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Headstart Nursery logo HEADLINES
June 2011   

Vegetable Availability Now Posted Online

For many years, growers have called asking if we had any extra vegetable plants for sale. Now, it's easy to see what extras are available by just checking the Vegetable Availability page on our website. This spreadsheet will be updated regularly, so you can find what you need to fill out a field or experiment with some new crops and varieties. Both conventional and organic transplants are available.

Updated listings of extra ornamental plugs and liners are also posted to the Headstart website each week.

Mike Fernandez Joins Headstart

Mike Fernandez

We are very pleased to announce that Mike Fernandez has joined the Headstart Nursery team as an Ornamental Sales Representative and Technical Advisor. Mike has worked in the ornamental plant industry for more than 20 years, most recently as a partner at Oro Farms. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise in young plant production and sales.

In addition to his new role at Headstart, Mike will also be representing Danziger "Dan" Flower Farm. To contact Mike directly, call (315) 396-6684 or send email to

Our Growing Family

The Headstart babies just keep coming! Rocio Raya Betanzos (who has worked for many years as a Production Assistant for both the Ornamental and Vegetable departments) and her husband Ervin Betanzos recently welcomed son Mateo, who arrived one month early on June 9. Mateo (shown below at home with Mom) is doing great and already delighting his big sisters Karina and Juliana and proud uncles Tomas and Rodrigo (also longtime Headstart employees). Congratulations!

Rocio and Mateo Betanzos

Wild Weather Leads to
Watermelon Woes

The unusually cool and wet spring we’ve had on the west coast has made a mess of the 2011 watermelon season. A record early February freeze in Mexico devastated many crops there, and the continued gloomy weather throughout the spring and early summer has kept demand low and prices depressed.

Even Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the kickoff to picnic season, was cool and cloudy. And American consumers have made it quite clear they don’t buy watermelon in cold weather!

Weathering the Storms
At Headstart Nursery, the wet weather meant our greenhouses were backed up all spring with watermelon orders waiting to be planted. Fortunately, we grow millions of watermelon transplants for growers throughout the western region, including the Coachella Valley, Arizona, New Mexico, Bakersfield, Central Valley, and the Pacific Northwest.

With such a large pool of plants in inventory, we were able to shuffle orders around to accommodate unexpected shifts in planting schedules. That way, we could deliver consistently high quality plants, which helped to minimize the downside for our customers. Now, we just have to hope for more summer sunshine in the months to come!

Watermelon Trials

Watermelon SWT-7138

Despite the bad weather, our Headstart Nursery field reps Michael Cardenas and Daniel Clerou have been working hard all season following up on trials of several promising new watermelon varieties from different seed companies.

We’re especially excited about a new Sakata product (currently known as SWT-7138), which produces a mid-size 12-14 pound melon with deep red flesh. This new variety is available exclusively through Headstart Nursery, and it is proving to be an excellent performer in the field with good shipping qualities.

The 12-pound melon is a new niche market that is proving very popular in Canada and with retailers like Wal-Mart, whose customers are looking for an affordable option between the personal size and more traditional 18+ pound melons.

Headstart has been running trials in all west coast regions to determine the ideal spacing and growing conditions required to produce consistent 12-pound melons (which ship as a 60 count per bin). The SWT-7138 variety has looked very good in field trials and seems to mature 7-10 days earlier than comparable varieties.

Contact us if you’re interested in finding out more about SWT-7138 or other new watermelon varieties.
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Headstart Nursery, Inc.
4860 Monterey Road
Gilroy, CA 95020
(408) 842-3030

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