The Kerby's Nursery E-Newsletter
February 7, 2019   
Listen     |   Click here if you are having trouble viewing.
Starting Veggie Seeds  |   New Arrivals    |  2019 Workshops

Zoe, aka Heihei

If you are in any way affiliated with young children, then you probably remember the movie craze over Moana a few years ago. It was a great movie about an adventurous young girl who challenges the oceans and the demigod Maui to help save her people. I know my girls loved the movie and we still watch it every now and then. But this isn't a newsletter about a great movie. It's about a chicken.

Moana had a sidekick in the movie: a chicken named Heihei. And Heihei, was, well, not-so-smart. From falling off the boat to eating the heart of Te Fiti, Heihei is constantly providing a little comic relief in the movie. When we got our second group of hens, we wanted a chicken that laid green eggs. So we picked out an Ameraucana and named her Zoe. As she started to gain a little size, the way she walked around and even just the way she looked at us, constantly reminded us of Heihei from Moana. So we renamed her. And for a year, she always seemed like the runt of the flock and like she generally lacked a bit of common sense.

Then last November, I let the chickens out of the coop one morning and when Heihei ran out, she just looked awful. Like she'd been in a fight with the other chickens. There's always a little pecking and pushing among the biddies, but never any real aggression, so we didn't think that that was the reason. We started checking for other possible issues, and we just couldn't figure it out. She was still laying eggs, eating and drinking, so she didn't seem sick, but something just seemed off. And then a week or two later, I hardly recognized her. She'd gone from seeming weak and confused, to one of the prettier birds in our flock. As it turns out, she was just going through a seasonal molt, but her transformation was a little more extreme than we expected.

Molting should just refer to a chicken's feathers. But in this case she seems to have completely changed her entire personality. She went from seeming like she wasn't with it to being the only chicken who has figured out how to escape the chicken yard on a regular basis. The other morning I let the chickens out, walked up to the garden, turned around and there was Heihei, calmly pecking at the grass in the main yard. Later in the afternoon, she was back in the chicken yard, happily drinking water and eating. Somehow she went from a chicken that didn't seem to know what to do, to the smartest bird in the flock. Quite a transformation.

As it turns out the name Heihei means disturbance or interruption from the norm in Hawaiian. The rooster in the movie certainly provides that in the form of comic relief, and our own Heihei has definitely been an interruption from the normal activity of our chickens, and she has also provided us with quite a bit of comic relief.

Now we just need her to lay some eggs again. For some reason this week, we haven't gotten a single green or blue egg. Just browns. We've got three birds that should lay the greens and blues, and we haven't gotten any from them. All of the chickens slow down on egg production through the winter months, so we are hoping that this gorgeous spring-like weather we are having will get them going again.

And we are not only looking forward to more eggs again, we are also getting excited for Spring. The weather forecast for the next month looks amazing. It's the time of year where we can make the folks up north jealous by starting our veggie gardens and planting beautiful spring flowers. Many of them have to wait until Mother's Day! Not us. We are ready to plant. Spring veggies arrived at the nursery this week, as well as a whole truckload of blooming bougainvillea, not to mention plenty of bright spring flowers. So if you need a little interruption from your normal, no need to get a chicken, just get out in the garden. That's where you'll find us.

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

Forward to a Friend

Gardens start with GMO-free seeds

Garden Tip
Starting Veggies from Seed

1) Plant at the correct depth - This is the most important part of planting seeds. A general rule of thumb is that small seeds should be planted shallow (a quarter of an inch under the soil) and large seeds should be planted deep (around an inch under the soil). Each seed packet will tell you the depth that particular seed variety should be planted at. Follow it. Seeds that want to be shallow won't have the energy to reach sunlight if they are planted too deep. Seeds that want to be deeper will emerge too quickly and won't be strong enough to stay upright if they are planted too shallow.

2) Start Seeds in Pots or Trays - Some seeds, like lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots are easier to start right in garden beds. But some veggies like collards, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers are easier to start in individual pots or trays. We like to use old egg cartons with holes poked in them as our seed-starting trays. This allows you to start a number of seeds and then select the strongest plants for your garden. When starting seeds in pots or trays, use a very light soil. Mix a little perlite or vermiculite into your garden soil to lighten it, or use a mix designed specifically for seeds. A dense, heavy soil can be tough for a little seedling to push through.

3) Water seeds properly - Seeds don't need a whole lot to get started. A little sunlight and moderate moisture is all that they require. Avoid over-saturating the soil that you are starting seeds in, as this can lead to disease issues and poor growth of seedlings. As seedlings grow larger, increase the amount of water they receive.

4) Transplant - The first set of leaves that emerge are called seed-leaves. The second set will be the true leaves. Once the true leaves have emerged, your new seedlings should be ready for transplant. Don't let them stay in little trays too long or they will get rootbound.

5) Have Fun - Seeds are a great way to start heirloom varieties that are hard to find as starter plants and it is the best way to start large beds of lettuce, spinach and other greens. So experiment a little, find a variety and challenge yourself to have your best harvests ever.

New Arrivals
Blooming Bougainvillea

Create a Backyard Paradise
$19.99 - $199.99
Spring Veggies are Here

Plant now for Great Spring Harvests
4-Pack - $3.99
6" Pot - $5.99

Ivy Geranium Baskets

Gorgeous, easy color.
10" Pot - $17.99

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours

Monday - Saturday,  9am - 5pm
Sunday,  11am - 4pm