Hello, again!

With the temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, it doesn’t take long to get people outside. Whether it’s going to the dog park, taking a stroll around Sedgwick County Park or biking along the bike path near the Keeper of the Plains, many of us love being outside.

Our stores are no different. It warms up, the sun comes out and people are ready to enjoy their yards and gardens. For me, this happened a couple of weeks ago when the seed potatoes and onion sets arrived. It was just after our cold spell when none of us could imagine spring anytime soon. But sure enough, it’s happening. I mentioned last week that our early spring vegetables are out of our greenhouses and ready to plant.

I remember traveling to The Netherlands and enjoying patat frietjes, known to us as french fries. The Dutch do it differently though. Served in a paper funnel, the deep fried patat are covered with mayonnaise or pindakaas, or what we know as peanut butter! Either way, they are so good!!

Potatoes are a staple worldwide as an affordable, easy-to-grow food source. The potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. The Dutch love their patat, so much that they consume twice as much as we do per capita.

If you're wanting to do your part in increasing the per capita potato consumption for the US, now’s the time to get started on a spring potato crop. According to KSU, mid-March is the ideal time for planting potatoes in our region. A great value in food, 10 pounds of seed potatoes will plant four 25’ rows. I’ll cut the whole potatoes into 3-4 pieces and let them dry for 3-4 days. Once dried, I’ll plant the “seed” into the ground about 3-4” deep, and about 12” apart. As they grow, I’ll keep the soil mounded on the foliage where the potatoes are formed. Most var ieties mature in 90-100 days, so you’ll be digging new potatoes in June! Potatoes are heavy feeders, so I use ferti-lome Gardener’s Special at planting time and monthly as a side dressing. This is a great opportunity to incorporate Johnson's Soil Recipe into both existing and new planting areas. The recipe adds both valuable compost and beneficials to the soil, and contains both fast and slow release fertilizers.This recipe covers 100 sq. ft. area:

Johnson's Soil Recipe Package
Three bags Cotton Burr Compost (2 cu. ft.)
One bag Hi-Yield Bone Meal (4 lbs.)
One bag ferti-lome Gardener's Special (4 lbs.)
One bag Natural Guard HuMic (4 lbs.)

It’s maybe a bit early for our summer crops, but if you are wanting to plant a few ‘gamble garden’ vegetables, we have tomato and pepper plants in stock. It's always fun to have the first home grown tomato on the block.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center