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Headstart Nursery logo HEADLINES
October 2010   

Holiday Poinsettias Coming Soon

Headstart Poinsettias

It's never too early to get a headstart on your holiday decorating! We are already accepting orders for poinsettias, which will be available the week after Thanksgiving.

Headstart’s gorgeous red poinsettias sell for just $6 a plant (or $36 for a case of six plants). We also offer special discounted fundraiser rates for local schools and non-profit organizations. But our supplies are limited, so be sure to get your order in soon!

For more information, see the Poinsettia section of our website.

Wedding Bells for Heather and Justin

Heather and Justin Guibert

On October 2, Headstart’s Ornamental Sales Manager Heather MacDonald married Justin Guibert, who works in sales at Christopher Ranch. The wedding was held on a beautiful sunny day at the Léal Vineyards winery in Hollister, California. The happy couple spent their honeymoon in the Caribbean.

Please note Heather’s new email address:

Headstart Now Accepts Credit Cards

Credit Card Logos

Headstart Nursery now offers the convenience of paying by credit card. We accept all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Secure transactions are handled online, and payment is transferred automatically.

Headstart Leads Battle Against Bagrada Bug

Bagrada bug

Last fall, Headstart Nursery’s Desert Sea facility in Mecca was among the first to discover a new cole crop pest: the Bagrada bug. Over the last year or so, our production managers have worked closely with researchers at U.C. Riverside and the University of Arizona to determine how best to combat this new pest. As we head into the fall 2010 season, we have decided to move all brassica transplant production back to our main facility in Gilroy, California. Gilroy’s hot summers enable us to grow hardy, pest-free transplants that can get quickly established in desert conditions.

The Bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris) originally hails from Africa and India, so it thrives in hot, dry desert areas. The bug is active at night and preys mostly on the tender leaves of young brassica plants. Last fall, we were able to control infestation in our desert greenhouses with Pyrethroid-based sprays. However, the pest caused a great deal of damage to crops in Yuma, Arizona, and the Imperial and Coachella Valley deserts in 2009-10. In areas that were heavily infested, Bagrada bugs caused as much as 35% yield loss in cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower fields. For more information, download the 2010 Bagrada Bug presentation prepared by John Palumbo at the University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center.

The Bagrada bug battle is far from over. But Headstart Nursery's unique ability to shift crops between our greenhouses in Gilroy and the desert means we can produce the best possible plants for all of our customers year-round.

What’s New in Watermelon and Peppers

Headstart Nursery is already California’s top watermelon and pepper transplant grower, but we continue to explore new ideas for both of these important crops as we head into the fall planting season.

  • Headstart’s significant investment in Ellepot production for watermelon transplants has already proven to be a real game-changer. With Ellepots, we simply don’t see the typical problems of watermelon transplants, especially early in the season. Customer response has been so positive that we may move to Ellepot production exclusively for all watermelon plants shipping January through April.
  • Headstart is also putting in field trials this year of grafted watermelon transplants as one option to prevent “vine collapse” in early desert watermelon fields. The grafting process is expensive, but it has been shown to prevent crop failures in areas like Mexico and the Southeastern U.S., where soil-borne diseases are a major problem. Headstart works with a proven supplier of unrooted grafted plants, and we root them out in Ellepots for trials.
  • We’ve been growing bell pepper transplants since day one at Headstart Nursery, but we continue to innovate in this crop as well. To provide more alternatives for our customers, we are experimenting with growing peppers in different trays to see if we can cut down on energy costs while still supplying top quality transplants. We find that utilizing the high light in the desert allows us to keep plants compact and hardy, even in smaller plug sizes.
  • This year, Headstart field sales reps have also been putting out trials of Classic, a new bell pepper from Sakata Seed. Based on summer trials, Classic looks like a very strong variety that will be a good replacement for Valiant, Wizard, and Encore (which are unavailable for 2010-11 due to seed crop failures). Classic is a high-yielding green to red bell pepper with thick walls and uniform, blocky fruit. Most customers seem excited about the new variety, and we are already getting lots of interest for this year.
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Headstart Nursery, Inc.
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 842-3030

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