Please click here to read newsletter if not displayed below:
Edition 8.40
October 2008

Go Green with Grangetto's

Spend It In Escondido!

Advertise with us

3 day forecast
Weather Courtesy of:

We now carry owl boxes!
Read about owl boxes and how to build a nest box.

Grangetto's Preferred Card
Start Saving Today!

Sustainable Practices for the Landscape Professional

Rancho Santa Fe Pages

Water Saving Rebates

Click here to see what water-saving products can give you rebates!


Composting Workshops
Compost and Mulch Facilities

Water Conservation Workshop
Water Conservation Workshop

San Diego County Water Authority
The 20 Gallon Challenge
Water: Save it or Lose it

Be Water Wise
Water Saving Rotary Sprinkler Nozzles
Get Water Saving Tips!

Be Water Wise with the Nifty 50!
50 drought tolerant plants native to Southern California

California Water Crisis

California's Water Crisis:
A Public Education Program

Fresh Produce

Want Fresh Organic Produce?

Online Account Access
Attention Grangetto Account Customers:
View Your Statements On-line!

Sign up to receive the Grangetto's Garden Newsletter and receive a 15% off discount coupon!

Subscribe Now to
Grangetto's News

Click here to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address.

Grangetto's Gift Cards
Now Available
for Your Convenience.

Great for:
Holiday Gifts - Birthdays - Father's Day - and any other special occasion.

Have a Look
Around our Site:
Ask Mr. G

FREE Coupon

Mr. G's
"Tip of the Month!"
Tips Image


Tips image

It's time to plant wild flowers. Grangetto's carries a wide variety of wild flower seed such as California Poppies, Lupines, and California Blue Bells.


Tell a Friend about our Newsletter

Contact Information:

Click to e-mail us.

(760) 944-5777

189 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd.
Encinitas, CA 92024

7 am - 5 pm
7 am - 4 pm
Closed Sunday

Mr. G's Irrigation
Fertilizing Guides

Fertilizers: Best Triple Pro 15 Best Ntra King Gro Power flower 'n' bloom Dr. Earth Fertilizers


Fertilizer Spreaders: Scotts Handheld Spreader Scotts Lawn Pro Spreader

Marathon Seed Grangettos Grass Seed
or Dwarf Fescue Grass

Pennington Grass Seed


Soil Amendments / Mulches: Soil Building Compost Sunshine Pro Premium Potting Soil John and Bob's Soil Optimizer Worm Gold Plus Sunshine Pro Planting Mix Worm Gold Plus
Landscape/Garden Tools: Flexrake Flexogen HoseJackson Pro Hose Hula Ho
Corona AnvilCorona Bypass PrunerCorona  Lopper Husky Trash Bags Dramm Rain Wand
Corona Bypass Lopper Model 3351corona trimmer

Pest Control: Bayer Tree and Shrub Product Image Wilco Squirrel Bait Monterey Garden Insect Spray Wilco Gopher Getter Hawk Rodent Block Grant's Kills Ants SpinosadBayer All In One Rose an Flower Care Green Light Amaze Gopher Probe



Thanks for taking the time to read the Grangetto's Garden Newsletter. If at any time there is a topic that you would like to see in the next newsletter or you have a gardening tip you would like to share, please feel free to email us.

Fun and Facts

Plants That Will Give You the Time of Day


Garden Trivia

Please click here
to take our Survey

featured quote


"Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise."
~Michael P. Garafalo,

Sign up for the Preferred Card online


Grangetto's Preferred Card

Click here to sign up online.


Annual Tent Event




15% Off Coupon

Click here to print out the coupon.



DaVinci Water Gardens



Manager's Corner: We now carry avocado, citrus, and blueberry trees

Have questions or need help planting your new tree? Visit Grangetto’s and speak with an expert today!



blueberriesBlueberries make a good fruit crop for home gardens since they require small space. At present, blueberry plants are not common in home plantings because the plants require highly acidic soil conditions for best results. Few backyard soils are naturally acidic enough to grow quality blueberries. The grower of blueberries must, therefore, make extra effort to acidify the soil before plant establishment. Then, the acidity level must be maintained over the life of the planting. Due to the special concerns associated with the rather demanding soil requirements of growing the crop, the soil must be amended with organic matter and the pH must be corrected before proceeding to establish the planting. Test your soil with a Soil Test Kit or pH Meter to determine if you need to adjust the pH of your soil to suit the needs of your blueberry bush. Use Kellogg Gardner & Bloome Acid Soil Mix, Grow More Soil Acidifier or Sunshine Peat Moss when you transplant to acidify your soil.

Blueberry plants begin to produce fruit in the third season; however, they do not become fully productive for about six years. Once in production, it is necessary to protect the fruit from loss to birds

Why Test Your Soil?

Citrus and AvocadoCitrus & Avocados:

Follow these planting guidelines to ensure your new tree is transplanted correctly.

1. Dig a hole much wider than the ball of your tree. An 18" auger makes an ideal hole. If your soil is good you need not add any soil amendment to the hole. Avoid adding more than 5% (by volume) organic manure to the soil.

2. Adjust the depth of the hole so that the upper surface of the tree ball will be just even with the surrounding ground when the tree is lowered into it.

3. Lower the tree into the hole, slice the container open vertically on one side, and backfill with 6" to 8" of loose soil.

4. Gently tamp the loose soil around the ball immediately. Promptly fill the rest of the hole with loose soil, gently tamping as you fill. Fill it up to the top, but leave the upper surface of the original ball exposed.

Read more.

Encinitas Manager


Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Citrus leafminer is a very small, light colored moth that arrived in southern California from Mexico in 2000. Citrus leafminer has been moving northward in backyard and commercial citrus since that time and now infests citrus in southern and central California.

The citrus leafminer (CLM) Phyllocnistis citrella is a damaging pest of citrus because the larval stage mines the leaves and fruits, ultimately killing the leaves and defoliating young citrus trees. Though CLM damages a variety of citrus plants, grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange appear to be most susceptible to damage by this pest.

Controlling leafminers is difficult, even with chemicals, because they are protected by the upper and lower leaf surfaces. We recommend treating your infected plants with an insecticide containing Spinosad, such as Green Light Spinosad or Monterey Garden Insect Spray. Another effective control is to remove (and destroy) affected leaves. You can also treat the leaf surface with a citrus oil-based pesticide, such as Green Light Neem Concentrate, which can help to prevent tunneling by future generations.

A great NEW NATURAL Method of Control is our NEW Delta Trap! Iscalure-Citrella is a new pheromone lure to manage citrus leafminer. This trap lures these citrus damaging pests with a naturally occurring citrus leafminer pheromone. This is an excellent way to monitor your citrus trees so you know if you have an infestation. Read more about this trap and how it works.

Delta Trap


This Month's Specials
October Specials

View more specials.

Show Us Your Garden


Thank you all for entering the contest. It was hard to decide on just one winner because all of the gardens were excellent. We did, however, have to pick a winner and ended up picking more than one. The following are the 1st place and runner-up winners. You can click on any of the photos to view a larger version.

Winner, Pauline of Encinitas:

Pauline, Winner

Prize: $50 Grangetto’s Gift Card & a month’s supply of
Organic Vegetables through JR Organics Community Supported Agriculture Program

Hilary of Carlsbad

Prize: $25 Grangetto’s Gift Card

Hilary, Runner-up

Prize: $25 Grangetto’s Gift Card

Dennis, Runner-up


Autumn is Here

For many people, autumn is their favorite time of year. The weather starts to change, another school year begins’s football season!

Well, if football isn’t your cup of tea, it’s safe to say that almost everyone enjoys the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. There are so many ways to celebrate the autumn days with fun decorations--including cool-weather plants in beautiful harvest colors.

Once your summer plants are beat from the heat, you can remove them or add autumn-loving varieties to your beds and containers. Besides your favorite pansies, you can also plant these cool bloomers...

Violas Viola--Think of violas as a mini version of pansies; they also thrive in autumn weather and come in a wide range of colors. Plus, they are versatile enough to be planted in garden beds and mixed containers.
Nemesia--This plant features delicate, very fragrant flowers that are perfect for autumn containers and large pots. Some varieties will even continue to flower into the winter in milder climates.
Linaria Enchantment Linaria--An excellent choice for decorative pots, this plant is very fragrant and features bold magenta flowers with gold centers. You’ll love taking a whiff of these sweet-smelling flowers during the autumn months.



Tips for Healthy Trees

TreesLet this month’s glorious autumn color be a reminder that fall is an important time to check the health of your trees, both young and old. Even though many will soon be going dormant, actions you take now will help them get through winter and grow vigorously next spring.

First, make sure your trees are well-watered. Even dormant trees can be subject to desiccation if the soil is dry.

To get a head start on next spring’s early insect pests, such as aphids and leafminers, and to provide continued protection throughout the growing season, apply Bayer Advanced™ Tree & Shrub Insect Control Concentrate now. Roots continue to take up moisture even when the upper portion looks dormant, so a fall application allows the ingredients to become evenly and well distributed throughout the tree in the spring. No spraying is necessary. Just mix with water according to the label instructions and pour at the base of the tree. One application lasts up to 12 months. Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Bayer Tree and ShrubInsect Control controls adelgids, aphids, black vine weevil larvae, roundheaded borers (including eucalyptus longhorned borers), emerald ash borers, flathead borers (including bronze, birch and alder borers), Japanese beetles (adult), lacebugs, leaf beetles (including elm leaf beetles and viburnum leaf beetles), leafhoppers, leafminers (including birch leafminers), mealybugs, pine tip moth larvae, psylids, royal palm bugs, sawfly larvae, scale (including armored scale [suppression] and soft scale), thrips and whiteflies.

If a tree grew poorly last summer, had yellowing foliage, or if you just want to get newly planted trees off to a strong start, use Bayer Advanced 12 Month Protect & Feed. Just sprinkle granules around base of tree and water in for a full year of protection against devastating pests.

If young trees tree are staked, make sure they are not tied too tightly. A loosely tied tree will develop a stronger trunk and won’t become girdled. If the tree can stand securely on its own, remove the stakes all together. If you live in a mild winter climate, make sure grass and weeds are not growing near the trunk. There should be a mulched, weed-free area around the base of the tree.

Article Courtesy of Bayer Advanced


Fall Lawn Tune Up

Fall is the most important time of the year when it comes to caring for cool-season lawns. The work you do now on your bluegrass or fescue lawns will pay off big-time later this fall and next spring.

Test your soil. A soil test will reveal serious nutrient imbalances and let you know whether you need to add lime or sulfur to adjust pH. Your local cooperative extension can provide assistance in analyzing your soil for any deficiencies, or will put you in touch with a private soil lab that can. You can also test yourself. We carry the Rapitest Soil Test Kit and Rapitest pH Meter.

Control grubs. Late summer and fall can be the most active time for grubs. If you have seen those irregular brown spots or have found grubs, apply Bayer Advanced™ 24-Hour Grub Killer Plus Granules. Its highly effective formula offers overnight results against grubs. Nothing works faster for control of lawn grubs. For more information on how to tell if grubs are damaging your lawn, click here.

Bayer Weed KillerControl weeds. Weeds compete with grasses for water and nutrients and make your lawn look lousy. A well-cared-for, vigorous lawn will resist weed invasions, but if you're having problems, use Bayer Advanced™ All-In-One Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate. It kills lawn weeds like dandelions and clover, plus grassy weeds, like crabgrass and nutgrass, in one easy step. Use it now, and you’ll have fewer problems next spring.

Scott's SpreaderFertilize. Fall is the most important time to fertilize cool-season lawns. Best Nitra King 21-4-4 is great for cool-season lawns. Follow label instructions for the amount of fertilizer to apply and how to set your fertilizer spreader correctly. For small areas use the Scott’s HandyGreen II Handheld Spreader.

Aerate. Aerating, which removes small cores of soil, is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. It improves water and nutrient penetration, increases the amount of air that reaches the roots, and helps reduce thatch. Thatch is a dense layer of organic matter that forms between the leaves and roots. If it gets over a 1/2-inch thick, it prevents air, water and nutrients from reaching the roots and the lawn begins to suffer. You can hire a lawn service to aerate your lawn, or rent a power aerator from a local rental yard and do it yourself.  For smaller areas use the Yard Butler Core Aerator or Aerator Spike. Once a year is usually plenty.

Grass SeedPlant.
Fall is also the best time to plant cool-season lawns from sod or seed, so start a new lawn or repair thin areas of your existing turf.  Try Marathon Premium Quality Lawn Seed. You can also overseed warm-season lawns with cool-season grasses such as Pennington Annual Rye Grass Seed to keep them green all winter in southern areas.

Water and mow. Don’t let up on regular lawn care. Water less as the days get cooler, but don’t let your lawn dry out. Mow regularly.



Fall Lawn Tune Up

Plants need food (nutrients) for healthy growth. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash (N, P and K for short), play a vital role in plant growth just as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein do in our health.

Soil test kit

Rapitest Soil Test Kit


Nitrogen is synonymous with plant nutrition. It is directly responsible for producing leaf growth and green leaves. A deficiency causes yellow leaves and stunted growth. Too much nitrogen causes over-abundant foliage with delayed flowering; the plant becomes subject to disease and its fruit is of poor quality.


Growing plants need phosphorus. It is the major constituent of plant genetics and seed development. A deficiency causes stunted growth and seed sterility. Phosphorus aids plant maturity, increases the seed yield, increases fruit development, increases vitamin content and aids the plant's resistance to disease and winterkill.


Potash strengthens the plant. It helps form carbohydrates and promotes protein synthesis. It will improve the color and flavor of fruit. It further aids early growth, stem strength and cold hardiness. Plants deficient in potash are usually stunted and have poorly developed root systems. Leaves are spotted, curled and appear dried out at the edges. Yields for potash deficiency are low.


Plants also need to correct pH (acidity / alkalinity) level, which controls how well plants utilize the nutrients available in your soil. All plants have a pH preference, so it is important to know the pH level of your soil. You can then choose plants with the same pH preference, avoid those that will not do well in your soil or know how to go about supplying their special growing needs. By testing your soil, you determine its exact condition so that you can fertilize and/or adjust pH more accurately, effectively, and economically.

How to test your soil
Gardeners already familiar with soil testing will appreciate the unique, patented, specially designed "color comparator" and capsule system that make quick work of testing. For those of you new to soil testing, you'll appreciate this easy, fast and fun way to achieve better growing results from your gardening efforts!

Everything is color-coded, including the color comparator films and capsules. All you do is take a sample of soil, mix with water, transfer some of the solution to the color comparator, add powder from capsule, shake and watch the color develop. Then, note your test results. Fast, easy and it only takes a few minutes!

When to test your soil?
Soil should be tested periodically throughout the growing season, but it is especially recommended to test before planting in spring and when preparing beds in fall. And, if you feel your plants are not growing well, a soil test may help.

Included in the kit are:
4 Color comparators, 40 test capsules, 10 each for pH, N, P and K, complete instructions for adjusting soil pH, fertilization guidelines and pH preference list for over 450 plants for the home, yard and garden.

Rapitest pH meterRapitest pH Meter

  • Instantly tells you how acid or alkaline your soil is
  • Identify which plants best suit your garden
  • Provides pH information so you can alter soil conditions
  • pH preference list for over 450 plants



Ornamental Grasses

One of the challenges many gardeners face is how to add texture and interest to the landscape. One of the best ways to do this is by adding ornamental grasses to your garden. They have a natural fountainous growing habit and many produce beautiful flower blooms that will light up any garden.

Ornamental grasses are incredibly low maintenance, grow quickly, and are naturally disease and insect resistant. Add to that, their natural swaying movement in even the slightest of breezes and you have plants that add unparalleled beauty to any garden setting.

Another great feature of ornamental grasses is the fact that they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and color. There are many grasses that are perfect for creating borders and others that provide a nice backdrop to other plants or look perfect as individual featured specimens. The colors range from gold, green, silver and blue to shades of purple, burgundy, red and orange.

While most ornamental grasses prefer moist soil conditions, most become quite drought tolerant once established. They require very little fertilization and can get by with a single feeding of plant food per year. Most shorter varieties require no pruning at all (short of removing any spent flowers) and the only maintenance taller varieties require is a crew cut in late winter (down to 4-6" inches above ground level) to encourage new growth in spring.

October Chores

In The Kitchen Garden:

  1. Plant cabbages for spring harvesting
  2. Thin late-sown lettuces for winter harvesting
  3. Continue to earth-up celery and leeks
  4. Lift and store potatoes
  5. Protect late cauliflowers from frost by bending surrounding leaves over the heads
  6. Cut the dead tops off asparagus
  7. Use cloches to protect vulnerable vegetables
  8. Start winter digging on heavy soils
  9. Pot up some herbs for winter use
  10. Pick and store apples when ready
  11. Take black currant cuttings
  12. Prune black currants, gooseberries and raspberries
  13. Cover late-fruiting strawberries with cloches to extend the season
  14. Plant bare-root fruit bushes and trees

The Flower Garden:

  1. Make a new lawn from turf
  2. Give an established lawn, autumn lawn care treatment.
  3. Plant roses
  4. Plant bare-root and balled trees and shrubs
  5. Plant herbaceous plants
  6. Divide over-large herbaceous plants
  7. Clear summer bedding
  8. Plant spring bulbs
  9. Take in tender fuchsias and pelargoniums
  10. Protect vulnerable plants

The Greenhouse:

  1. Clean and disinfect, get ready for winter
  2. Insulate
  3. Remove yellowing and dead leaves from plants- pick them off the pot as well as the plant
  4. Check that heaters are working properly
  5. Ventilate whenever the weather is mild enough
Year-round Community Events
Escondido Farmers' Market

Open Tuesdays
3:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. (May 1–September 30)
2:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. (October 1–April 30)

Downtown Escondido • Grand Avenue Between Kalmia & Juniper
Escondido, CA
Downtown Escondido's Certified Farmers Market showcases fresh-picked California-grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Friendly vendors also offer local honey, eggs, fresh-roasted nuts, pesto, fresh pasta, gourmet European breads, Julian pies, salsa, tamales, tortillas, pita and humus, cookies, dessert breads, and more.
For more information visit us on the web at:


Fallbrook Farmers' Market

Time: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Place: Village Square on the corner of Main and Alvarado.
Buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, fresh flowers, and handmade arts and crafts. You can also find specialty products made from our local bounty!
For more information visit us on the web at:


Valley Center Farmers' Market

Time: Every Thursday afternoon from 3:00 pm to Sunset

Place: The market takes place between the Upper and Lower Elementary School parking lots at 28751 Cole Grade Rd. Map
This Certified Farmers’ Market is a weekly event not to be missed. With an enormous variety of great, healthy food displayed alongside original crafts and artwork, Valley Center residents and visitors will agree that on Thursday afternoons, the Valley Center Certified Farmers’ Market is the place to be.

For more information visit us on the web at:



Trim Those Plants

Summer's blast of heat can make even the hardiest of shrubs look brown, tired, and just plain ugly.

Now is the time to give your bushes a hair cut. Trimming the ends of the plant encourages new lush, green growth. Be certain to remove any brown, dead branches to open up the space and help the plant fill in the voids.

Ground covers, such as ivy, will also benefit from a trimming.

Within weeks, new growth will appear, giving a fresh green look.

Notes from Nan


Imagine a hibiscus with a lilac-colored flower. Now add deeply lobed, olive-green leaves that resemble scented geranium leaves. You’ve pictured the drought tolerant blue hibiscus of Australia. In the garden, blue hibiscus is an upright, evergreen shrub that quickly reaches 9 to 10 feet tall and about half as wide. Much of the year the shrub is covered in large five-petal flowers with a crepe papery texture typical of the mallow family. Some are lilac and others deep purple. Occasionally one finds pink or deep magenta flowering individuals, and there is even a white variety……..Learn more information on these amazing flowers in Nan Sterman’s book, California Gardener’s Guide Volume II.

This information is from Nan Sterman's book California Gardener's Guide Volume II published by Cool Springs Press. The book features details with recommended growing areas, pictures of each plant, how to care and grow, garden planting and design ideas for over 184 featured plants!


California Gardener's Guide




Are you firewise?
Is your home safe from wildfires?

Learn how to prepare your home
for wildfire season.

Other Useful Links:


Garden Primer

What's the difference between a daffodil and a narcissus?


There is no difference. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the botanical name for daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies.

Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the American Daffodil Society at all times other than in scientific writing.

In some parts of the country, any yellow daffodil is called a jonquil, usually incorrectly. As a rule, but not always, jonquil species and hybrids are characterized by several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage.

But who really cares? They are all lovely flowers--and we say, "Call them whatever makes you happy!"

Click to print this article.

article picture

By Tamara Galbraith

Here's a basic primer on how to divide some of your perennials. Don't neglect this fall duty; it's nature's way of giving you free plants!

Just like pruning, dividing should be done in the season opposite of planting, i.e., spring flowering = fall dividing and vice versa. Try to plan your dividing project for a cloudy, slightly cooler day with a good chance of rain thereafter.

Most perennials should be divided every three to five years. However, some, like columbines, poppies and euphorbias shouldn't ever be divided, even if they start to clump. Don't divide woody plants like lavender, rosemary or the bigger artemesias either.

Before starting your division project, thoroughly water all plants to be divided a day or two before you dig in. Likewise, prepare planting holes for the new divisions so they aren't languishing (and drying out) above ground for too long. You can also pot up divisions to build up size, overwintering pots in a protected environment. Make sure your tools are clean and, more importantly, very sharp.

Use a sharp pointed shovel or spading fork to dig down deep on all four sides of the plant, about 4 to 6 inches away from the plant. Pry underneath and lift the whole clump to be divided. If the plant is very large and heavy, you may need to divide it right in the ground with a sharp shovel before lifting the new sections out.

Shake or hose off loose soil and remove dead leaves and stems. This will help loosen tangled root balls and make it easier to see what you are doing. Depending on the root system, divide your plants as follows:

• Spreading root systems that have just a mess of disorganized roots include such plants as asters, bee balm, lamb’s ear, purple cornflowers and many other common perennials. Some can get out of control unless you divide them frequently. Luckily, they can usually be pulled apart by hand, or cut apart with shears or a knife. Divide the plants into clumps of three to five vigorous shoots each. Toss the center of the clump into the compost pile if it looks like it's run its course and is weaker than the outside edges.

• As the name suggests, clumping root systems originate from a central clump with multiple growing points and usually have thick fleshy roots. This group includes astilbes, hostas, daylilies and many ornamental grasses. A sharp knife is handy with these guys, as it is often necessary to cut through the thick crowns to separate the divisions. You can also pry apart these roots with two digging forks held back to back. Make sure at least one developing eye or bud exists on each division.

• Rhizomes are stems that grow horizontally at or above the soil level. Irises are the most common perennial with this type of root system. Divide irises any time between a month after flowering until early fall. Cut and discard rhizome sections that are one year or older and/or showing signs of disease and insect damage. Iris divisions should retain a few inches of rhizome and one fan of leaves, trimmed back halfway. Replant with the "shoulders" of the rhizome showing above soil level.

• Tuberous roots, like dahlias, should be cut apart with a sharp knife. Every division must have a piece of the original stem and a growth bud attached. After division they can either be replanted or stored for spring planting.

Silly as it sounds, dividing is probably my favorite fall gardening chore. When you dig up one daylily and all of a sudden it becomes four...well, for an avid gardener, that's like a magic show and a birthday gift all rolled into one!

Hunter Irrigation honors Grangetto's


Kyle Hawkins (left-Grangetto's), Chris Roesink (right-Hunter Industries)


Growing Herbs Indoors

There's something about the taste of fresh, home-grown herbs in cooking that is hard to beat. The flavors are so much more flavorful and aromatic than using something dry out of a shaker bottle. Most home gardeners lament the coming of winter since it usually spells the end of the outdoor growing season. But it doesn't have to be that way. Many herbs can be grown indoors quite successfully in the winter months and then be transplanted into the garden the following spring.

With the right location and care, many herbs can be fooled into thinking that summer is still here. If you're a little nervous or skeptical about growing herbs indoors, use some tried and tested varieties such as chives, coriander, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Most of these can be started by seed, while mint and rosemary can be started by seed or cutting.

Most herbs are sun lovers and will require a southern facing window that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day. For less sunny locations, mint, parsley and rosemary will get by with less sunlight. You might also consider hanging a grow light 6-9 inches above your plants to provide light on cloudy days. Make sure to also rotate your containers at least once per week in order to help your plants grow evenly.

Start your plants in seed trays and then transplant them to window boxes or larger containers once the plants become rooted. Use a good quality potting soil and make sure the containers you use have drainage holes. If you use water trays under your pots, make sure that you check them after watering and drain any standing water in them.

The herbs listed above will do fine provided temperatures are maintained between 55 and 70 degrees. Feed with a water soluble plant food every 2-4 weeks just as you would any other indoor plant, and don't water until the soil surface becomes dry. The use of a small fan will also help herbs survive the stuffy air conditions that can occur indoors in winter.

Plant pests are usually less prevalent during the winter months. Nevertheless, visually check your plants at least once per week, and treat your plants with an insecticidal soap before pests actually become a problem.

So don't let the winter doldrums get you down. Spice up your life and your winter meals with the addition of fresh, homegrown indoor herbs!


Cajun Seafood Pasta
  • 1 pound dry fettuccine pasta
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step by Step:

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, pour cream into large skillet.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just about boiling.
  • Reduce heat, and add herbs, salt, peppers, onions, and parsley.
  • Simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Stir in seafood, cooking until shrimp is no longer transparent.
  • Stir in cheeses, blending well.
  • Drain pasta. Serve sauce over noodles.

Yield: 6 servings


Have a happy and safe Halloween!

By Tamara Galbraith

As Halloween approaches, consider decorating your porch or front sidewalk with some pumpkins of a different color.

Halloween Hangman created by The Dimension's Edge, Inc. If you want a really rare pumpkin, try hunting for a Blue Pumpkin, often referred to as an Australian Blue. These unique pumpkins are smaller and flatter than a standard jack-o'-lantern, with a beautiful bluish grey color. Two red pumpkin varieties sometimes available are "Rouge D'Etant" or "Cinderella."

To complete the red, white and blue trifecta, look for ultra-chic white pumpkins, either in regular sizes or as impish miniatures. All forms of white pumpkins are becoming more popular every year for Halloween and Thanksgiving displays. Larger varieties are named Casper, Lumina and Snowball. And the small ones are Little Boo or Baby Boo.

Striped pumpkins are gaining attention too, especially the Austrian kind known for their cherished green seed oils. And not only does it sport gorgeous green stripes, but the Cushaw pumpkin has an elogated neck like a big squash. Italian cooking cultivars, like Marina Di Chioggia with scary bumpy skin, are also being developed.

Non-orange pumpkins are all edible, of course, but the flavor isn't always that great. Don't hold that against them, though - these colors are too much fun to be ignored. After all, Halloween is the time to dress up and be different!

Pumpkin Fun


Mr. G
'See you next month!'
print thisclick here for a printer friendly version of this page