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Edition 9.01
January 2009
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Choose California Native Plants

Choose California Native Plants to help reduce water usage

Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

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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!


Free 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

Hunter Industries Commit To Blue Blog

Hunter Industries Blog:
Commit To Blue

Fresh Produce

Want Fresh Organic Produce?

Monterey Lawn & Garden Spray Schedules

Stone Fruits: Almonds, Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Prunes
Apples and Pears
Flower Garden Spray Guide
Ornamental Trees and Shrubs Spray Guide
Vegetable Spray Guide

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(760) 944-5777

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

7 am - 5 pm
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Mr. G's Irrigation
Fertilizing Guides

Fertilizers and Soil Amendments:

  • Dry and Liquid Fertilizers
  • Organic Fertilizers
  • Foliar Nutrients
  • Bulk and Bagged Soil Mixes


Pest Control Products:

  • Fungicides
  • Insecticides
  • Weed Control (herbicides)
  • Rodent Control
    Conventional and Organic Available

Irrigation Supplies:

  • Controllers
  • Rain Sensors
  • Drip Irrigation
  • Soil Sensors
  • Low-Flow & Micro Irrigation
  • Pipe/Fittings
  • Glue
  • Valves
  • Poly Hose

Seed and Sod:

  • Lawn Seed & Sod
  • Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Seed

Picking Supplies:

  • Ladders
  • Picking Poles
  • Picking Bags
  • Clippers, Loppers, Hand Pruners, Tree Pruners

Power Equipment:

  • A Full Line of Echo Power Equipment

Erosion Control:

  • Straw Wattles
  • Jute Netting
  • Sand Bags
  • Silt Fence
  • Straw Matts

Drainage Supplies:

  • Styrene, Corrugated & SDR35 Pipe
  • Catch Basins & Fittings

Safety & Rain Gear Supplies:

  • Boots
  • Spray Suits
  • Dusk Masks - Respirators
  • Gloves
  • Hearing Protection
See our web page.



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

Where Did All These Weeds Come From?


Garden Trivia

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Quotation of the Week:

"A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other."
— Author Unknown

Manager's Corner: RC Allen is back in Grangetto’s Valley Center Location!

RC Allen has taken over the reins at Grangetto's Valley Center Store and as a long standing member of the Valley Center Community he is glad to be back.

RC was an assistant manager at the Valley Center location for a number of years and has recently been the Commercial Manager at Grangetto's Escondido location.

Tim Maher is our new assistant manager and served in the same capacity at Grangetto's Encinitas location.

RC, Tim, Stan, and James would like all the readers of the VC Roadrunner to come on down and say hello. We welcome the opportunity to serve the communities of Valley Center, Pauma Valley, and Palomar Mountain.


DaVinci Water Gardens


Aerating Lawns

Warmer climates

Aerating LawnsYour lawn needs to breathe, just as you do. We frequently forget that plants incorporate oxygen into their life cycles, just as we do. So, whether you're a novice gardener, or an experienced one, remember this word: aeration. Basically, it's poking holes in your lawn so that soil that has become compacted is loosened, increasing its nooks and crannies that absorb water, air, and nutrients. Aeration also stimulates root growth, reduces water runoff, and increases the lawn's drought tolerance, all of which improve the overall health.

Soil compaction causes turf deterioration, and occurs in common situations, such as when we walk on our lawns, and when we mow them; the first 2 to 3 inches of soil suffer the most.

Thick lawns should be aerated on a regular basis, usually every year. If you do so, your lawn will be greener, easier to maintain, and will suffer from fewer pest problems and disease.

Now that we've discussed the need for aeration, let's talk about just how we should accomplish it. If your lawn area is manageably small, push a spading fork into the grass to the depth of 4", and rock it back and forth, thus loosening the soil. However, this is rather labor-intensive for a normal sized lawn, so we suggest that you contact your local Lawn Aeration Contractor such as Aerations Plus.

Your lawn will thank you.

Lawn Aeration Ad


This Month's Specials

Grangetto's January Specials

View this month's specials.

The 20 Gallon Challenge

The San Diego Region Working Together to Conserve Water

Despite recent rains, the San Diego region continues to face significant water supply challenges created by drought and court-ordered restrictions on water deliveries from Northern California. 

In 2008, court restrictions cut water deliveries from the State Water Project – a key San Diego County supply source – by about 30 percent.  In fact, new regulatory measures put in place in late 2008 could further reduce water deliveries from the State Water Project in 2009 and perhaps beyond.  More rainfall this winter will not solve these problems.  Some water districts have approved mandatory water use restrictions, and additional restrictions could be imposed next year.

You can help our region by reducing your outdoor water use immediately.  Some simple steps to eliminate water waste include:

  • Watering only as needed during winter months; landscapes in many areas can be watered once a week or even less during the season’s short, cool days.
  • Turning off irrigation systems altogether when rainstorms come, and leaving them off for a week or more following major storms.
  • Checking for leaky irrigation pipes, risers or sprinkler heads, and fix them right away. 
  • Cleaning driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of a hose.

Water will always be a precious resource in this semi-arid region, so it also makes sense to find ways to permanently reduce your water use.  You can achieve significant water savings by switching part or all of your landscape from turf and other thirsty plants to beautiful, water-wise plant choices, and by upgrading your irrigation system with more efficient controllers, sprinkler heads, and other equipment.

The San Diego County Water Authority and local water agencies offer rebates on a suite of water-saving devices and appliances.  For more tips and rebate information, visit  You can also make a pledge to save water and receive admission discounts to LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Thank you for your efforts to save water!

Save Water Now -- Join the 20-Gallon Challenge!


Protecting Your Plants from Frost

The cold, cloudless evenings in winter may be hazardous to the health of your plants.

Remember the freeze in 2007 that lasted almost a week! Brrrrrrrr. Some plants and trees just can’t handle cold weather like this. PROTECT THEM!

During the day, your plants and the soil absorb and store heat from the sun. As the day turns into night, your plants quickly begin to lose all of their stored heat. Clouds will help to insulate and slow the loss of the heat, but a cloudless, wind free night will afford no protection whatsoever. The temperature within the soil and in the plant's cells may even drop to a few degrees colder than the air.

As the temperature drops, the moisture in the air condenses into dew, which then freezes when the temperature reaches 32 degrees F. on the plant surfaces. At 32 degrees, damage to most plants may be minimal, and only affect a leaf or two. However, if the temperature drops far enough for the plant cells to freeze, the effects can be devastating.

Weather conditions can bring about a frost, even in supposedly frost free areas. It is important to heed the warning when your local forecaster announces 'a chance of frost', and take precautions to protect your garden.

One of the main types of prevention most think of is covering plants. Woven fabrics are better than solid ones such as plastic. DeWitt N-Sulate Cloth and Burlap Sheets are some types you can use.

Whatever fabric is used, greater protection comes from not having the material rest directly on the plants. Apply covers in early evening as winds die down, and remove the next morning as the sun warms the plants.

Designing a garden with raised beds (Garden Crib) will also help guard plants against frost during cold temperatures. Cold air tends to collect in sunken areas rather than higher mounds. Raised beds also make covering of plants easier. The best way to know what type of precautionary measure you should take for tender garden plants is knowing their individual needs. The more you know the better off your garden and tender plants will be.

There are many other solutions to frost protection and a Grangetto’s Expert can help you make the right choice for your plants. Contact us or stop by your local Grangetto’s store.

Frost Protection Products

Garden Crib

Garden Crib

Protecting your plants from frost

The Benefits of Frost Cloth such as DeWitt N-Sulate

Protecting Citrus From Freeze

Protecting Citrus From Freeze


Kellogg Garden Videos


January is the Time to


• Purchase and plant bare-root roses, trees, vines, berries and vegetables.  Use Kellogg’s Gromulch for planting all bare root fruit trees & roses. Mulch around plants to hold in moisture.  Apply Liquinox Start Vitamin B-1 for transplant shock.

How to plant a bare-root tree

• Choose and plant camellias and azaleas.


Read more about what to do for your garden in January!


Growing Grapes

By Lum Eisenman
San Diego Amateur Wine Making Society

Most commercial vineyards sell grapes by the ton and they prefer to sell their crops to local wineries under long-term contracts. Home winemakers prefer to purchase grapes by the pound each year, so they are seldom able to purchase really high quality grapes. Consequently, many San Diego home winemakers are planting small vineyards.

Grapevines are not very fussy. They can be successfully grown in sandy soils, clay soils and rocky soils. Vines do require full sun exposure, so they will not do well in a shady spot. In addition to full sun, vines don't like wet feet, so well drained soils are needed.

How Big
Crop size depends on the grape variety, weather, soil conditions, vine density, water, etc. One to two tons per acre is usual for old, dry farmed vineyards planted in the cool coastal regions of California. Fruit from old vines often display concentrated flavors, and the intense flavors carry over into the wine. On the other hand, heavily fertilized and irrigated vineyards in the Central Valley often produce 12 or more tons per acre. Fruit quality suffers when production is so high, and such large crops often result in wine with poor color, low acidity and weak flavors.

In large well-managed vineyards, yields of 3 or 4 tons of grapes per acre can be expected for quality grape varieties. If an acre contains 600 vines (a reasonable number) and produces four tons of fruit, each vine is producing about 13 pounds of grapes. Thirteen pounds of grapes will make about a gallon of wine, so a gallon of wine per vines is often used as a rough estimate. But, such yields may be too optimistic for small vineyards. Small, isolated vineyards are more difficult to manage successfully, and they are much more susceptible to deer, coyote, rabbit, bird, and bee and wasp damage.

Vineyard Layout
Fifty years ago, vineyard rows were often 12 feet apart, and the vines were spaced 8 to 10 feet apart in the rows. Many old Cucamonga vineyards were spaced 12 feet by 12 feet and only contained about 275 vines per acre. Most of these vineyards were dry farmed, and the wide spacing and free standing vines allowed the vineyards to be cross cultivated to remove the weeds and conserved the available water. In recent years, the trend has been to plant closer spaced vines. Today, new vineyards are being planted with rows spaced from 7 to 10 feet apart, and the vines are spaced 4 to 8 feet apart in the rows. The closer vine spacing results in 600 to 1200 vines per acre, and when adequate trellises are used, the greater vine density can result in larger crops and higher quality fruit.

Depending on growing condition, vines require 20 or more inches of water per year. (One inch of rain covering an acre is called an acre-inch and contains about 27,500 gallons). For normal spacing, vines occupy the space available, so the annual water required per vine depends on the number of vines per acre. Vineyards with normal vine spacing and in warm locations may require 500 or so gallons of water per vine per year.

The average rainfall in San Diego is only about 10 inches per year, and crop size will be very low or even nonexistent without supplemental water. Since less than half the needed water is supplied by rainfall, an additional 10 to 20 inches of water will be needed in most locations. Most local vineyards are irrigated with drip systems because water is expensive in San Diego County. Most of the water is lost through the leaves, so the amount of water used by vines depends primarily on the size of the canopy and the ambient temperature. Water requirements are very low when vines are dormant, and water demand is highest in July and August when the canopies are large and the ambient temperature is high. The water needed by vines varies greatly with growing conditions, so judging how much water a new vineyard may require is difficult.

Planting Costs
Contractors charge from $15,000 to $35,000 per acre to plant new vineyards on clear land. These costs include land preparation, an irrigation system, a trellis system and planting with grafted cuttings. Costs can be even higher when new vineyards require extensive grading, drilling wells, etc. Home winemakers often plant their own vineyards, and the savings can be significant since much of the overall cost is labor. The cost of materials for a simple 2-wine trellis and a drip irrigation system can range from $2,000 to $5,000 per acre. Sometimes, second hand materials for an irrigation system or a trellis can be found, and the savings can be considerable. Grafted vines cost from four to six dollars when purchased in small quantities. But, Phylloxera is not a problem in San Diego County, so vines can be successfully grown on their own roots from cuttings. Cuttings are easier to plant than rooted stock, and cuttings can often be obtained for little or nothing at pruning time.

Even small vineyards require a significant amount of labor each season. Weeds must be controlled by cultivation or by spraying with a herbicide each spring. Most local vineyards must be sprayed or dusted from 2 to 8 times each year to control powdery mildew and some locations require additional spray applications to control insect pests. Vines must be pruned each winter, and most amateurs can only prune 200 vines or so per day, so several days may be needed to prune an acre. Grapes must be picked promptly when they become ripe. Picking is hot, dirty work, and under good conditions, most amateurs will pick a few hundred pounds per day. Picking is much slower when grapes must be carried long distances out of the vineyard, or when the bees and wasps are troublesome.

Many home winemakers plant their own vineyard because buying high quality grapes is difficult. However, considerable time and labor are needed to grow good grapes. In addition, little crop is produced the first two years, and four years are often needed to produce a full crop.



Aerating Lawns

This free course consists of four consecutive classes in landscape water management, each building upon principles presented in the preceding class. Every participant receives a bound reference handbook, as well as a certificate of completion at the end of the course listing all classes completed.

Read more.

Protector del Agua: Capacitación en paisajismo para el Jardinero Paisajista Profesional

Este curso gratuito consta de cuatro clases consecutivas acerca del control del agua en cada una fundada en los principios presentados en la clase anterior. Los participantes reciben consulta engargolado, así como un certificado de terminación al final del curso, donde se las clases tomadas.

Aprenda más.

Fertilizing Basics

by Tamara Galbraith

So, it's the middle of winter and temperatures have risen to a balmy level. As a gardener, you're itching to get out and work in the yard. But what's to do this time of year?

Turn to your trees and shrubs - they could probably use some attention while they rest comfortably in winter dormancy. Here are some winter pruning pointers:

Non-flowering hardwood trees and shrubs should be pruned at this time of year to improve the plant's structure. Making cuts in the dormant season also reduces the chance of transmitting disease, discourages excessive sap flow and avoids the problem of possible pest infestation. Conifers can be trimmed any time, but are best pruned during the dormant season, as sap and resin flow are minimized from the cut branches.

Flowering trees and shrubs, with a few exceptions, should also be pruned during the dormant season for the same reasons stated above. However, do NOT yet prune trees and shrubs that flower in early spring--you'll be cutting off the buds that will open in a few months. Spring-flowering trees and shrubs should instead be pruned immediately after flowering. A good rule of thumb is that you should prune in the season opposite of flowering, i.e. flower in spring = prune in fall, and flower in summer = prune in winter.

Ornamental grasses that die during the winter should be given a 'flat-top haircut' about 3"-4" above ground at the end of winter, before new growth starts to emerge. Evergreen grasses should be left alone.

Of course, dead branches and canes can be removed any time of the year, especially those obviously suffering from insect and/or disease damage. If you suspect disease, be sure to disinfect your pruning tools with a germ-killing spray like Lysol™ before and after cutting plants. Do not put diseased or insect-infested cuttings in your compost pile.


Dr. Earth Rose Food

Pruners Ad

Fertilizing Basics

This will be (hopefully) a very basic, non-technical guide to fertilizing (feeding) your plants.

First of all, when we fertilize keep in mind this is supplement feeding. Many nutrients are in our soil already but they are "locked up" or unavailable in a form that plants can utilize due to P.H.(have acid or alkaline-more about that later) or soil texture problems.

Remember--the more pliable your soil is, with lots of organic materials--the less nutrient amendment is needed. A good soil will feed your plants naturally; supplemental feeding can make them grow bigger and better! If there was any confusion in last month's newsletter, working the amendment into the top few inches of the soil is for small plants (they can sink and suffer crown rot problems). Larger plants should be amended according to their size needs; a good rule of thumb is to till or dig a shovel's depth and fully work/mix in the soil amendment. However, use caution so as not to damage the root base.

Organics vs. Chemical fertilizers
The plant doesn't know the difference between them, but the soil does. Chemical fertilizers feed the plant. Organic fertilizers feed the soil so the soil feeds the plant naturally. Both have advantages; chemical fertilizers are fast acting and may later take care of specific problems. In any case, remember to feed your plants organically or chemically, and remember to always follow the label directions.

Work the fertilizer into the soil at the drip line of the plant--that's where the feeding roots are. The drip line is where, if you drew an imaginary line from the outermost branches to the ground, rain would fall. There's nothing wrong with fertilizing a dry plant as long as you immediately water in the fertilizer well. And some plants prefer liquid fertilizer as the absorption properties are preferable for certain plants.

Understanding "N.P.K."
All fertilizers have 3 numbers on the bag; the first (N) is nitrogen-for the green; second (P) is phosphorous- for fruit & flowers, and third (K) is potassium-for overall vigor of the plant.

For our soils the most important is nitrogen, it needs to be replenished because it moves freely through the soil and can be washed out. Complete or all-purpose type fertilizers are good to use at planting time (phosphorous and potassium need to be worked in) as they don't move well through our alkaline soils. It is especially important to feed plants in containers regularly or they won't have anything to eat!

How often? Follow label directions, usually it will say monthly during the growing season or with organics every other month because they are slower acting (you will also notice the NPK numbers on those bags are smaller). Follow label directions for specialty fertilizers such as those for azaleas or fruit trees.

An easy fertilizer for beginners and one of my favorites is Gro-Power. It has an acid-humus base and everything likes it. Dr. Earth products are very gentle and relatively safe around pets because they are all organic. Kellogg's fertilizers are easy to use and have fast results and work well for specific nutrient needs. Remember to water in well!

To review:

1. Check fertilizer choice for N.P.K. numbers and choose one with plenty of nitrogen.
2. Follow label directions!
3. Work into soil at the drip line
4. Water in well--never fertilize a dry plant!

A Grangetto’s Expert can assist you with the choosing the right fertilizer and how to use it!

Article Picture

How do I know if I have poor drainage?


First, your plants won't look happy. (Surprise!) The foliage will look dull and lack the luster and intense color of a healthy plant. If it is a blooming plant, it may produce few blooms or none at all. When the condition becomes severe, the plant will drop its leaves from the interior first, eventually working its way to the leaf tips.

The second sure sign is if you are not watering much but the ground stays continually wet, or even has moss or algae growing on it. The soil may also have an odor. What is important to remember is that every time plants are watered, the soil temperature is lowered by up to twenty degrees. Most plants are stimulated to grow as the soil temperature warms up. If the soil is always wet, the soil temperature will be cooler than the plant desires and it won't grow much.

Poorly draining soil also attracts bad bacteria that can attack the root system, in addition to providing less oxygen for the plant. If you think you have bad drainage, gently lift the plant out of the ground with a shovel--being careful not to damage roots.

If the soil is wet at the bottom of the hole, dig it deeper and back-fill with at least six inches of gravel. Then build a mound that will raise the plant 3-6 inches higher than the surrounding soil level and re-plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the mound. If that doesn't work, you may need to find a different location for the plant.

Drainage Supplies available at your local Grangetto’s!

Drainage Supplies Ad


What is a spreader sticker?

A spreader sticker is a product designed to enhance your lawn and garden chemicals by making them work better. When added to garden sprays it creates better distribution and adhesion of all types of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. It helps your chemicals stick to plants and spread out evenly on the leaf surface which maximizes effectiveness.

It is a must when applying dormant sprays (since no foliage can absorb the spray) and on weeds with hairy leaves such as oxalis and thistle. On hairy plants, the spreader sticker makes the leaf hairs stand up on end and breaks the surface tension of the spray. This lets the spray go directly to the leaf surface and not bead or be deflected by the leaf hairs. Just think of a spreader sticker as a mousse for plant hairs.

We recommend adding a spreader sticker such as Lilly Miller Superior Type Spray Oil to all garden sprays such as Lilly Miller Polysul Summer & Dormant Spray to make them more effective.

Ask a Grangetto’s Expert for help in choosing the right product for your specific plants!


My fruit tree didn't bear any fruit last year; what's the problem?

Fruit trees need to flower in order to produce fruit. There are a couple of different causes for fruit trees not flowering. The soil could lack phosphorus, which helps trees produce flowers. It is important to apply a fertilizer such Best 6-24-24 to the soil around your trees in November and again in January to provide these vital nutrients. Also make sure not to dormant-prune beyond the previous year's cuts; otherwise you will cut off all of the blooming wood.

We recommend pruning for size control in June using backyard orchard culture techniques. Also, make sure your tree is a self-fertile variety or has the correct pollinator tree, or you won't get any fruit. Remember, only one third of all blossoms will be pollinated and only one third of those pollinated will bear fruit. So, the more blossoms you have, the more fruit you get!

Note: Singing to your tree, massaging it, pleading with it, praying, or having a stern talk with it have been claimed to be effective (to varying degrees) in certain "deeper" parts of the country.

Aerating Lawns

Now is the time of year to plant winter vegetables and flowers. Vegetables may include broccoli, collards, cauliflower, spinach, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, peas, beets, Swiss chard and many more.

Flowers may include pansies, stock, snapdragons, primroses, Iceland, Shirly poppies and many more. They can all be planted by seed or live potted transplants.

We carry both seeds and transplants for a variety of vegetables and flowers. Visit us today for more planting tips and what to plant now!


Alta Vista Gardens

Alta Vista Gardens is located in Brengle Terrace Park Vista, CA.

Children's Garden committee meeting Tuesday, Jan 13th at 3:00 pm.
We will meet at the garden house to plan our year of activities. A contest is planned to name the Children's garden--details at the meeting. We also plan to have a late spring groundbreaking ceremony.

Collection maintenance and propagation will have prominent focus this year.

The Jungle garden area will be enhanced by a downhill stream this year.

Volunteers are always welcome.

Check out our web site for details of our ambitious projects.

If you would like more information or would like to be added to our newsletter, please contact Don Nelson at Phone 760 945-3954 or email:

Web site:


Pest of the Month: Pitch Canker

Dieback of branch tips on Monterey pine caused by pitch canker.

Photo by Karen Wikler

Pitch CankerPitch canker is a disease of pine trees that is caused by the fungus Fusarium circinatum. Douglas fir can also be infected, but this is rare and infected trees are not severely damaged. The disease was first observed in California in Santa Cruz County in 1986. Since then it has spread rapidly and now occurs in 18 coastal counties. Most pines native to California are susceptible to pitch canker, but Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) is the most widely affected host. Pitch canker has also been reported in Mexico, southeastern United States, Japan, Spain, Chile, and South Africa. Genetic analyses of F. circinatum populations from around the world indicate that the pathogen originated in Mexico, and its recent introduction into California came by way of the southeastern United States.


Raspberry Cookie Squares



  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup toffee bits
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cool
  • 1 jar (18 oz.) seedless red raspberry jam
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Dark Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Red raspberries (fresh)

Step by Step:

  • Heat oven to 350? F.
  • Grease 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  • Stir together flour, sugar, toffee chips, and egg in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside 1-1/2 cup crumb mixture.
  • Press remaining crumb mixture on bottom of prepared pan. Stir jam to soften, carefully spread over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips. Crumble remaining crumb mixture evenly over top.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Cool completely in pan or wire rack; cut into bars.
  • To add a dark chocolate drizzle over bars melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler. Drizzle over bars. Garnish with fresh raspberries or as desired.

Yield 36 bars.


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