News from Headstart Nursery, Inc.
August 2013
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Vegetable Update

Vegetable Transplants

Season Recap

Weather was good this planting season, and growing conditions have been excellent throughout California and the west coast. Many of our pepper and watermelon customers ended up harvesting earlier than expected. 

Overall, our vegetable transplant orders continue to climb, increasing about 15% over 2012. We have been gradually expanding our production capabilities at both the Castroville and Salinas facilities to accommodate the additional orders. 

And the season's not over yet...we're currently transplanting fall peppers in the desert (despite temperatures soaring above 110°F)! 

Battling Downy Mildew in Basil

We've recently been seeing a relatively new but consistent problem with Downy Mildew on basil. This particular strain of DM is specific to basil and is extremely virulent. Most of our basil transplant production is for organic customers, thus limiting our chemical control options. We are conducting trials now and may start growing all basil orders in our desert facilities to take advantage of the drier climate that naturally inhibits disease establishment. 

Watermelon Grafting

Headstart Nursery takes pride in staying on the cutting edge of transplant production techniques, and we are a longtime industry leader in watermelon transplants. In response to customer inquiries, we’ve spent the last few years doing some R&D and are excited to announce that we do have a watermelon grafting program available (on a limited basis) for 2014. Contact us for more information about this new program. 

Ornamental Update

2013 Spring Trials Recap

Our 2013 California Spring Trials were a big success. Headstart Nursery welcomed growers, breeders, and brokers from around the country. In addition to the latest varieties from Danziger, we also showcased Cyclamen and Gerbera in 128 and 72-cell ellepots, which have proven to work great during shipping and are perfect for transplanting. 

New 200 Vegetative Program

At Spring Trials, we also introduced our new 200 Vegetative program. We are now a “one-stop shop” for all Danziger varieties with simple all-inclusive pricing (including delivery and royalty fees). Trays are consolidated to 100% and packed 5 to a box. 

Book Your Ranunculus Orders Now!

We have booked seed already for upcoming Ranunculus shipments. It's not too late to pre-book your orders today. Just contact Melissa Campilli at (408) 842-3030 or

New Product Lines on Website

Visit the recently updated Headstart Nursery website for complete product listings for all of our ornamental plugs, liners, and prefinished product lines, including: 

OFA Short Course

Melissa Campilli, Megan Smith and Mike Fernandez represented Headstart at the 2013 OFA Short Course in July. They visited with customers, got feedback from brokers, met some new vendors, and picked up lots of fresh ideas. Overall it was a great trip, and we look forward to attending again next year! 

More Nursery News

Some new faces around the nursery...

New Gilroy Employees
We'd like to introduce and officially welcome some of our recent new hires. Pictured here are Lili Medina (left), a 2013 Sacramento State graduate who will be working in Risk Management and HR. Tomas Martinez (middle) stepped in as Gilroy Logistics Coordinator at the beginning of the busy season and has already built a great rapport with our customers. And Tania Aguilar (right) is our friendly new front office receptionist and also an avid runner. 
Spencer Bray
We also want give a warm welcome (no pun intended!) to Spencer Bray (left), who is the new Production Assistant at our desert facilities. Spencer recently graduated from Cal Poly Pomona and is working on his PCA license.

We are very happy to have them all join the Headstart team! 

Our Headstart family keeps growing!

Baby Lauren
Back on May 8, Lisa Branco and her husband Corey welcomed daughter Lauren Taylor Branco, who weighed in at 7 lbs 2 oz. Big brother Andrew is having fun getting to know his new baby sister, who is doing a lot of smiling and cooing these days. 
Baby Camden
Meanwhile, Mike Fernandez proudly welcomed his second grandchild, baby Camden, who was born on July 21. 

Congratulations to all!

Getting in the holiday August??

While most people are out enjoying summer picnics and pool parties, here at Headstart Nursery we've been getting ready for the Christmas holidays. In late June and early July, we stuck over 80,000 poinsettias (both rooted and unrooted) at our Castroville and Gilroy facilities. We'll start accepting orders in October. Ho, ho, ho!

Saying goodbye to an old friend

On a sadder note, our faithful desert mascot and security patrol, Manchas, passed away in June. He is greatly missed! 
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