Blossom end rot, a common problem

Starting to see Blossom End Rot on samples of tomatoes brought in by customers. We even have it on some of our tomatoes. It also occurs on squash, and peppers. Usually the "blossom end" of the fruit develops a black spot that eventually destroys the fruit. It's very common, and fortunately an easy cure. The number one reason for it is a "calcium deficiency". Calcium is an important nutrient, that is sometimes lacking in our soil, or in the soilless mixes we use. We use a product called, Foli-Cal, which when mixed with water and applied will quickly remedy the situation. The fruit that is stricken won't get better, but new fruit will be OK! Don't delay, feed with Foli-cal today! 

Try the Padrón pepper for your next tapas.

 In Spain “tapas” are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks. Tapas are designed to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. One fantastic food for tapas is The Padrón Pepper.

These small-fruited peppers originated in Galicia, northwest Spain, where the bite-sized green fruits are sauteed in olive oil and served with coarse-ground sea salt in tapas bars across the country. Also fine for pickled peppers; the heat increases as they ripen to red. The Padrón is an authentic regional variety. These peppers are grown along the banks of the river Ulla and its tributary Sar, especially in the greenhouses of the municipality of Padrón, hence the name. This pepper is also currently grown in various places of southern Spain and Morocco.

We have limited supply of organically grown Padrón started plants for 2.99 ea. We also have over 10 different varieties of peppers available. 

Behold The "Czerno Krimski"

The "Black Krim" Tomato originates from the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea, near the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Soldiers returning home from the Crimean War, in the late 19th century, gathered these seeds and began sharing them.

A true 'beefsteak' tomato, since the fruits are both large with a very 'meaty' but with juicy firm, delicious flesh. A favorite out here on The West Coast for sandwiches, many say it's "ugly" looking. I find it intriguing, and pleasantly unlike the almost to perfect looking red tomatoes we see in the store. Besides, its flavor makes it well worth it's unique appearance.

They are not always easy to find in the grocery store so most people grow them to assure a steady supply during the summer, and fall. Since they are an heirloom type of tomato, the seeds can be saved and planted next season. It’s one of our more popular varieties at the nursery and our home where we can grill them on the BBQ.

San Marzano, the best paste tomato

Considered by chefs as the best paste tomato in the world.  Compared to the Roma Tomato, San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Also, unlike the Roma Tomato  San Marzano vines are indeterminate and have a somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties. As is typical of heirloom plants, San Marzano is an open-pollinated variety that breeds true from generation to generation, making seed saving practical for the home gardener or farmer.

According to Wikipedia, "the first seed of the San Marzano tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area that corresponds to the present commune of San Marzano sul Sarno. They come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for another popular paste tomato, the Roma Tomato.  The Roma is a cross between a San Marzano and two other varieties (one of which was also a San Marzano hybrid), was introduced by the USDA in 1955.

We have a limited quantity of organically grown San Marzano starts  for 2.99.

Our organically grown summer vegetables have arrived!

Our first organically grown summer vegetable starts have arrived. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and more. While I still think its a bit early to plant for me, lots of people have warmer microclimates, or just want to give it a try. We also still have plenty of spring vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, pak choi, and peas. So whatever you decide, its time to get planting! 

Earwigs are out to destroy your seedlings!

With new vegetable and flower seedlings going in some people are reporting what appears to be chewing going on. No pests are seen, but the leaves start to look like swiss cheese with all the holes. This pictures shows the classic damage from "earwigs", or "pincer bugs". The reason they are not seen during the day is they are nocturnal (operate at night) and come sunrise they hide under rocks, hay, potted plants, just about anywhere it's dark. 

Here at the nursery we use "Sluggo Plus" to get prevent and get rid of earwig damage. Sluggo Plus is the safest and most effective killer and barrier of snails and slugs we have ever used here at the nursery. Its active ingredient is iron phosphate, which is completely safe for pets and wildlife. (It also contains a small amount of spinosad, which is what kills the earwigs.) And as it decomposes, it becomes a fertilizer your garden will really appreciate! Available in 1lb, and 2.5 lb sizes. 1 lb will treat up to 2000 sq. ft.

Vegetables or lawn during drought?

Interesting article in The Sacramento Bee concerning whether to garden this year because of the drought.  It follows the same thinking we have here at the nursery. Use water to grow your food, and make cut backs in the ornamental side of the garden. From the article, "How much water do tomatoes need? Or more specifically, how much does a full-size fruit-bearing tomato plant need to get through a Sacramento summer while providing a good crop of flavorful tomatoes? The average is 5 gallons a week – less than that needed by a square foot of lawn." Wow!

The article continues, "In the vegetable garden, opt for lower-water crops such as legumes (garbanzo beans, limas, tepary beans, etc.), cucumbers, melons, cantaloupe and squash. Skip the corn (it takes more water than lawn), but concentrate on crops that produce a lot of food with what water they get. That includes peppers, eggplant and, of course, tomatoes."

There is no question that growing your own healthy, safe food is the right thing to do, drought or not. We must eat, and either you, or some farmer in the Central Valley is going to use that water to grow or raise that food. 

Maybe it's time to replace that lawn with something you can eat?


Soil Moist Natural Water Storing Granules


Soil Moist Natural is a grafted starch polymer designed to reduce plant waterings by 50% and last in the soil for an entire season. The organic starch in Soil Moist Natural is derived from corn. Soil Moist Natural is completely safe and biodegradable. The product will hold several hundred times it weight in tap water and readily releases it back to the plant as the soil dries out. Ideal for hanging baskets, annual beds and vegetables.

Use 1 teaspoon per 10" container. The product must be incorporated into the soil at the root level.

3oz. 4.99, 8 oz. 9.99, 1 lb. 16.99, 3lb. 39.99

The Bokashi Bucket

We have been looking for a way to compost all our kitchen scraps, including meat, bones, coffee, and dairy. Whatever method we use it cannot smell bad as we want to keep it right in the kitchen for convenience. We think the answer is with The Bokashi Bucket.

The Bokashi Bucket comes to us from Hawaii, and harnesses the power of beneficial microbes using anaerobic (no oxygen) to break down the food waste.  It's 100% natural and 100% safe for people, plants and the environment. The Bokashi Bucket turns your food waste into a nutrient-rich compost that your plants, tress and lawn will love. Dirt ain't cheap anymore. Why buy it when you can make it!

The complete Bokashi Bucket home composting system includes everything you need to get started with Bokashi composting.

Each Bokashi Bucket System includes:

  • Bokashi Bucket
  • 1 bag Bokashi Activator Mix
  • Strainer Plate
  • Smasher Tool

We just ordered some and should have the first shipment in a week. We are looking to see if people are interested, as we will order more based on that interest. Let us know if you would like us to order you one. You can also come to the store and pick one up starting in a week. Cost for the system, $69.99

Here is a link to the companies website where you can find out more about The Bokashi Bucket

Blueberries in your garden

It seems blueberries have become one of the most popular home fruits to grow. Especially here in California where blueberry culture was difficult in the past. New varieties, many of which are known as "Southern Highbush", have enabled Californian's to grow fantastic fruit.  These Southern Highbush types we're bred for heat resistance, unlike the blueberries know as Northern Lowbush. Northern Lowbush we're the only types available to us in the day, and getting them to produce was difficult. The Southern Highbush have changed all that.

We sell 5 varieties of blueberries. All have been chosen to produce well here in our particular area. I grow mine in containers, but you can grow them in the ground if you like. They grow best in full sun, but will tolerate some afternoon shade. Most grow to about 4 foot tall and wide, and if you care for them properly they can produce for months in the summer. 

If you can grow more than one variety so they can cross pollinate and produce even more berries. Join Ed Livo as he takes us on a tour of his backyard, and shows us whats possible. Dave Wilson Nursery is where we procure our blueberry plants. 


The natives are restless

24731In this case the natives are insects native to Africa, who have decided that California is the place they ought to be. The Bagrada Bug arrived in Southern California just 6 years ago and already had decides to move north. The experts were hoping the colder winters might kill them off, but they decided to hide in the top layers of soil during winter. Come spring they emerge to eat stuff like "cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, but they don't appear to be picky eaters. They have been known to feed on a wide variety of garden vegetables in California, including green beans, cantaloupe, corn, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and sunflower. Even landscape plants are not immune. Bagrada bugs have been found feeding on ornamental plants in the mustard family, like sweet alyssum, stock and candytuft."24851

From the comment section at The Yolo county extension service, "I am a Master Gardener in LA County, managing a vegetable garden in The City of Bell. Bagrada bug has massively taken over arugula and to a lesser degree, Kale. I tried soapy water spray and pinching but could not keep up with them. Now I vacuum these crops on an almost daily basis with a hand held dust buster. WOW! I get hundreds every day and it is pretty quick to do. I have ordered some stink bug traps and will bait them with alyssum. I think that between the two controls, I MAY be able to grow greens this fall without a huge infestation."