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Edition 6.40
October 2, 2006

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Thanks for taking the time to read the Grangetto's Garden Gazette. 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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See our new sections:
"Garden Clubs" and "Fun & Facts!"
They're in the left column
toward the bottom of the newsletter.

quote of the week

Quotation of the Week:

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announcing New Store Hours

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MON - FRI 6:30 AM-5:00 PM
SATURDAY 7:00 AM-4:00 PM

Manager's Corner

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Kyle Hawkins, Manager of Grangetto's in Encinitas

With winter coming up, October is a great time to put down pre-emergent herbicides to control annual grasses and weeds (i.e.; poa annua). Some great products are Greenlight Crabgrass Preventer or for larger areas Best Dimension 270G. October is also a great month to overseed Bermuda lawns with annual rye grass; start now to have a lush lawn for the holiday season. Don't forget to adjust your irrigation system for the cooler season; overwatering in the cool season can rot the root system of many plants.

Pest of the Month


Ants !!!!!!!!!! (and all the rest of the family). I hope that not too many of you have had many ant problems. However, if you have, we here at Grangetto's will be able to help you with this pest problem.

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We have a large variety of baits from granular to liquids, gels and sprays, to help combat these pesky little critters.

There are granular baits that the ants will carry back to the nest and feed the Queen, which will wipe out the colony from inside the nest.

There are contact sprays which kill on contact and will give you some residual effect for a short period of time.

There are also some liquid and gel baits which the ants will carry back to the nest. Try our newest product: AntPro Bait Station and Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait.


Other nuisance pests that may be invading your household are spiders. Keep the perimeter of your house clear of leaves, yard cuttings and litter. Here at Grangetto’s, we stock Bayer Power Force, Ortho Bug-B-Gon and Sevin Insect Killer Granules. Apply manufacturer’s recommended banding around perimeter of house or buildings for best results.

If you are having any kind of ant, spider, or other nuisance pest problems please come by any one of our four locations and our sales staff will be glad to assist you.


Our October Specials

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Fall on the Wild Side

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By Tamara Galbraith

Fall is prime time for planting wildflower seeds in the garden. The mild temperatures of fall allow the seeds to germinate, develop a good root system, then go dormant until spring.

Here are a few basic pointers for preparing a wildflower bed in any part of the country:

1. Select an area that drains well, but doesn't have overly rich soil.
2. Remove any existing vegetation.
3. Rake the soil only to a depth of about an inch.
4. Mix one part wildflower seeds with four parts sand. Broadcast the seeds over the new bed, first one way, then the other (i.e.,  north-south, then east-west).
5. Walk over the bed to press the seed into the soil, but do not cover the seeds more than 1/16".
6. Water lightly and frequently if you don't get adequate rain through the autumn.

In most cases, the less fuss you make over wildflowers, the better they'll grow. Think about where you usually see them in springtime: highway medians, cracks in the sidewalk, etc.

In fact, the worst thing you can do to your wildflowers is overwater and/or fertilize. While a sprinkling of compost is certainly welcome to any plant, wildflowers are tough and they like to prove it...and come springtime, with a little preparation, they'll do just that.

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Looking for fall color in California?

autumn leaves

Many Eastern transplants get nostalgic for the color of autumn leaves when the crisp fall air nips the nose. But just because we live in California doesn't mean we can't enjoy displays of seasonal tree colors.

Liquidambars come in special clones known as 'Festival,' 'Palo Alto' and 'Burgundy.' Seedlings can be any color, but this is the best time to pick one out, since it will repeat the same color every fall.

Other trees for color displays are ginkgoes, with brilliant gold leaves, and Chinese pistache, with vibrant orange to red hues. With the right choice of shade tree, you can light up the fall in your garden.

Why Leaves Change Color


Fall Vegetable Planting

It's time to put in the winter vegetable garden or, if you already have begun, to continue the job.

First, pull up and throw out or compost the remains of your summer garden. A thorough cleaning now really pays off in fewer bugs and diseases later.

Dig up the soil deeply with a spade, turning it over, aerating it, and breaking up the clods as you go.

Then use a garden fork to mix in organic amendments.

Add a good vegetable fertilizer according to package directions; work this into the top 6 inches of soil. If you're an organic gardener, use instead blood meal, cottonseed meal, bone meal or bagged organic vegetable food.

Then use a garden rake to level the ground. Use a hoe to make furrows between rows in heavy soils.

Plant tall crops to the north, and short crops to the south. Full sun is best for all winter vegetables.

Clean Clip Tips

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By Tamara Galbraith

As your fall garden clean-up gets underway, don't sabotage your efforts by using dirty tools.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of fungus and other plant diseases is to prune out infected parts. However, seemingly healthy wood can also be infected, so disinfecting your pruning tools between cuts becomes very important as you trim.

In 1992, scientists at Kearney Agricultural Center in California's Central Valley tested various readily available and commonly recommended disinfectants. The disinfectants tested were chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, Listerine, Lysol concentrated disinfectant, Pine-Sol, and rubbing alcohol.

The scientists found that soaking or spraying pruning blades for a minute or longer in either full-strength or 1-to-5 solution of chlorine bleach, Lysol, or Pine-Sol brought the most consistent protection. Interestingly, just dipping the blade quickly often did not disinfect properly. Chlorine bleach generally did a better job for quick dips, although none of the disinfectants proved completely effective.

Although chlorine bleach is the least expensive and generally most effective disinfectant, bleach corrodes tools quickly and, as many of us know from clumsy experience, can splash up and ruin clothes. Lysol caused the least damage to clothes and tools; keeping a small can of Lysol and an old rag in your gardening bucket is a good idea as you work your way through fall pruning.


Keep camellias well watered this month. Letting them go dry now will make the buds go brown and drop off later, so you won't have any bloom this winter or next spring. Don't confuse this with natural bud drop. Some varieties form a great many more buds than they can open, so they always drop a lot of them of their own accord. These naturally dropped buds will be green, not brown. (Bud drop can also be caused by growing a variety that needs winter chill in a mild coastal zone where the buds can't open.)

Disbud Camellias

For the largest blooms start disbudding camellias now, by removing all but one flower bud from each tip or joint. Twist off all but one flower bud from each cluster, being careful not to remove the growth bud. (The flower buds are round and fat. The growth bud is thin and pointed.) Drop the buds in a plastic bag and dispose of them in the trash. Some gardeners don't disbud camellias because they have too many of them or simply can't be bothered. When plants are as tall as trees it's almost impossible to disbud them. But all plants look better when they've been disbudded; the flowers become not only larger but better shaped and less prone to blossom blight.

It's a good idea to retain some forward-facing but mainly downward-facing buds, especially when plants are tall or light colored. On tall plants downward-facing flowers will be seen better. On light-colored plants they'll be less prone to sun damage. In all cases they'll last longer; when it rains, water will pour off their backs instead of soaking into the center and causing rot.

How To Plant Ranunculus

  • Ranunculus provide longer lasting color than any other spring flowering bulb. Each large-sized tuberous root will give as many as fifty to seventy-five blooms.
  • Plant starting around mid-November.
  • Choose a spot in full sun where ranunculus haven't grown for three or four years. (If sprinklers keep the bed soggy, pre-sprout the tubers in flats of damp sand; as soon as they've grown some roots plant them in the bed.)
  • Cultivate the soil deeply, adding organic soil amendment, bone meal, and flower fertilizer according to package directions. Water the bed and let it settle overnight.
  • Toss the tubers in drifts onto the bed. Rearrange them slightly so they're approximately 6 inches apart.
  • Plant each tuber where it fell, making sure the points face down. Cover them with 1 1/2 inches of soil in heavy ground or 2 inches in light, sandy soil.
  • Soak the bed deeply. Except in dry, sandy soil or very dry weather, don't water again until green growth shows. Then, if rains are mere sprinkles, water often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. The tubers can rot if they're soaked prior to planting or if they're planted in soil that stays soggy wet.
  • Protect the sprouts from birds with wire or plastic garden netting until they're up about 4 inches.

So What IS Well-Draining Soil, Anyway?

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By Tamara Galbraith

We see the term in plant care descriptions all the time: "Must have well-draining soil."

So, just what does "well-draining" mean, and how do we know if we have it?

In a nutshell, well-drained soil can be said to exist where water is removed from the soil readily (but not rapidly) and soils are not wet for significant periods of time. The best well-draining garden soil will consist of a nice balance of sand, clay, silt and organic matter.

But how do you tell if your soil is in need of improvement? Try this test in various locations in your garden when conditions are dry: dig holes one foot deep by two feet wide. Fill the hole to the top with water, then time how long it takes for the water to completely drain. The ideal time should be between 10 and 30 minutes.

If the water drains in less than 10 minutes, it's likely that your soil has a lot of sand in it. Adding organic matter will help immensely. Either till it into the soil or just add it on top in the fall or spring and allow nature to take its course.

On the flip side, if the water takes 30 minutes or more to drain from the holes you dug, you probably have soil that is heavy on the clay side. As with a sandy situation, organic matter will do wonders for your soil. So will raised beds comprised of a balanced garden soil.

Two things to stay away from in amending clay soil, however: rototillers and sand. A tiller will be a total waste of time in a bed heavy with clay. As a resident of an area with heavy clay soil (and former tiller owner), take my word for it.

Secondly, although many people think the well-draining qualities of sand will balance out the heavy water retention of clay, the opposite is true. What you create when you add sand to clay soils is basically...cement. Don't do it. Again, dig in a good organic amendment or add it on top of your clay-ish beds each fall or spring and have some patience. The earthworms and Mother Nature will do their stuff in time.

Double Digging
Raised Garden

Introducing Gardens To Gro!™

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Just imagine an impressive garden filled with the freshest and tastiest vegetables ready for you to pick and prepare for your family meals. In an ideal world we would all have the time to design and build such a garden, but reality has proven to be quite different. Ready-made gardens are the perfect solution!

To learn more about ready-made gardens from Gardens to Gro, stop by one of our 4 convenient locations. - To see a live display visit our Encinitas Store.

Community Spotlight

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The History of Valley Center
by Petei McHenry, author of
The History of Valley Center, California: The Homestead Years, 1860-1900

Valley Center, a small rural community originally known as Bear Valley, is located inland in northern San Diego county 45 miles northeast of San Diego. It is unincorporated and has no formal town council. Never planned, it developed as large tracts of land that were single-family farms or ranches. The roads were not planned either, but developed as a means of travel between farms or ranches, and usually named after the families or the destination.

It consisted of small communities such as Lilac, Vineyard, Sylvano, Moosa, Bear Valley, Palomar Mountain, Warner’s Ranch, and Centre Valley. It is surrounded by five Indian Reservations and is fringed by the largest intact Spanish rancho in the United States.

Read more about Valley Center history by clicking here.

The Official Valley Center History Musuem web site is located at:


Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Chef Mr. GRecipe Image

What You'll Need:


  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  • 3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (15-ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 can (5-ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups (16-ounces) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional ground cinnamon

Step by Step:

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter.
Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 350ºF for 5-7 minutes or until set.
Cool for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.
Add the pumpkin, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well.
Gradually beat in milk and eggs just until blended. Pour into crust.
Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set.

Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over filling.
Bake for 5 minutes longer.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer.
Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing.
Sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 12-14 servings


October Reminder

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Reminder! Reduce Watering.
Adjust your Irrigation Timers!

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'See you next month!'
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