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Edition 7.40
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October 2007

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October

Feed your lawn. Use Best Nitra King, a 21-4-4 cool season fertilizer with Iron to keep it green.

 

Best Nitra King

California Farm Bureau

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Southern California's booming nursery business brings new life to citrus acreage. Article brought to you by the California Farm Bureau Federation
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Fertilizers: Best Triple Pro 15 Nitra King 21-4-4 Fertilizer

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Soil Amendments: John and Bob's Soil OptimizerKellogg's Topper
Landscape/Garden Tools: Ames All-weather Hose Flexrake Lawn Rake - 1W Felco #2 Pruner
Mulches: Kellogg Soil Building Compost kellogg gromulch

Pest Control: Monterey Garden Insect Spray Amaze Weed KillerBayer Complete Insect KillerBayer Mite
Bayer All in One Rose and Flower Care Greenlight Spinosad

Weed and Crabgrass Control:
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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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quote of the week

Quotation of the Month:

"A flower touches everyone's heart." ~Georgia O'Keefe

Alta vista Gardens

The public is invited to tour the newest botanical garden in North County! It is in the beginning stages of development, but come and see the potential. The newest features are a 35 foot obelisk and a observation deck overlooking Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, Ca.

Eric Larson of the Agriculture Farm bureau will present a program on Oct 27th, 10:00 a.m "Gardening Through the Water Crisis." This is a hot topic with our drought continuing.

Time: October 27th from 9:00 to Noon.

Directions: http://www.altavistagardens.org/html/directions.html

Visit Alta Vista Gardens on the Web to see more about this new botanical garden!  http://www.altavistagardens.org/index.html

This Month's Specials

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All the crazy weather we have had this summer across the country serves as a great reminder to make sure to address any slope erosion problems before they arise. And fall is a great time of year to plant shrubs and ground covers that can help to prevent a hillside from slipping away.

Consider that the upcoming cool months provide a time when plant roots grow fast and the need for water is less apparent for new plantings. You and your newly planted stock now have an advantage over the hot summer sun or cold winter nights.

To see if you have a potential hillside erosion problem, be alert for these tell-tale signs:

• Bare spots anywhere on your property
• Tree roots exposed above ground
• Small stones or rocks appearing on the ground surface
• Small rills or gullies beginning to form
• Build-up of silt in certain areas
• Soil splashed on windows and outside walls
• Soil washout along driveways

Straw WAttleThere are a number of excellent plant and groundcover choices that not only thrive with the good drainage conditions of most hillsides but will also go a long way in providing protection from heavy rains. The key is to plant a mixture of plant types. You want to have layers of vegetation for rainfall to hit, so it will be diffused before it reaches the ground. Generally the larger the plant grows, the deeper its roots, so don't neglect the larger, slower-growing plants.

Click here to see our gallery of some ideas.

Sunshine Potting Soil

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The citrus leaf miner is a new insect pest that has started showing up in Southern California. The larvae are laid by tiny, minute, silvery white moths that tunnel within the leaves, leaving snaking trails of dead tissue behind. Other symptoms of infestation include curling of leaves and, in severe cases, even succulent young branches of green shoots may be attacked.

Although leaf miners don't usually demolish an entire plant, they can cause quite a bit of unsightly damage. This makes it important to start controlling this pest at the first signs of attack and following up with repeat applications to break the life cycle of this insect pest.

Citrus leaf miners tunnel between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves to lay eggs. The clear waxy trail they leave behind is unmistakable--and permanent. Once they eat a path between leaf surfaces, they drop off the leaf to pupate in the soil beneath. Then the whole process starts over again, yielding several generations of leaf miners over the course of a summer.

Controlling leaf miners is difficult, even with chemicals, because they are protected by the upper and lower leaf surfaces. We recommend treating your infected plants with an insecticide containing Spinosad, such as Green Light Spinosad or Monterey Garden Insect Spray. Another effective control is to remove (and destroy) affected leaves. You can also treat the leaf surface with a citrus oil-based pesticide, such as Green Light Neem Concentrate, which can help to prevent tunneling by future generations.

SpinosadMonterey Garden Insect SprayNeem Concentrate

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Loving Your Mum

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By Tamara Galbraith

Chrysanthemums are one of the staples of the late fall garden. Their hardiness and color range make them perfect for both the landscape and container holiday arrangements.

These tough plants will thrive in less than ideal conditions, although they prefer full to partial sun and good, well drained soil. Their shallow root system dictates that they be watered often. Apply a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis.

After plants are done blooming, pinch or shear back so the mum will eventually develop a bushier shape. Once fall arrives again, don't trim them anymore so buds can develop, and switch to a fertilizer higher in phosphorus to promote blooming.

Mums will survive winter in most zones; however, if you are in one of the extreme northerly areas, apply a thick layer of mulch over your mums to protect them or dig them up and put them in the garage for the winter.

Aphids are the main mum munchers. Other than those little beasts, mums experience little other insect damage.

Believe it or not, the one thing that can really affect the flowering of your mums is nighttime light, so do not plant them where they will be exposed to streetlights or foundation lighting. Like us humans, mums need a good night's sleep to be at their best.

Pumpkins of a Different Color

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By Tamara Galbraith

As Halloween approaches, consider decorating your porch or front sidewalk with some pumpkins of a different color.

If you want a really rare pumpkin, try hunting for a Blue Pumpkin, often referred to as an Australian Blue. These unique pumpkins are smaller and flatter than a standard jack-o'-lantern, with a beautiful bluish grey color. Two red pumpkin varieties sometimes available are "Rouge D'Etant" or "Cinderella."

To complete the red, white and blue trifecta, look for ultra-chic white pumpkins, either in regular sizes or as impish miniatures. All forms of white pumpkins are becoming more popular every year for Halloween and Thanksgiving displays. Larger varieties are named Casper, Lumina and Snowball. And the small ones are Little Boo or Baby Boo.

Striped pumpkins are gaining attention too, especially the Austrian kind known for their cherished green seed oils. And not only does it sport gorgeous green stripes, but the Cushaw pumpkin has an elogated neck like a big squash. Italian cooking cultivars, like Marina Di Chioggia with scary bumpy skin, are also being developed.

Non-orange pumpkins are all edible, of course, but the flavor isn't always that great. Don't hold that against them, though - these colors are too much fun to be ignored. After all, Halloween is the time to dress up and be different!

Pumpkin Fun

Echo Chainsaws

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When Is a Bulb Not a Bulb?

Many of the plants we call bulbs aren't bulbs at all. It's become common to lump together under this term not only true bulbs, but all plants that grow from a thickened or bulbous storage organ. (Plants like daylilies, clivia, and iris are in a shady area between bulbs and perennials, so you find them discussed in books on bulbs and also in books on perennials.) Here's how bulbs differ so you can tell them apart.

True Bulb

A modified subterranean leaf bud, the true bulb has a basal plate, above which are food-storing scales (rudimentary leaves) surrounding a bud that contains the magic makings of a plant. Some bulbs, like onions, tulips, and daffodils, are tunicate — they're covered with a papery skin. Others, like lilies, are imbricate — they have overlapping scales.

Corm

A thickened subterranean stem that produces a plant. The inside is just a solid piece of tissue. The buds are on top. After bloom the old corm is used up, but new ones have grown on top or at the sides to take its place. Gladioli, sparaxis, and freesia grow from corms.

Rhizome

A thickened stem or branch that grows on the surface of the ground or horizontally underground, such as bearded irises and calla lilies.

Tuber

A thickened stem that serves as a storage chamber but is usually shorter, thicker, and rounder than a rhizome. It grows totally or partially underground. Tuberous begonias, cyclamen, and potatoes grow from tubers.

Tuberous Root

Growing underground, this differs from a tuber in that it's a swollen root rather than a thickened stem. Tuberous roots have growth buds on top in the old stem portion, from which spring the plants. Dahlias and sweet potatoes grow from tuberous roots.

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A garden can have many uses besides just providing beauty to a home. It can also provide a safe haven for birds to eat and have shelter, and provide one with hours of bird-watching entertainment.

Birds are naturally drawn to trees and shrubs because these plants provide a place to hide from their enemies, a place to nest and roost, a place to get a meal, and a place to rest. The key is having a mix of trees and shrubs that are either evergreen or bear fruit, nuts, berries or cones.

By providing a variety of different trees and shrubs, you will attract a greater variety of birds to your yard. Some can provide food; others will provide shelter. Birds have various individual tastes, so if you provide a variety of food sources, a greater number will decide your garden would be a nice place to visit or even live.

It helps to have a diverse variety of heights, foliage types and densities. Consider planting bushes in groups, making a special effort to be strategic in locations that will receive less human traffic. Birds need cover to hide from their enemies and to stay safe during cold or stormy weather. Dense evergreens can actually shelter birds and insulate them from winds. In summer these same trees and plants will provide protection from the sun and heat, as well as a place to nest.


Wildflowers!

Now is the time to prepare your soil to plant wildflowers. You may plant successfully from now through early November, before the fall rains start. Plant at this time and you will have larger plants with many more flowers that if you planted this next spring.

wild flowersTo have a bountiful display of spring flowers, just sprinkle out the flower seed and rake it into the top 1/4” to ½” of the soil and let mother nature do the rest (most of the time). But if you want to ensure a great color display next spring, it is best to prepare your ground as you would any other seed bed. Start by removing any large weeds. A single application of Roundup will reduce the weed population and not leave harmful residues in the soil. Next add a good compost on top of the ground. A 2 cu. ft bag will cover approximately 100 sq ft. Then turn over the ground with a shovel or rototiller. You may skip this step if the area is exceptionally large. Now rake out the area removing any weeds or dirt clods. Sprinkle the seed evenly and rake lightly so that the seed is about ¼ to ½ inch deep. Water well so the ground is moist but not soggy wet.

Most of the seeds will sprout in 3 to 8 weeks. Help Mother Nature a little by watering during dry spells and feeding with a balance commercial fertilizer. Then stand back and watch that old neglected area turn into a riotous array of color next spring.

Click here for how to plant a wildflower garden.

October Is the Time To:

1. Plant all types of permanent landscape plants other than bare-root and tropicals.
2. Plant trees, shrubs and vines.
3. Choose and plant for permanent fall and winter color.
4. Continue to shop for spring-blooming bulbs.
5. Plant lilies as soon as you get them home.
6. Buy daffodils, grape hyacinths, ranunculus, anemones and Dutch irises; keep them in a cool, dry place until planting time.
7. Purchase hyacinth, tulip, and crocus bulbs and prechill them in the refrigerator.
8. Plant cool-season flowers for winter and spring bloom.
9. Plant cineraria for late winter and early spring bloom.
10. Plant wildflowers.
11. Plant cool-season lawns; this is the best time of year for this job.
12. Overseed Bermuda grass with annual winter ryegrass if desired.
13. Plant cool-season vegetables, year-round vegetables, including carrots and some perennial vegetables.
14. Thin out sweet peas and pinch them back to force branching.
15. Divide, trim, and mulch plants that tend to grow in a clump and that need to be divided, including Kahili ginger, clivia, iris, daylily, moraea, bird of paradise, gazanias, and perennials like Shasta daisies.
16. Cut back zonal and ivy geraniums; finish pruning Martha Washingtons.
17. Divide hardy water lilies.
18. Divide belladonna lilies.
19. Dig up, divide and replant perennials, or mulch them.
20. Cut off runners from strawberries, gather them in bunches, and prechill them for November planting.
21. Feed fuchsias.
22. Continue to treat blue hydrangeas with aluminum sulfate.
23. Stop fertilizing chrysanthemums and enjoy the blooms.
24. Fertilize poinsettias with a complete fertilizer high in bloom ingredients.
25. Feed roses early in October; don't fertilize in November.
26. Water deciduous fruit trees more sparingly in fall.
27. Water roses with up to 1 1/2 inches of water twice a week, unless it rains.
28. Finish pulling out faded annual flowers and cleaning pots and beds for fall.
29. Make a ball-shaped basket of malacoides primroses.
30. Thoroughly clean up the vegetable garden; pull up the last of the summer crops and compost the remains (if you have had fungus or disease problems, skip the composting and get rid of them instead).

Witch Hazel

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By Tamara Galbraith

Despite its somewhat scary name, Witch hazel (Hamamelis) is a lovely, diminutive, cool season blooming tree native to damp woodlands in eastern North America.

There are actually four species, two in North America (H. virginiana and H. vernalis), and one each in Japan (H. japonica) and China (H. mollis). When everything else in the garden is colorless, witch hazel takes the spotlight with her clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers that continue throughout the winter. The fragrant, inch-wide yellow or mahogany colored flowers appear in February after the coldest days of winter are past. The petals are strap shaped and open on warm days, closing at night and on cold days.

So why the spooky common name?

Well, the word "witch," has its origins in the Middle English term "wiche," from the Old English "wicce", meaning "bendable." Supposedly, though, the plant really got its name from the use of the twigs as divining rods. Just as hazel twigs were used in England for dowsing or "water-witching," early Americans used witch hazel twigs in the unscientific practice of locating such things as underground water, hidden metal, etc.

A green forked branch in the shape of a "Y" was removed from the tree and stripped of leaves and sometimes the bark. The arms of the Y were held with the palms upward and the base of the Y straight up. As the dowser crisscrossed the fields, the branch was supposed to twist until it pointed to wherever water, ores, or valuable treasures were hidden under the soil.

Give it a try the next time you lose your trowel in the front yard or launch a golf ball into the woods. Or, maybe not. But do put a witch hazel tree in your landscape if you're looking for a small carefree tree that provides gorgeous winter color!

The Colorful World of Crotons

The popularity of crotons in both indoor and outdoor plantings is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Native to tropical areas of Malaysia and southern Asia, these easy- growing plants have bright-colored foliage, often with many colors in one leaf. The uniqueness of these plants is their colorful glossy foliage in varying shapes and sizes.

Crotons are a small shrub which can reach a height of 2-6 feet. Some crotons can even be used as hedges or specimen plants. They also grow well in containers. The 6"-12" leaves are leathery and start out green, gradually changing color as the plant matures. They come in many shapes and a rainbow of colors including reds, pinks, yellows, rust, orange and even some purples, to name just a few.

Crotons are grown primarily for their brightly colored foliage. For this reason they need a fairly high amount of light to maintain their vibrant colors. Crotons prefer high humidity, full sun and moist, humus-rich but well-drained soil with a generous supply of organic material.

Miracle-Gro Plant FoodCrotons only require a moderate amount of watering on a regular basis. Keep them moist but not excessively wet. To maintain good growth, feed crotons regularly throughout the year with a water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Azalea Camellia Rhododendron Plant Food.

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Autumn is a good time to prepare your lawn for the year ahead, and the best time to tackle any long-term improvements. Tasks such as raking out lawn debris, eradicating moss, feeding, and aerating will improve the quality of your lawn greatly if carried out on a yearly basis.

Pennington Grass SeedOver the years, grass clippings and debris form a "thatch" on the surface of your lawn. This affects growth of the grass and should be removed with a lawn rake. Raking also removes moss.

If grass growth is poor, aerate the lawn. You can do this by pushing the prongs of a fork about 15 cm (6 in) into the ground. Brush a soil improver into the holes made by the fork. Use sand or a mixture of fine soil and sand if the ground is poorly drained. Alternatively, use peat, a peat-substitute or very fine, well-rotted compost if the ground is sandy. Reseed as necessary with Grangetto's Tall or Dwarf Fescue or overseed with Bermuda grass with Pennington Annual Rye Grass Seed; fall is an excellent time for reseeding.

Nitra KingIf your lawn is in poor condition and needs reviving, apply an autumn lawn feed, such as Nitra King 21-4-4. It is essential that you use one formulated for autumn use, as spring and summer feeds will contain too much nitrogen. If the grass contains a lot of moss, apply a moss killer. Use one recommended for autumn use--the mixture known as lawn sand, sometimes used to kill moss, contains too much nitrogen.

You can (and should) tidy an uneven edge whenever it's necessary, but doing a full job of it in autumn will relieve the pressure at busier times of the year. Hold a half-moon edger against a board held in position with your feet.

Recipe of the Month: Spider Eggs

Chef Mr. Grecipe image

What You'll Need:

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons brown or yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pickles
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • Garnish:  paprika (optional)

Preparation:

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 4- to 5-quart pot and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered with lid. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove pot from heat and let eggs stand in hot water, covered with lid, 15 minutes. Rinse eggs under cold water 5 minutes to stop cooking.
Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, celery, and salt and pepper to taste to yolks and stir with fork until combined well, then spoon into egg whites.

Spider the eggs: (Sunset Magazine)
Cut pitted black olives in half lengthwise and nestle one half on top of an egg for the body, and then cut the other half crosswise into thin slices to form the creepy legs.

Note:
Deviled eggs can be assembled (but not garnished) 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Add “Spider Garnish” (black olives) before serving.

Yield: 24 spiders

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Mr. G

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