Saturday, March 13, 2010


These mouth watering vegetables can be easily grown in your garden this year and will add to the healthy diet you want for yourself and your family. The nice thing about them is they are cold tolerant and can be planted in late March and April before your warm veggies need to go in.

Onions come as sets and should be planted about 5 inches apart in rows or solid square foot plantings. The reason they are called sets is because of the way you plant them, setting them just an inch or less under the surface of the soil pointing up toward the sky. There are four varieties of Onion sets we carry white, red, yellow and Stuttgarter.The first three can be pulled as “spring onions” or left to grow larger and the Stuttgarter can be also or left to mature into a larger onion because it keeps better than the other varieties.

Peas come in regular Hull Peas, Edible Sugar Snap, and Sugar Peas. At Ashcombe we carry a number of varieties in packets as well as bulk seed for the serious gardener. The earliest Sugar pea we carry in bulk is Dwarf White Blossom or 50 days from seed to harvest. The Hull peas are Progress # 9 at 62 days and Little marvel at 63 days. As a rule harvest begins late May from an early April sowing. All peas can be sown at 1 inch spacing’s in rows covering seeds with 1⁄2 to 1 inch of soil. For best results and easier picking provide support for them as they get six inches tall by putting a bamboo pole every six feet or so along the row and using sturdy twine in an X pattern along both sides of the row.

Harvest both hull and sugar peas before they become too mature for the sweetest flavor. Best way is to pick a few and taste them when their small. Potatoes a healthy root crop. Nutrients without skins (156 g) (% RDA) With skin (173 g) (% RDA) Vitamin C 33 28 Thiamin 11 7 Niacin 11 12 Vitamin B6 23 27 Folate 4 12 Pantothenic Acid 9 7 Iron 3 10 Magnesium 10 12 Potassium 17 26 Copper 17 10 Dietary Fiber 9 15

Potatoes A root crop that comes as a surprise several months later when you dig up the dead vines and find ten times as many potatoes as the seed you put in the ground in April. This is exciting as well as rewarding and you can have a choice of nine varieties here at Ashcombe--- reds. whites, blues and yellows. We carry the old fashioned Irish Cobbler , Katahdin and Kennebec all white varieties as well as the Norland and Pontiac Red varieties, and the new favorite Yukon Gold.

For those who want to grow Russets we carry the Russet Norkotah a long, smooth, shallow-eyed, russet-skinned potato cultivar with wide adaptation. It has a smooth golden russet-skin and produces a high percent of medium sized U.S. No. 1 tubers.

Planting guide: Be sure to use certified seed potatoes as store potatoes may have a sprout inhibitor sprayed on them and will not sprout for you.


Days to Harvest: 2 - 4 Months.

The entire crop is ready to harvest once the tops of the plants die off. You can leave the potatoes in the ground for a few weeks longer, as long as the ground is not wet. New potatoes are small, immature potatoes. You can harvest a few of these without harm to the plant, by gently feeling around in the soil near the plant, once the plant reaches about a foot in height.

Harvest carefully, by hand or with a shovel. Turn the soil over and search through for treasure. The tubers can branch out and digging in with a fork is a sure fire way of stabbing a potato or two.

Pest & Diseases:

Beetles & aphids defoliate. Monitor early in season, before they become a major problem. The Colorado potato beetle larva, at left, is easy to spot. Also check for egg masses on the undersides of leaves.

Thin, red wire worms attack underground. I wish I had a better solution, but rotating crops is the only thing that has worked for me. A low pH will help control scab. Late blight, the cause of the Irish potato famine, turns the foliage black, then moldy. Burn the foliage. The potatoes can still be harvested, but you should wait several weeks. Use certified disease-resistant seed potatoes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It’s that time of year when lettuce will soon be ready to put out and Pansies will cheer us up (with their bright faces) after a long cold winter. Onion sets and seed potatoes can soon be put in the ground and were thinking about warmer weather. Visit our web site at for lots of good gardening information you can use this season.

And be sure to visit our Spring Open House Saturday March 20th & 27th to see a preview of the wonderful season ahead. Seminars and displays and children’s crafts both Saturdays.

You not want to miss this event as it kicks off Spring here at Ashcombe. And see the beautiful selection of bulbs and flowers for Easter which is early this season. April 4th.