Discover the Fun of Gardening
May 31, 2018   
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Garden Tip   |   Featured Plants

The great potato harvest

You may remember that last December we started the great potato project at our house. I built a bin and I was going to grow massive amounts of potatoes. Well, we did grow potatoes, but unfortunately we aren't feeding the whole neighborhood. I think it's kind of like that old quote 'The cobbler's kids have no shoes'. We did the first level of soil in a timely fashion, but then as the spring season at the garden center took hold, I kept forgetting to do much to the potatoes. So with no fertilizer, and late hilling, we managed to have a decent little harvest. Most of the potatoes seemed to be in the bottom of the bin, so I think I added some of the layers of dirt on a little to late to really encourage new potatoes to grow. And even though we had a cold winter, we had a really hot February and that may have also contributed to the lack of taters in the upper portion. And now come to think of it, in one of the freezes, I think the foliage burnt off completely and had to resprout, so maybe I'll blame it all on that and not the fact that I forgot to pay attention to my potato project.

Fresh potatoes, ready to cook.

The project wasn't a total loss, because the kids really had a blast harvesting. There were three of them, crammed into the bin, making it a challenge to get my potato rake in to scoop the dirt (I guess it's more fun with your hands . . . ). And then they got side-tracked collecting earthworms for a science experiment, so while I was getting excited about potatoes, they kept shouting 'there's one' and I'd look for a potato and nope - it was another worm. But after the harvest was all said and done, we cooked up our haul - sliced into 1/2" pieces, coated with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and baked them till they were crispy and golden. They tasted amazing. Great potato flavor, creamy texture, just pure deliciousness. And as we all know everything tastes better when you pick (or dig) it from your backyard garden. So that's my harvest story for the week, hopefully you are having some fun in your garden and enjoying all of this rain!

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

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It's Crape Myrtle season.
Garden Tip
Caring for Crape Myrtles

The beginning of June ushers in not only rainy season, but bloom season for crape myrtles. They come in a variety of colors, are cold-hardy and easy-care for our area. Below are a few tips for getting the most out of your crape myrtles.

1) Prune in Winter - Crape myrtles should be pruned in the winter-time, when they don't have any leaves. How much you prune is up to you, there is no need to do a severe prune (sometimes called 'crape murder'), but trimming back overall height if needed and thinning the branches will help the tree flush out well in spring. If you missed the pruning time in the winter, you can always prune later, just wait until after they are finished blooming, otherwise you will cut off all of those beautiful flowers.
2) Water Wisely
- Like any new plant, crapes want plenty of water. However, once established they don't need a lot of extra water to keep them going. One good soaking each week is all they need through the spring, summmer and fall and once they are dormant in the winter, they won't need much at all.
3) Watch for Suckers - No, we aren't on the lookout for a gullible person. All crape myrtles are naturally bushes. Even the pretty single trunk 'trees' are naturally bushes and will sometimes grow shoots from the ground, or lower down on the trunkand these are called suckers. It doesn't mean anything is wrong, just trim them off when you see them to keep the energy of the plant headed up into the canopy.
4) Fertilize for the Best Blooms - Crapes aren't heavy feeders, but a spring, summer and fall dose of Kerby's 8-4-8 fertilizer will keep them in top shape and ready to produce the biggest, brightest clusters of blooms.
5) Go for the Sequel - If you dead-head crape myrtles and trim off old blooms just as they are finishing you can sometimes get a second, lighter set of blooms to emerge. Tough on really big crapes (since the flowers are so high up), but for your younger or smaller bushes or trees, you can try to extend your flower enjoyment.

Summer Blooms
Double Rangoon Creeper

Gorgeous flowers that change color!
10" Pot - $39.99
Mysty Salvia

Compact and Great for Butterflies
6" Pot - $6.99
Cinderella Purslane

Make your garden a Cinderella story.
6" Pot - $5.99

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours
Open Seven Days a Week
Monday - Saturday,  9am - 5:30pm
Sunday,  11am - 4pm