in packs of 30. Bare root is the preferred method of planting for many long-time gardeners.

Onions grow best during cool weather and are usually planted in the fall in California for late spring harvest. Plant in rows 1 to 2 feet apart in a moist seedbed, in full sun. Bare root seedlings should be planted 1 inch deep and 6″ apart.

Use our Recipe for Good Garden Soil and then get ready to plant.

Stews are Better with Home Grown Winter Vegetables

winterstew[1]As the days shorten and the earth cools down it becomes the perfect recipe for planting a garden for fall and winter vegetables.

In California, vegetable gardening doesn’t stop with the fall harvest. There are many varieties of vegetables that do best in cool weather. Lettuce, cabbages, root vegetables such as carrots and beets are a few of them. It’s also an ideal time to start a winter hardy herb garden. The cooler temperatures will allow the herbs to be firmly established by the warmer days of spring. Herbs also do well in containers or planted along walkways where their fragrance is released as someone brushes against them.

Remember, a garden started now means fresh vegetables for winter stews and garden salads as well as herbal seasonings all year round.

If you haven’t planted your winter vegetables yet, this would be a good time. The vegetable starts are here now with fresh shipments arriving weekly. Use our Recipe for Good Garden Soil and then get ready to plant.

Fresh carrots, onions, cabbage will all taste great in winter stews and casseroles. Come in and choose now. We have Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Chard, Cabbage,  Parsley, Spinach, Herbs, Lettuce and much more from seeds or starts, and we have Garlic and Onions from bulbs.

Onion Bulbs Are In!

Ready to plant now for harvest next summer. Choose from red, yellow, or white onions, or choose shallots. Place bulbs 3 to 4 inches apart in rows that are 15 to 18 inches apart. Begin to harvest the green tops in 3 to 4 weeks, if you like. Onions are shallow rooted plants, so keep them moist and free of weeds. Winter rains will soon do all the watering for you, making onions one of the easiest vegetables to grow ín the garden.

 

October Vegetable Guide

October vegetable gardening includes the addition of garlic, shallots and onions to the mix of leafy greens and cabbage/cauliflower relatives already on the table.

Garlic, shallots and onions from bulbs go into the ground now through mid-November

Leafy greens, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots thrive when planted now before weather cools.

Vegetable Plant Time Amount
(family of 4)
Special Notes Plant Now
Artichoke Year ’round 3 – 4 plants Permanent, perennial. 4″ Pots
Garlic October – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Note: plant through EARLY January for best results From Bulbs
Onions (bulb) September – March 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown.  Onions are available as bulbs in fall and as bare root plants in early November.   From Bulbs
Carrots Year ’round 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seeds
Chives Year ’round 1 clump Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Parsley Year ’round 1 – 2 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts
Radishes Year ’round 4 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Seed
Broccoli August – February 15 – 20 ft. row Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Brussels Sprouts August – February 15 – 20 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Cabbage August – February 10 – 15 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Cabbage, Chinese August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Cauliflower August – February 10 – 15 plants Tie leaves up and over head to protect from frosts. From Starts or Seeds
Celery August – February 20 – 30 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Chard August – February 3 – 4 plants Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Endive August – February 10 – 15 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Kohlrabi August – November 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds
Leeks August – February 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Lettuce August – February 10 – 15 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Mustard August – April 10 ft. row N/A From Starts or Seeds
Onions (green) August – December —- Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Peas September – January 30 – 40 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Can be planted more than once/year for a continuous harvest. From Starts or Seeds
Spinach September – January 10 – 20 ft. row Suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. From Starts or Seeds

 

Seize the Season

With Fall officially rolling in this month on the calendar (though maybe not on the thermometer), it’s time to design and plant your cool season garden!

Your wheelbarrow is brimming with starts and seeds for broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, green leafy lettuces, kale, chard, cabbage, snow peas, snap peas, and mustards. Now what? Take a moment to envision how and where you can enhance your landscape by sowing this bounty.

Welcome

Create a welcoming entry statement in your garden with a small gate or pergola. This marks your garden as a special “place”.

Layout your crops with an eye for pattern. Plant colorful lettuces in a square instead of straight rows. Use cabbages to punctuate the corners. Border them with herbs or annuals – why not edible annual flowers like violas or nasturtiums? Or try a dynamic arrangement of diagonals or chevron patterns to lead your eye through the garden.

Add exclamation marks to the center of your plantings. Taller flowering herbs like dill or fennel or yarrow can give you some height while attracting all important pollinators. Or use a decorative structure such as a painted tee pee, a wire obelisk, colorful tomato cage or ornate trellis, or an Artichoke!

Plan tidy pathways made of bark or gravel to surround and organize your beds. No water use here. Put a couple of layers of overlapping cardboard underneath to keep down weeds.

Subdivide the interior space of large beds with an arrangement of stepping stones. Alden Lane has a beautiful collection of natural slate stepping stones.

Please protect your young tender seedlings from our still high temperatures with frequent watering and some shade during the hottest part of the day. Enrich your soil before planting with G & B Organic compost and Sure Start organic fertilizer.

Weren’t the Pluots heavenly this year? Don’t forget the after harvest fruit tree feeding. A good deep soak (15 gallons of water) followed by fertilizing with Master’s Fruit Tree fertilizer promotes vitality during the spring flowering and fruit set season. Add a shovelful of worm castings or chicken manure around each tree to condition the soil.