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Quotation of the Week:
"What a pity flowers can utter no sound! - A singing rose, a whispering
violet, a murmuring honeysuckle, - oh, what a rare and exquisite miracle
would these be!."
- Henry Ward Beecher
Grangetto's Horticultural Seminar & Trade Show
Manager's Corner - April 2007
Got hard water?
Most of us in Southern California do. This can really be a problem
when you use our hard water with glyphosate herbicides (Roundup,
etc). Hard water creates a situation (which is only understood
by organic chemists) where part of the active ingredient is bound
chemically and rendered ineffective. The poorer the condition
of the water you use, the less effective the herbicide. Some people
overcome this by putting more herbicide in the spray tank which
is effective but expensive. A better solution is to add ammonium
sulphate (a fertilizer) to acidify the solution, unbinding the
glyphosate and making it more efficient. Another option is using
a pH buffering surfactant such as No
Foam B from Monterey Lawn & Garden to accomplish the
same thing. These additives are inexpensive and effective in making
your herbicide more efficient, allowing you to use less.
With the high cost of herbicides and the labor involved in spraying,
it behooves us to make our spraying efforts as effective as possible.
In addition to conditioning the water, the use of marker dyes
etc.) will let you know where you’ve been so you don’t
go over the same ground twice. Using a liquid pre-emergent herbicide
(which prevents seeds from sprouting) mixed with your glyphosate
herbicide will allow you to spray once a season rather than several
times a season as new seeds sprout. Liquid pre-emergents, such
Impede from Monterey (Surflan), need to be watered in
to activate them. This means that you need approximately half
an inch of either rain or irrigation within 3 weeks of application.
Diaprepes Root Weevil in San Diego County
The Diaprepes (die-a-prep-ees) root weevil (Diaprepes abreviatus),
also called the citrus root weevil or the West Indian sugarcane
root borer has been found in several areas of San Diego county
– La Jolla, University City, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar,
Carmel Valley, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe and Oceanside.
It's a large, colorful weevil, three-eighths to three- quarters
of an inch long, with numerous color forms ranging from gray to
orange with black stripped markings.
Originally from the Caribbean, it was accidentally introduced
into Florida in 1964 in an ornamental plant shipment from Puerto
Rico, and has since caused serious damage to citrus trees. Diaprepes
has been intercepted a number of times in California since 1974
in shipments of plants; all of these interceptions have been destroyed.
In the fall of 2005 all that changed. A Diaprepes root weevil
was found in a residential neighborhood of Newport Beach making
it the first detection and quarantine for the weevil in California.
In April 2006, the weevil was also found in the University City
of San Diego County. The California Department of Agriculture
(CDFA) initiated a survey and after confirming the weevil was
present in the environment and delimiting the size of the infestation,
our first quarantine in San Diego was declared.
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Grangetto's Fallbrook Location Grand Re-Opening
Pest of the Month - Snails & Slugs
Snails and slugs are among the most bothersome pests in many garden and
landscape situations. The brown
garden snail (Helix aspersa) is the most common snail causing
problems in California gardens; it was introduced from France during the
1850s for use as food.
Several species of slugs are frequently damaging, including the gray garden
slug (Agriolimax reticulatus), the banded slug (Limax marginatusi),
the tawny slug (Limax flavus), and the greenhouse slug (Milax
gagates). Both snails and slugs are members of the mollusk phylum
and are similar in structure and biology, except slugs lack the snail’s
external spiral shell.
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National Arbor Day
Arbor Day was the idea
of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician.
Morton thought Nebraska's landscape and economy would benefit from the
wide-scale planting of trees. He set an example himself by planting orchards,
shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm, and he urged his neighbors
to follow suit. When he became a member of Nebraska's State Board of Agriculture,
he proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting
and increasing awareness of the importance of trees.
Arbor Day was officially proclaimed by Gov. Robert W. Furnas of Nebraska on March 12, 1874, and the day was observed April 10, 1874. Nebraska's first Arbor Day was an amazing success. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance. Morton first worked to improve agriculture in Nebraska. He then did the same for the whole United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.
In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton's idea spread beyond Nebraska to other states. Today all 50 states celebrate state Arbor Days with dates that vary in keeping with the local climate — from Hawaii's first Friday in November to Alaska's third Monday in May. The National Arbor Day of the last Friday in April was chosen because many of the states celebrate theirs on that date.
Arbor Day is also now celebrated in many other countries, although they have different names and often weeks instead of days. For instance, it is called 'Greening Week' in Japan and 'The Tree-loving Week' in Korea. Planting a tree is a good idea anywhere in the world!
For the homeowner, National Arbor Day is a great day to look over the trees
on the property and plan for the future. Check your trees for damage,
disease and pests. Think about planting a new tree as a windbreak, for
shade, or just for looks. If you are a parent, National Arbor Day is a
great opportunity to share some family activity, by choosing a tree and
planting it with your child (or children). If you have no space to plant
a tree, consider a small, slow-growing tree in a pot — or give a
tree as a gift to someone who needs some trees on their property.
here to print coupon.
The Scent of Spring: Lilacs
Lilacs and spring are as synonymous as summer and watermelon. Every spring, when they start to bloom, I get instant recall of summers when I was a child. The scents of a garden can do this for us, and lilac is hard to miss.
Lilacs grow best in full sun and well-drained soil, where they take two to three years to establish themselves in a new site. Once established they can live for centuries. Soil pH (alkalinity or acidity of the soil) may affect the plant's growth. Lilacs do well in an alkaline soil with a pH of 6 to 7.
To ensure abundant flowering, cut off all spent blossoms each year and prune the flowering stem back to a set of leaves in order to prevent seeds forming, thereby directing the energy usually spent on seeds to next year's flower production. If this is not done, good flowering years may be followed by bad.
When the plant becomes leggy, renewal pruning is required. Remove about one-third of the oldest stems at ground level each year for three years. This encourages the growth of vigorous new stems from the base. By the end of the three years the plant should be fully rejuvenated with its blossoms once more at nose level.
The plants should be fertilized in early spring and again directly after
flowering with Dr.
Earth All-Purpose Fertilizer, watered in well. Note: even as tough
as lilacs are, they will still need supplemental water during periods
Lilacs can fall victim to leaf diseases in late summer and early fall. These include powdery mildew fungus (Microsphaera alni) and leafroll necrosis. Powdery mildew produces unsightly whitish patches on the leaves, but the problem tends to be more aesthetic than physiological. Leafroll necrosis seems to be caused by air pollution.
Grangetto's Store Clinics
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| There is a
tendency to regard all insect life in the garden as potentially harmful
to plants, but not all insects are bad news - some are real allies in the
fight against pests. It's important to be able to recognize who your friends
are, because most insecticides are not so discriminating, and spraying and
killing any natural predators will make the problem worse.
Although some beetles are pests, there are many useful species. These include ground beetles, which live on the soil surface, hunting out insects, slugs, and worms during the hours of darkness; rove beetles such as the scorpion-like devil's coach horse; and the familiar ladybugs.
Yes, some capsids are well-known pests but there are other species which are definitely helpful to gardeners. The best known is the predatory black-kneed capsid that helps control aphids and red spider mites on fruit trees. Similar in appearance to capsids are anthocorid bugs, another useful ally, especially on fruit.
Golden brown centipedes scurry over the soil in search of prey - insects,
their eggs and larvae, along with small slugs and worms. They are often
confused with millipedes (a pest) but millipedes are darker, have more
legs that form a thick fringe down the sides, and roll up into a ball
rather than running for cover when disturbed.
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Check Your Sprinkler System
Our lawns and gardens are put under a good deal of stress this time of year. Any weakness in water coverage, soil nutrition or weed control shows up immediately in the heat of summer.
Now is an excellent time to double-check your sprinkler system. Plugged or broken heads need to be fixed or replaced.
Brown-patterned circles in your lawn around a sprinkler head indicate it has been plugged by dirt or has become a victim of the dreaded lawn mower attack.
The irrigation system in flower beds should also be carefully checked. Many times we plant in front of a sprinkler. This isn't a problem when the plant is a 6-inch tall seedling, but can result in disaster for others in the bed as that tiny plant grows to a couple of feet in height--and blocks the water to other plants. Make the necessary adjustments--and watch your plants flourish!
Over the past twenty years, commercial growers have produced tomato varieties that valued shelf-life and unblemished prettiness over taste — and the result has been an almost tasteless tomato at your local supermarket (the baskets might taste as good). Put taste back on top with heirloom varieties — some can even flourish on your patio in a 7-gallon-sized container!
Heirlooms vary in their production time, so you can sequence your varieties over the summer. A vine-ripened tomato salad can be yours for the picking! These tomatoes may not look as pretty as the ones in the local supermarket — but the taste more than makes up for it.
Planting and growing directions:
The one disadvantage to heirloom varieties is that they tend to be less disease-resistant than the hybrids. Choose the healthiest plants you can find, buy a few extras in case, and especially keep any cigarettes far away (if you smoke yourself, don't even think about tending them with a cigarette in your mouth — that's asking for mosaic virus, even with a resistant hybrid). If you've grown a few extra, and they all stay healthy, your non-gardening neighbors will probably be happy to take some of your great-tasting tomatoes off your hands.
Once you get your plants, if they are greenhouse-grown, harden them off
for a week or so before transplanting (leave them outside for just a couple
of hours the first day, then gradually increase the length of time, watering
as needed). Before you transplant, amend your soil with a good planting
mix, such as Gardner
& Bloome Planting Mix, or use a potting soil such as
Bloome Potting Soil for tomatoes in pots. Plant them in the
evening or on a cloudy day, and they will be less likely to droop. To
make for a stronger plant, bury tomato stems up to the plant's second
true set of leaves (they'll develop roots all along the buried stem).
Stake or cage as needed (depending on the variety), water as necessary,
and fertilize with Dr.
Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer and John
& Bob’s Soil Optimizer and you'll have a tomato
crop that can't be beat!
A note to those growing tomatoes in pots on a narrow patio: you can espalier tomatoes! They won't produce as well but if it's the only way you'll have the room to grow them at all, try it — half a crop is better than being stuck with the tasteless 'tomatoes' sold in the supermarkets.
How to Make Your Easter Lilies Keep on Giving
If you are lucky enough to have a potted Easter lily, you may wish to extend your enjoyment of its lovely blooms.
As the flowers mature, remove the yellow anthers before the pollen starts to shed. This gives longer flower life and prevents the pollen from staining the white flowers. When a mature flower starts to wither after its prime, cut it off to make the plant more attractive while you still enjoy the fresher, newly-opened blooms.
The lily will thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight, but avoid glaring, direct sunlight.
Easter lilies prefer moderately moist, well-drained soil. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil surface feels dry to a light touch, but avoid over-watering. If the pot is wrapped in decorative foil, be careful not to let the plant sit in trapped, standing water. For best results, remove the plant from decorative pots or covers, take it over the sink and water thoroughly until water seeps out of the pot's drain holes to completely saturate the soil. Allow the plant to air for a few minutes and discard the excess water before replacing it in its decorative pot cover.
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By Tamara Galbraith
Is it the fiery red bloom color or the bold architectural flower shape that gave Sprekelia formosissima its common name of Aztec Lily? In truth, it's really more of a Mexican amaryllis. Whatever the case, gardeners will call it "gorgeous."
Sprekelia, sometimes also called Jacobean lily or St. James lily, is a warm season bulb that should be planted in the spring. Give it well-draining soil with several hours of morning- to early-afternoon sun, and the daffodil-like foliage will emerge quickly, followed by large scarlet blooms that rival the most impossibly perfect orchids. Like orchids, these plants do not like to be kept soggy. In fact, Sprekelia's Mexican origin ensures it to be fairly drought tolerant once established.
Generally, you will see beautiful blooms in early April through May; and after a brief break during the hottest part of the summer, Sprekelia usually returns for a second show in fall.
Sprekelia bulbs are hardy only in Zones 9-11, but can survive in Zone 8 with a covering of mulch during the winter as long as conditions remain fairly dry. Gardeners farther north should dig up the bulbs in the fall and store them in dry peat in the garage.
If you do leave Sprekelia in the ground, the plants will eventually multiply into a clump, so allow for some elbow room when setting out the bulbs. You'll definitely want this one to be seen and appreciated!
Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
What you need:
* 1 prepared chocolate pie crust (6-oz)
* 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
* 1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
* 1 egg
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
For Chocolate Topping
* 2 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
* 1/4 cup whipping cream
Step by Step:
Preheat oven to 350º.
Beat cream cheese with mixer until fluffy; gradually add condensed milk
and beat until smooth.
Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well.
Arrange raspberries on bottom of pie crust. Slowly pour cheese mixture
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with whipping cream.
Cook and stir until thickened and smooth.
Remove from heat.
Top cheesecake with chocolate topping; chill. Garnish with fresh raspberries
Yield: 8 servings
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'See you next month!'