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Edition 9.10
March 2009
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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.

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"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

~Francis Bacon

Grangetto's Horticultural Seminar: May 13th, 2009 at Wild Animal Park in Escondido. Be on the lookout in March for more information!

Register now!

Manager's Corner: Encinitas

UC IPM kiosk helps solve pest management problems

KioskTouch-Screen Pest Management Kiosks

The University of California Statewide IPM Program has developed a touch-screen kiosk to help consumers around the state solve pest problems, protect the environment, and prevent runoff from residential landscapes.

The IPM Kiosk contains information about 60 common home and garden pests (63 KB, PDF) including identification and management, alternatives to pesticides, and least toxic pest control, as well as safe use and disposal of pesticides. The kiosk also includes tips related to proper watering, fertilizing, and avoiding problems associated with garden chemicals. Kiosk users can look up a pest by category and name or diagnose a problem on plants. Users can watch videos, print and take home information, as well as locate resources for finding additional pest management help in their county.

Kiosks will be placed throughout California as part of UC Master Gardener outreach events and in nurseries, libraries, county fairs, garden exhibits, and plant clinics. For more information about the kiosks, contact Karey Windbiel-Rojas at UC IPM.

Available for use at Grangetto’s Escondido and Encinitas locations March 16th through June 15th!



Comments by Kevin Grangetto

I would like to thank all the readers for their feedback concerning last month’s article, "Grangetto’s Escondido Demonstration Garden Opens" by Tom Jesch. I appreciate the diversity of responses and this month Greg Rubin will present his perspective on designing with native plants. My goal for all of us in the horticultural community to realize is there are many different plant choices we can use as we design landscapes with drought tolerant plants, and the end result needs to be water conservation. We live in an area that has far to long relied on plant choices that are better suited to subtropical climates and as a result we need to lead by example and utilize plants better suited to Southern California's climate.

Are Native Landscapes a Compromise?

If you read Tom Jesch’s article in last month’s Garden Newsletter, you might be left with the impression that a late season native landscape is dead, dried-up and ready to spontaneously combust and burn down your house! How could a person in their right mind surround themselves with such “flammable and dangerous” plants? That greenness and beauty in a water-wise landscape are only achievable by using exotics, thus avoiding the “compromise” of natives.

Read more.

Grangetto's Staff Shines at Annual Company Meeting

Christina Macone-Greene, Special to the Village News

Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Issue 06, Volume 13.

Courtesy photo - Kevin Grangetto (left) presents an award to Dave Paulino, manager of the Fallbrook store, for his 30 years of service to Grangetto's.
Courtesy photo - Kevin Grangetto (left) presents an award to Dave Paulino,
manager of the Fallbrook store, for his 30 years of service to Grangetto's.

The staff of Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply was put in the spotlight at the company's annual meeting at the Best Western Hotel in Escondido on January 22. During the event, Dave Paulino was honored for his 30 years of service to the company and Fallbrook employee Gene Chavez was recognized for his superior help.

Read more.


Spring Planting

It's time for spring planting! Southern California's spring planting season begins on the first of March, so get ready! Those who make sure to set aside extra time for gardening in spring and again in fall find that their gardens require less maintenance during the cool winter and hot summer months. At other times, especially in March and April and again during September and October, some gardeners even spend entire days working outdoors. These are the months when most of the planting is done.

During the month of March you can plant most summer annuals and perennials, warm-season and cool-season lawns from seed, some cool-season and most warm-season vegetables, and almost all permanent garden plants, such as trees, shrubs, ground covers, and vines. (Be sure to wait a month or two to put in tropicals. They'll take off better in warmer weather.) If you've never gardened before you couldn't choose a better time to start, because you'll soon see results. One of the wonderful things about our sunny climate is how quickly it makes the garden grow. Gardeners with low-lying or mesa-top gardens should still be aware of cool temperatures at night and the possibility of frost until March fifteenth, even late April in some foothill locations, but for most of us the weather has warmed up for sure. Winter is officially over! Spring is here!

Spring Planting

Sunshine Pro Planting Mix

Tomatoes are the favorite vegetable for home growing. Select a disease-resistant VF-1 hybrid variety, such as Ace, Better Boy, Celebrity, Early Girl or one that's appropriate for your needs and climate zone.

  • Choose a spot in full sun, and prepare the soil by digging it deeply with a shovel and mixing in Sunshine Pro Planting Mix.
  • Add a good vegetable fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer.
  • Plant transplants deeply. If they're leggy, snip off the lower leaves, make a little trench with the trowel, lay the plant in sideways, and bend the stem up gently. Roots will form all along the buried stem.
  • Choose a staking system (such as a tomato cage or trellis).
  • Water deeply and continue to irrigate so the soil stays evenly moist.

Dr. Earth Tomato, Herb, and Vegetable FertilizerTips on Choosing Your Tomato Plants:

  • Height and bushiness of the plant are serious considerations, particularly for gardeners growing tomatoes in small spaces. Check to see if the variety you select is “determinate” (bush type) or “indeterminate” (vine type).
  • Consider taste, size, shape, color, mildness, (acidity or non-acidity), disease resistance, and cracking resistance.
  • Your intended use for the tomato may dictate your selection. For instance, if you want to use your tomato crop for preserving or for making tomato paste, you'll want to select a variety that has a strong tomato flavor and lasts a long time in the refrigerator. "Roma" is a good variety for making tomato paste.
  • Depending on when you plant, the length of your growing season and if you are patient or not you may be concerned about the "days to maturity" (the time it takes a transplant to bear ripe fruit.)
  • Finally, consider selecting a few unique tomato plants that you haven't tried before or a novelty variety no one else in the neighborhood grows.

Gro Power Conserves Water


Spring Rose Care


Here in California, pruning may have been appropriate as early as January, depending on the class of the rose plant. Why should we prune? Because pruning encourages new growth and bloom, improves air circulation, and helps to shape the plant. It also brings you up close and personal with your plants, allowing you to wash off aphids with a water blast at first sign. Pruning is a spring activity, dictated in cooler climes by the blooming of the forsythia bush. If you haven’t any of these harbingers of warm weather, or live in southern California, watch instead for when the leaf buds begin to swell and redden on your rose plants. To ensure you’ve rid your roses of all lingering diseases and insect eggs, you can fool the plant into a brief period of dormancy by removing all of the leaves. This allows the plant to enjoy a fresh start, and makes it easy for you to remove all debris from the rose bed and replace with fresh mulch.

After pruning is also the time to begin feeding; we recommend using Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care for fertilization and insect prevention.

We’ve answered the “why” of spring pruning, but now we’d like to deal with the specific needs of each class. For modern floribunda that bloom once on new growth, prune hard (1/2 to 2/3 of the plant’s height), removing old woody stems, and leaving 3 to 5 healthy canes evenly spaced around the plant. Cut these from 18 to 24 inches to encourage continuous blooming. Hybrid teas and grandifloras also are new wood bloomers. Prune them in early spring by removing dead and weak wood in an open vase shape, removing center stems. Reduce the remaining stems down to 18 to 24 inches. Whenever possible, cut on a 45 degree angle.

Ramblers bloom only once, on old wood, and may be pruned right after flowering to remove winter damage and dead wood, or to shape. And although climbing roses are repeat bloomers, the above should be followed for them as well.

Modern shrub roses are repeat bloomers on mature, but not old, woody stems. Do not prune them for the first two years, afterwards employing the “one-third” method; each year remove one-third of the oldest canes. Bourbons will repeat bloom on both new and old wood. Prune to remove the dead wood prior to flowering; after the initial flowering you may perform a hard prune and shaping.

Alba, centifolia, damask, gallica, and moss roses bloom only once, producing flowers on old wood; pruning is required only to remove dead wood and for shaping. And miniature roses require pruning only to shape.

When pruning is complete, carefully rake up and discard all pruned material, including leaves and old mulch, and toss all out with the trash; this will discourage diseases and insects.

Bayer Rose CareIf you have been troubled by fungus diseases on your roses, a spring spray of lime sulphur will kill the over-wintered spores of black spot and mildew.

All-In-One Rose & Flower Care Concentrate

Three systemic products in one providing complete rose care, with: fertilizer, insect protection and disease control.

  • Protects against insects and diseases for up to 6 weeks
  • No spraying. Just mix in a watering can and pour at plant base.


March Specials

View more specials here.

Bayer Ad


Protecting Plants from Insects and Disease

Good cultural practices and selecting well-adapted species will go a long way in preventing landscape plants from being attacked by insects and diseases. For example, watering roses at their base without wetting the foliage will help minimize black spot, the most troublesome disease of roses in many parts of the country. And over-fertilizing, whether it be of lawns, roses or trees, is known to invite both insects and disease. Good sanitation--just cleaning up prunings and other plant debris that may harbor insects or disease--will also reduce problems.

Choosing plants that are well adapted to the area in which you live as well as to the exact spot in your garden (sun or shade, wet or dry) where you will plant them, will also help minimize pests. Simply put, healthy plants have fewer problems. And many plants, including flowers, trees and roses, are available in varieties that have been selected or bred to resist known insects or diseases. For example, did you know there are varieties of roses, zinnias and crape myrtles that naturally resist powdery mildew? But despite a gardener's best intentions, pest problems inevitably occur. Bayer Advanced offers a variety of effective systemic (active ingredients are absorbed into plant tissues) pest control options for flowers worthy of springtime review. Indoor plants should be sprayed or treated outside, then brought back inside once dry.

Bayer Advanced™ All-In-One Rose & Flower Care Concentrate's exclusive formula feeds and protects against insects and diseases in one easy step. It provides six weeks of protection against major disease problems, including black spot, powdery mildew and rust, of roses, hibiscus, and other flowers and shrubs. It also controls many insect pests, including aphids, adult Japanese beetles, lace bugs, scales, thrips and whitefly. No spraying is necessary; just mix in a bucket or watering can and pour around the base of the plant. Root uptake starts the systemic process that distributes the product throughout the plant.

Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control ConcentrateBayer Advanced™ Tree & Shrub Insect Control Concentrate is the only tree and shrub insect control that provides 12 months of protection with one application. It contains the proprietary MERIT® systemic insecticide for maximum, rainproof results. No spraying is required; just mix and pour at the base of the tree or shrub. It controls many insect pests, including adelgids, aphids, adult Japanese beetles, lace bugs, leaf-feeding beetles, psyllids, scales, thrips, whitefly, and many wood boring pests.

March Gardening Tips


  • This month roses will begin that first bloom. For those of you who were waiting to select a new rose plant until you could see the actual flower, this will be the month to stop by the garden center and stroll through the roses!

  • Azaleas and camellias are best planted while blooming. They began their blooming in February, so March is right in the middle of their blooming season. DON'T feed your camellias until they have completed their blooming! If you do, they will drop all remaining buds and you will be so very unhappy, thinking that you killed your shrub. Fertilize to reward the plant AFTER the blooming ends.

  • Spring color plants are arriving! Color up your gardens with perennials and annuals. Look for perennials such as campanula, columbine, coral bells, delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), diascia, penstemon, salvia, yarrow and so much more. Great annuals to pick from include celosia, coleus, dianthus, linaria, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, petunias, salvias, and verbena.

  • There is still time for planting bulbs!

  • Ladies and gentlemen: Start your vegetable gardens! Such veggies as the cabbage family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli), squash, lettuce, spinach, peppers, and cool season tomatoes will be in this month.  We carry a full line of Stover Seeds to start your garden! Transplants are also available. This is also a good time not only to prune back herbs from last year, but also add in new plants such as chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.

  • Plant a giant pumpkin for Halloween.

For more March gardening tips, click here.



Sluggo Ad


Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

Snails and slugs are a real challenge to a gardener's patience, but there are many choices for dealing with them which you might not have been aware of. The good news is that many of these solutions to the snail & slug problem are non-toxic!

Remember the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach of starting with the least toxic?
Here are some ideas:

  1. Hand-pick and dispose of them by your choice of methods. These would include stomping them, throwing them in the street, dropping them in a bucket of salt water, and so forth!
  2. Coax them out of the flowerbed by laying a flat board on the ground. They will crawl under it to get away from the heat of the sun; then you just swish them off into the trash.
  3. Put out a saucer of stale beer; they are attracted to the scent of it and will crawl in and drown!
  4. Apply a copper band around flower pots. Snails cannot tolerate copper and they will not cross it. These are available commercially, or you can make your own.
  5. Put down scratchy things (snails don't like doing the equivalent of walking across broken glass in bare feet). Finely crushed eggshells and diatomaceous earth (this will need replacing if it gets wet) work well.
  6. Get friendly with the larger neighborhood predators. Possums, ducks, turtles, tortoises, rats, some birds, and snakes (and even my former neighbor's springer spaniel) will prey on snails and slugs.
  7. Try snails that like other snails for dinner. The predatory snail Rumina decollata (decollate snail) will feed on young snails and may be worth a try but also may nibble on young plants on occasion . It takes a little time to get them established but many people have been pleased with the results.
  8. Don't forget the predacious beetle Calosma, which also feeds on snails and slugs.
  9. If these fail, try a pet-safe snail bait such as Monterey Sluggo. This is also OMRI approved for organic use!

Use baits weekly for at least three weeks to get rif of all generations.

A word of caution if you have been using a pelleted form of snail bait: it can be dangerous around pets as it looks like food to them. The finer granule type is much safer, but still be careful; read the label and use as directed.

Growing Grapes: Getting Started

Plant vines in full sunPlanting

Early spring is the best time to plant grapevines. Fall planting is not recommended because plants are likely to be lost to heaving during the first winter. During the first year the soil is prepared for planting, cultivars are selected, and vines are planted, mulched, fertilized and kept free of weeds, insects and diseases. Prune off broken or dead portions of branches and roots. At the same time, prune top growth to a single cane. During the first year, the vines are normally tied to a stake to keep them off the ground, prevent damage and make spraying more effective. If the season of planting is dry, supplemental watering is also necessary to keep the vines growing. It is important to get as much first-year growth as possible.

From UC IMP Online:


Combating Aphids

Aphids come in a number of sizes and colors, winged and non-winged. All are pesky little insects to gardeners. Why are they considered a pest? Aphids are "suckers"-- they suck juices from the plant leaves and stems. Some can also transmit plant viruses via that sucking mouth-piece.

What else do we know about aphids? Well, they certainly are not Speedy Gonzales! They are slow-moving, soft-bodied insects that suck juices from our plants, and excrete a clear sugary liquid that we call "honeydew." Frequently, in the presence of an aphid-infected plant, you will notice a stream of ants working busily around the aphids. They are protecting the aphids because these ants want access to the honeydew.

Also, it is upon honeydew that sooty mold can grow and leave a black, sooty deposit on the foliage of the infected plant. Many customers have mentioned that they thought this deposit was pollution or dirt. It's not pollution or dirt--it's a fungal mold.


Aphids have many natural enemies in our gardens. Adult and larval forms of ladybugs and lacewings, syrphid flies, soldier beetles and parasitoid wasps (these guys are tiny, not your average wasp) all love to eat aphids. A good approach to aphid management begins with maintaining a healthy garden and encouraging these beneficial insects to make your garden their home. This is done through plant diversity and health.

Another very easy method of aphid removal is simply using water to knock them off the infected plant. If the aphid is in the process of probing/sucking a juicy stem when you knock it off--and it probably is doing just that--the mouthpiece will be broken and the aphid will no longer be able to eat. See what a simple pest control water can be--and a safe method at that?

We carry spray oils and other insecticides that can be used for more severe infestations--ask us which is best for your needs.

The Fungus that Can Be Your Friend in the Garden

Untangling the fine thread of Mycorrhizal fungus

Cindy McNattCindy McNatt
Home and Garden columnist
The Orange County Register

You can do some really nice things for your plants--water and feed them, put them in the right spot to begin with based on their desire for sun or shade, make sure they are hunkered down for the winter and sprinkle them with water when the heat is too much. You can also offer them their favorite fungus, mycorrhizae (pronounced "Mike or I zee").

Read more.


Water Conservation Garden Launches Horticultural Help Line on March 3


12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
El Cajon, California 92019

Water Conservation Garden Launches Horticultural Help Line on March 3:

“The Water Smart Pipeline”

RANCHO SAN DIEGO, CA-- “How can I get rid of my grass?” “What low water groundcover withstands foot traffic?” Can I have color in my garden without using much water?” These questions and more are frequently asked by San Diegans looking to install water smart landscapes.

To help answer people’s concerns about how to garden in these water-challenging times, the Water Conservation Garden will debut its “Water Smart Pipeline,” a telephone question and answer line, on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at 8:30 am.

Nan Sterman, instructor of the garden’s popular “Bye Bye Grass” class, author of California Gardener’s Guide Volume 2, and host of the gardening television program “A Growing Passion” will answer questions about water smart landscaping for callers to 866-962-7021. The Pipeline will be open for calls from 9 am to12:30 pm on Tuesday mornings and 1 pm to 4:30 pm on Thursday afternoons through the end of the year.

“Water Smart gardening is no longer an option” Sterman says, “it is the way we have to live. To many people, it feels like a challenging transition. In reality, it isn’t that hard. My goal is to make it easier by answering questions that come from the public and from professionals, too.”

Initial funding for the Water Smart Pipeline comes from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.

Information about the Water Conservation Garden and all of its water smart landscaping programs can be found at


Daylight Savings Time

Remember to "spring forward!"
Don't forget to set your clocks one hour ahead on March 8, 2009 at 2 a.m.!

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 am on Sunday, March 8, 2009, and ends at 2 am on Sunday, November 1, 2009, so be sure to set your clocks forward one hour! On the second Sunday in March, your clocks should be set from 2:00 a.m. local standard time, to 3:00 a.m. local daylight time. Previously DST began in April and ended in October, but this is the third year that Daylight Saving Time has been extended by four weeks. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which enacted the extended period, is expected to save 10,000 barrels of oil each day due to reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours, and by individuals in lighting their homes.

Ironically, not all places in the United States observe Daylight Saving Time; Hawaii and most of Arizona do not use it, and Indiana waited until 2006 to adopt the usage of it.

The original concept is attributed to Benjamin Franklin in 1784. In a whimsical letter to a French journal, he said that Parisians could save thousands of francs a year by waking up earlier during the summer because it would prevent them from having to buy so many candles to light the evening hours.

We remember to change our clocks by the phrase "Spring forward, fall back." As spring begins on March 20, 2009, a mere 12 days after the onset of Daylight Saving Time, why not embrace this season of renewal, and replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This simple act will reassure the safety of your family; properly working detectors save thousands of lives each year.


Terrific Turkey Chili

Pancit is a traditional noodle dish from the Philippines
that is not only healthy, but tasty too!
Get the recipe here.


Mr. G
'See you next month!'
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