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Edition 9.14
April 2009
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Water: Save it or Lose it

The San Diego County Water Authority and local water agencies offer rebates on a suite of water-saving devices and appliances. 
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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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Be sure to check out upcoming events!
There are many garden events coming up!
Be sure to check out our "Upcoming Events" section!



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"Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul."
~Linda Solegato

Kevin's Corner

April is here already and our landscapes, gardens and fruit trees are ready to receive their nourishment. Have you fed your plants? We have Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care on sale this month and your roses will love you for it! Water Conservation starts with you and let Grangetto's help you with an irrigation tune-up. Have you installed MP rotators in your turfgrass and shrub beds to reduce over-watering? They are eligible for a rebate of $4.00/nozzle!  Go to for rebate information on these and many other water conserving devices. Mulch is a great way to conserve moisture and limit weed growth so be sure to put down some of our G&B Compost this month. Happy Easter from Grangetto's!


April Seminars


AG Pals Needs Your Help!

Sustainable Agriculture Education at the San Diego County Fair

We are looking for the following project support: organizations, interns and volunteers to support hands-on sustainable agriculture education at the San Diego County Fair. No experience necessary, just a passion to make a difference.

Ag PALS (Partnership for Agriculture and Landscape Sustainability) will have two manned educational displays at the San Diego County Fair this year, one in the Wyland Bldg. (Agri-Fair), and one at the Farm at the Fair. Hydroponics, Aquaponics, in-ground field techniques and a green roof will be part of our education experience. If you have an interest and some time to volunteer to help with the exhibits please call Alex Kallas at 760-977-8892, email , or David Stepp at 760 749-3562

Ag PALS is a 501c3 educational nonprofit. Ag PALS' focus is using sustainable agriculture, environmental awareness, and creative thought processes to teach people about growing plants, food, food safety, nutrition and conservation. When applied as a Horticulture Therapy, we have achieved success with at-risk kids, young adults, US Veterans returning from service, and persons of all ages who have disabilities or are disadvantaged.

The Fair is continuing its great efforts for kids and learning at the fair this year. Let's do all we can to help.

SEE YOU AT THE FAIR: June 12 thru July 5, 2009.


Manager's Corner: Encinitas

Introducing Maria Sanchez…

Maria SanchezMaria Sanchez is our New Escondido Retail Store Manager!

Hugh Hamilton retired at the end of January 2009 and Maria was his Assistant Manager for 7 years. She started with Grangetto's in 2000 and will be celebrating her 9th anniversary this year.

Maria and her husband Luis have 2 children, Luis and Diego.

"I enjoy working for Grangetto's, meeting our customers and helping them with their gardening questions. We have a great team and Kevin sets the vision for the company and holds us accountable for achieving our goals. I enjoy having the opportunity to learn and help all of our customers with their landscaping challenges. Come in and see me today!" ~Maria Sanchez


April Specials

View more specials here.

Butterfly Garden Special

The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is hosting Butterfly Jungle April 4 - 26, 2009. This three-week event celebrates butterflies and other pollinators in the animal kingdom -- birds, bugs and bats. Guests are encouraged to dress for the Butterfly Jungle -- There is a daily contest for the best bug or butterfly costume and hat.

The Butterfly Wrangler will entertain guests while he attempts to round up his "herd" of butterflies that have scattered throughout the Park. During Butterfly Jungle the Wild Animal Park will have a special Discovery Station for guests to learn about bugs and their role in the eco-system. On Jameson Research Island guests can learn about the life cycle of butterflies and the amazing elements of plant pollination. The various stages of butterfly development - caterpillar to pupa to butterfly - will also be on display.

Butterfly Jungle festivities are included with paid admission to the Wild Animal Park. For more information, go to

Butterfly Garden Coupon

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Pondless, Custom Waterfall: A Vision of Beauty
Custom Waterfall

Recently, a custom-made waterfall, adjacent paving stone seating area and butterfly gardens were installed by DaVinci Water Gardens at Grangetto’s Rancho Santa Fe store. DaVinci Water Gardens specializes in the design, construction and maintenance of ponds, waterfalls, pondless waterfalls, koi ponds, lakes and streams--often complemented with adjacent outdoor living areas and bird and butterfly habitats.

A pondless waterfall is just what it sounds like: a waterfall without a pond. Rather than cascading into a pond, the water makes its way downstream and eventually falls into a bed of gravel. Hidden from view, beneath this gravel bed, is a pump which circulates the water back up to the uppermost falls. Pondless waterfalls are often preferred by parents with small children since there are no areas of deep water to fall into. They can also be set up on timers to run only during the hours when you are most likely to enjoy them, such as before and after work, saving electricity and limiting unnecessary water loss due to evaporation during the peak heat of the day. And in comparison to a pond or swimming pool they require virtually no maintenance, since there are no large bodies of standing water. They provide the same visual appeal and the same soothing sounds, and attract an equal abundance of beneficial wildlife.

Bird and Butterfly Habitat

A water feature frequented by wildlife adds a dimension to a garden setting as little else can. Often overlooked is the fact that San Diego County is a major crossroads of bird and butterfly migratory flyways. With just a few of the proper plants and a good “living” water source, you can easily attract wildlife in abundance.

The National Wildlife Federation’s website reminds us to: “Bring wildlife home! Restoring habitats where commercial and residential development have degraded natural ecosystems can be your way of giving back to wildlife.”

Establishing a flourishing butterfly garden is easy once you understand the basics. Most butterfly species lay their eggs on a specific plant that their caterpillars, or “larvae,” eat. These are referred to as, “larval food plants.” The more specifically you  satisfy butterflies' particular needs in larval food plants, the greater the distance from which they will “smell” your offering, and the more excited they will be about laying their eggs on your host plants when they arrive. The males will visit, lingering about these larval food plants in the hope of finding females with whom to mate. The females will lay their many eggs and then both will remain, spending time resting and refueling, but only if you have been thoughtful enough to provide the preferred  nectaring sources for the adult butterflies--flowering plants which are quite different from the larval food plants which drew them in.

Critical to this whole process is the use of organic soils and fertilizers. There is no point attracting butterflies if their caterpillars up and die from “food” poisoning! Grangetto's carries everything you’ll need and more. Remember, a few chewed up leaves on these particular plants is a sure sign that your efforts have been a blooming success!

If you would like a quote on professionally installed water features or simply help with a question about your own butterfly garden, please feel free to call Larry anytime at 760-419-0179

Cloudless Sulfur Larva
Cloudless Sulfur larva snacking on a favorite Feathery Cassia.
The adult Cloudless Sulfur butterfly is a real sucker for Cape Plumbago.


April Tips


Spring is here!

  • Grow Your Own! Plant vegetables, flowers and bedding plants. Spruce up the garden for colorful displays and future harvests. Ames Hand Tools are on sale now! For planting in containers, hanging baskets and raises beds, consider using Sunshine Pro Premium Potting Soil.

  • Many spring and summer blooming annuals can be planted from seed or pony packs this month in pots or directly in the ground. As the weather warms switch out winter annuals for summer picks and add warm season edibles to the vegetable garden. Plant vegetables and herbs –In coastal areas, there's still time to plant some cool-season vegetables, such as lettuce, carrots and radishes. Elsewhere, it's time to plant warm-season crops like tomatoes, squash, peppers and corn. Also plant basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme.  Consider using Superthrive for healthier, fast growing plants.
Click here for more April gardening tips.
Bayer Ad


Trading avocados for wine grapes?

Avocado PhotoVineyards require much less water than groves, but are expensive to establish.

By TOM PFINGSTEN - Staff Writer | North County Times

As avocado growers struggle to keep water flowing to their groves in Fallbrook, another crop is emerging that requires far less water and may eventually spur local farmers to replace some of the town's trees with vines.

Experts in the wine-making industry said last week that wine grapes can be a lucrative crop, fetching $1,000 or more per ton once a vineyard is established.

And grapes require less than a quarter of the water needed to grow avocados, as vines lay dormant five months a year and endure drought better than avocado trees.

Read the whole article.


Growing Grapes: Establishment

Three years are normally required to establish a grape planting. Vines planted for training on a trellis are normally placed 8 feet apart. Grapes need to be trained onto a trellis in order to spread the vine and provide light to the leaves and fruit clusters. Before growth begins the second year, a support for the vines must be provided.  Care of vines the second year is similar to that of the first year. However, during the second season, a system for training the vines should be selected.

Vines are trained to a particular system by pruning and tying the canes to the support system. There are different training methods for grapes. For spur-pruned varieties, a bilateral cordon method works well. For cane-pruned varieties, a head-trained method is suitable.


Pottery Sale


Grow Your Own Vegetables: Saves Money and Tastes Better Too!

One of the easiest ways to save money in these trying economic times is by growing your own fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables. You have total control over what types of plants you wish to grow and best of all you can select many fantastic varieties that you might not normally find in your local grocery store. Best of all, your family’s health will also benefit from the nutritional value that home-grown organic produce provides, not to mention that the flavors are incomparable.

It doesn’t take as much space as many people think. A 10x10 ft. raised planter can grow quite a few vegetables or berries and if you’re space challenged, consider using containers to grow some of your favorite plants. That said, it doesn’t take that much effort to replace some older foundation shrubs and trees and turn your garden into a lush garden overflowing with fruit trees, vegetables, berries, and herbs.

With the price of fresh produce skyrocketing over the past year it only makes sense to invest in growing your own. With a little planning, you can gain significant savings not just this year but for years to come. You can purchase herbs and vegetables as inexpensive starter plants or save even more money by purchasing and planting seeds of your favorite varieties. Consider purchasing your favorite berries, grapes and fruit tree varieties during the bare root season when they are less expensive.

Your only extra costs will be some mulch to amend the soil with, as well as water and occasional fertilizer to keep your trees and plants healthy and growing their very best. If you’re not sure how much time you can devote to growing your own, start with a smaller patch and work your way up to managing more space as your comfort level and confidence rises. But be careful, it’s easy to get addicted to gardening after you taste your first delicious harvest!

We have a great selection of herb and vegetable seeds along with all the berries, grapes, and fruit trees your heart could desire. We invite you to stop by and let one of our staff of garden experts help you plan the organic garden of your dreams today!



Cilantro/Coriander: An Herb for Any Age!

Is it cilantro or is it coriander?

Well, actually it's both. Cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant, and coriander references the seeds. Also known as Chinese parsley, this herb is indeed a member of the parsley family. This gentle little herb with lacy, fern-like leaves is a social creature, requiring other plants growing around it to aid in holding it up on its spindly stems that can reach 2+ feet in height. Excellent companion plants are caraway, anise and dill.

An annual, it is best first planted in cool weather, in a moderately rich, slightly alkaline, well-drained soil; this native of Asia and the Mediterranean regions prefers full to partial sun. In ideal conditions, cilantro (leaves) will last about 8 to 10 weeks before flowering. To ensure such conditions (this herb is not a friend of weeds), mulch to keep the roots cool and weed-free.

Once the herb flowers, producing a delicate white-to-lavender display, seeds will form; harvest them immediately when the leaves and flowers turn brown, but before the seeds disperse. To do this, cut the entire plant and hang it to dry upside down in paper bags. Occasionally shake the bags to thresh the seeds, but be certain that they have fully dried; coriander seeds can be bitter if only partially dry.

Once you have harvested the dried seeds, roast them in a frying pan over low to medium heat, frequently shaking the pan. Cool, then crush with a mortar and pestle just before use; this will release the flavor--and the trademark lemon-scented odor. The wise herb gardener will retain some of the seeds prior to drying for replanting every few weeks to guarantee a continuous supply.

When picking fresh cilantro, choose the small, young leaves (which are the tastiest) and cut with the stems on. Rinse well, and place the bunch, stem ends down, in a small glass of water as if you were displaying flowers. Cover with a plastic bag, securing with a rubber band, and refrigerate. Change the water daily, and your cilantro will last much longer.

The citrusy tang of cilantro has become a popular addition to Mexican cuisine, while Chinese, Thai, and Indonesian cuisines use both cilantro and coriander. Thai curries incorporate the chopped leaves of cilantro, while Indian curry powders owe their aromatic quality to ground coriander.

Coriander has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3,000 years. The ancient Hebrews used cilantro root as the maror, or bitter herb, during the symbolic Passover Seder meal. The Roman conquests of Europe and Asia introduced the use of cilantro as an aphrodisiac in China during the Han dynasty (207 BC – 200 AD); such usage is mentioned in The Tales of the Arabian Nights. But most notably, the visions of sugar-plums which danced in children's heads on the night before Christmas, originally referred to sugar-coated coriander.

The seeds, when chewed, freshen one's breath; the essential oil is considered an aid in improving memory; and because of cilantro's powerful scent, it has a reputation for attracting beneficial insects and deterring harmful ones.

Whether you call it cilantro or coriander, the distinctive characteristics of this tiny miracle herb make it a must-have for any herb garden.

The Ease of Growing Eggplant

By Tamara Galbraith

Wondering what will grow in your veggie garden during summer's most sweltering months? Try the heat-loving beauty that is the eggplant.

Apart from the gorgeous fruit--which comes in many shapes and sizes, from the classic deep purple to pure white, to lavender-and-white marbled, and from the familiar large oblong fruits to the long slender Japanese varieties--the eggplant is in itself an attractive plant that can be grown as part of the ornamental garden. Its upright habit is fairly tidy, and the large, furry leaves provide an attractive contrast to other, more run-of-the-mill, plants in the landscape.

Unfortunately, eggplants tend to baffle a lot of gardeners. Many people don't want to grow them because they don't know what to do with the fruit, and that's a shame. When picked young, firm and still glossy, eggplants are delicious, virtually seedless and not bitter, and they make a wonderful accompaniment to many Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

Watch out for the rest of the plant, however; eggplant is a member of the toxic nightshade family, so don't eat any part but the fruit.

Most varieties should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart; compact and dwarf kinds can be a little closer together. Stake taller plants to keep the fruits off the ground. Plant in full sun--the more sun, the better. Soil should be fertile, well-drained and rich. Eggplant is somewhat drought tolerant, so don't overwater--it is susceptible to root rot. Mulching around the plant will help maintain even moisture. Water a bit more often when blooms appear. Eggplants will also do well in pots; use 3 gallon or better, with a good potting mix. Feed with a fertilizer recommended for tomatoes; like tomatoes, eggplants will put out lots of foliage and little fruit if you use a fertilizer too high in nitrogen.

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Here's One to Try With Your Home Grown Peppers

Peppers (Capiscum frutescens) are in the same group as the potato and tomato family (Solanaceae), which is also called Nightshade. The pepper is another one of our favorite vegetables native to South America. It has been a part of the human diet in the Americas for thousands of years.

A bushy annual, the plant grows from 1-4 feet tall and likes full sun but will tolerate part shade too. Regular water is necessary, along with a long, warm growing season to produce the most fruit. If your growing season is cool or short, try techniques that will increase the warmth around your plants, such as clear plastic mulch. Steve Goto of Goto Nursery (heirloom tomatoes and peppers) recommends mixing an acid plant (azalea, camellia, gardenia) planting mix with your native soil at planting time.

There are so many kinds of peppers--what is your fancy? They range from the classic bell peppers that can be green, red, yellow, orange or buff to "Hot, Hot, Hot!"

There are peppers for salads, peppers for stuffing, peppers for spices, peppers for pickling...on and on and on.

Hotness scales related to peppers reveal the amount of capsaicin, which is the source of that hotness, and truly can be scientifically measured. Bell peppers are rated at 0 SHU (SHU=measure of hotness); green chilies are 1500 SHU; jalapenos 3000-6000SHU; and habaneros 300000 SHU. How could one even chew one tidbit of something that hot! Great care must be taken when trying out a new hot chili pepper.

Here’s one to try with your home grown peppers!

The Caribbean Pepper Pot
• 2 chickens, cut up in pieces (2-1/2 pounds each)
• 1 pig's foot
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 3 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces
• 1/2 cup cassareep*
• 1 lg. onion, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 chili peppers, seeded, diced
• 1 2-inch piece stick cinnamon
• 4 whole cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Step by Step:

  • Place the chicken pieces and pig's foot in a large stew pot and pour water in to cover. Add salt. Bring to a boil and skim scum. Cover partially and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Remove as much fat as possible from surface of water. Add pork, cassareep, onion, brown sugar, chilis, cinnamon, cloves, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, for another hour. Remove the cloves and cinnamon and discard. Stir in the vinegar.

* Used primarily in West Indian cookery, cassareep is a bittersweet condiment made by cooking the juice of bitter cassava with brown sugar and spices until it reduces to a syrup. Bottled cassareep can be found in Caribbean markets.



Mr. G
'See you next month!'
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