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Edition 8.01
January 2008
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Protect your plants from frost. Use Dewitt-N-Sulate Blankets, Anti Stress 2000 or Cloud Cover Spray to reduce stress.

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Mr. G's Irrigation
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Fertilizers:Turf Royal 21-7-14

Grangettos Grass Seed

Soil Amendments / Mulches: John and Bob's Soil OptimizerKellogg's Topper Soil Building Compost Sunshine Pro Premium Potting Soil Kellogg Gromulch
Landscape/Garden Tools: Felco #2 Pruner

Pest Control: Amaze Weed Killer
Bayer All in One Rose and Flower Care Greenlight Spinosad Roundup Pro Roundup Quick Pro

Drainage Supplies: NDS valve box
Drain Grate
Erosion Control and Rain Gear: Straw Wattle
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Plant Protection: Dwintt N-SulateCloud Cover Anti-Stress 2000



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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Manager's Corner - January 2008

With the cold temperatures of winter comes the possibility of frost, which can damage the plants in your landscape. While most plants usually leaf out again when the weather warms, some plants don't fare as well.

Frost damages plants when the foliage loses moisture faster than the plants can replace it. This can happen because the soil is dry or because the water or moisture in the ground normally available to the plant is frozen. But most frost damage can be prevented by understanding and following a few basic principles.

Cloud CoverThere are definite warning signs that can help determine the possibility of a hard frost. If you notice low temperatures (45° or lower at 10 p.m.), a clear sky, little to no breeze, and dry air at bedtime, bring any potted plants that might be at risk into the garage or at least under a porch roof or eaves.

For plants in the ground (and outside potted plants), make sure the soil is moist when frost is expected. Moist soil holds and releases more heat than dry soil, which will help create a more humid environment around the plant when the frost pulls moisture from the foliage of the plant. Never hose down a plant in the morning after a frost. Allow the plants to thaw naturally and gradually, or you may rupture the plant cells in the leaf tissue.

There are products that can help prevent frost damage. Spraying frost-tender plants with an anti-transpirant such as Anti Stress 2000 will help provide 2-6 degrees of extra insulation from the cold by reducing the amount of moisture a plant gives off. Anti-transpirants are non-toxic and dry clear.

If you don't already have mulch around your plants, add a 2-3" layer of mulch or top dressing like Sierra Bark. This helps the soil retain moisture and stay warmer, as well as giving the roots some insulation from the cold.

MulchAnother protective measure is to cover tender plants with burlap or plastic. This can help prevent frost damage by providing an extra 2-6 degrees of protection. Make sure to fasten the material you use securely over frames or stakes so that it does not touch the plant; otherwise it will transfer the cold directly to the plant. Remove any covering during the daytime to allow the plants to absorb sunlight.

Wait to prune frost-sensitive plants until after the danger of frost has passed and new growth has started. If your plant is injured, leave the damaged foliage on the plant so it will act as a protective layer to the foliage beneath. Trimming the plant too early may stimulate new growth that can be damaged by further frosts. You may also end up pruning out more foliage than is necessary; some of that dead-looking foliage may still be alive. When you do prune, the idea is to let the frost damage guide the pruning. Prune only the areas that are not showing new growth.

If you have any questions about which plants to protect, just ask one of our garden experts. We'll be happy to help you make sure you're equipped properly to fend off the damaging effects of frost.

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Get Ready for Spring

Get Ready for Spring Ad

Echo Chainsaws

Echo Chainsaw Ad

January Is The Time To...

1. Purchase and plant bare-root roses, trees, vines, berries and vegetables
2. Choose and plant camellias and azaleas
3. Purchase cymbidiums
4. Purchase and plant cool-season flowers to fill in bare spots
5. Plant seeds of warm-season flowers for transplants to put out in spring
6. Continue to plant winter vegetables from transplants and seeds
7. Many succulents, including cacti, bloom in winter and spring; purchase new types now
8. Prune deciduous fruit trees
9. Prune roses
10. Deadhead azaleas
11. Mow cool-season lawns. Most warm-season lawns are dormant now and don't need mowing
12. Begin to feed citrus trees in coastal zones
13. Treat citrus trees for chlorosis
14. Start feeding epiphyllums for bloom with 0-10-10 or 2-10-10
15. Continue to fertilize cymbidiums that have not yet bloomed with a high-bloom formula
16. Feed cool-season flowers
17. Feed cineraria
18. Fertilize cool-season lawns
19. Water plants according to need (when the rains are not adequate)
20. Irrigate citrus trees
21. Remember to water plants under eaves where the rains cannot reach
22. Dormant spray roses and deciduous fruit trees
23. Dormant spray sycamore trees
24. Check citrus trees for pests
25. Pick up dead camellia blossoms to prevent petal blight
26. Protect cymbidiums from slugs and snails
27. Control rust on cool-season lawns
28. Check trees, shrubs, and ice plant in coastal zones for overwintering whiteflies. Control by spraying
29. Pull weeds
30. Spray peach and apricot for peach leaf curl
31. Protect tender plants from frost
32. Stake cymbidium bloom spikes
33. Near the end of the month check bamboo in coastal zones to see if it is time to propagate


Winter Tool Care

During the winter, we don't get to spend as much time in the garden. So why not spend some quality time with the garden tools instead?

First, see if you have any tools that really should be replaced--and replace them.

Thoroughly clean your tools and store those you won't be using again until next year.

Remove any rust on metal portions with a wire brush and wipe with a oily rag (a general-purpose oil will do). For wood handles, use boiled linseed oil.

Winter is a great time to get all those dull blades resharpened, too--don't forget the lawn mower!

Store the tools you won't be using till spring in a protected area, and your winter tool care will keep them as good as new for next spring and summer.

Principles of Pruning

Principles of Pruning
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Corona Coupon
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What's the best time to spray my peach and nectarine trees to prevent peach-leaf curl?


Peaches and nectarines should actually be sprayed 3 times each winter to prevent peach-leaf curl. The first (and most important) time to spray is the First of January. The second time to spray is the 15th of January and the third time to spray is the First of February. We recommend Lilly Polysul Dormant Spray or Monterey Liqui-Cop.

The first spray should also include dormant spray oil such as Ortho Volck Oil Spray to kill any insects hoping to over-winter. The key is to make this first application before heavy winter storms and while there is still some foliage to absorb the spray.

The second application should be made in January, at full dormancy. The third and final application should be made during pink bud swell, but prior to the blooms opening.

We recommend staying upwind from the spray unless you are planning to audition for the Blue Man Group.

Lilly DormantLiqui-CopOrtho
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The world's desire for safer foods and a better environment continues to build, and in turn has created a growing interest in organic gardening. Quite simply, organic gardening involves a natural approach to soil preparation, fertilizing, pest and disease management, and weed control. In the process your plants will become healthier, your garden will attract more beneficial insects and the food you grow will taste better and be safer to eat.

Soil Preparation
Organic gardening starts with amending your soil; the healthier your soil is, the happier your plants will be. Organic gardening has come a long way from the days of simply applying steer or chicken manure to one's garden and waiting weeks for the smell (and the salts) to dissipate. Rich organic soil amendments and balanced organic plant foods have all but eliminated the need for their use.

Start by adding an all-organic soil amendment, such as Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost. This could be as simple as mixing a 50/50 blend of amendment and native soil for each individual planting hole or rototilling the same blend into a large patch for a flower or vegetable garden. Many organic gardeners like to maintain a compost pile. Composting, done properly, can be an excellent way to enhance the soil and thereby improve plant health.

Organic gardening involves using organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers. The reason is simple. Organic fertilizers are more stable in the soil and become available to the plant more gradually. While they are feeding the plants, they are also improving the overall soil health. In turn, the more gradual growth  produces stronger plant cells, which helps the plants have a greater resistance to disease and be less tasty to garden insects.

Dr. EarthWe recommend using Organic Dr. Earth Products. It releases nutrients faster than most other organic plant foods because it contains beneficial soil microbes which digest the plant food and make the nutrients available sooner to the plants. It also contains beneficial soil that feed on bad bacteria in the soil, making it a healthier place for your plants to grow.

Gardening organically can be a truly rewarding experience. Not only will your plants be healthier, but any food you grow organically will be extra-delicious--and worry-free!

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Many people have become interested in organic gardening, both from a desire for safer foods and an interest in the environment. But many people also have the feeling that organic gardening makes it much more difficult to deal with pests, disease and weeds. However, the use of organics to feed the soil does produce stronger plants that, from the start, are more able to resist pests and disease. And there are plenty of organic alternatives to using harmful poisons in your garden, even if you do have pest or disease problems. Weed control is also easier than you might think!

Pest and Disease Control
While some insects can simply be washed off or picked by hand, many require some kind of insect spray to control them. Slugs, snails and crawling insects can be controlled with Sluggo Plus. Aphids, mites, whiteflies and other insects can be controlled with an insecticidal soap like Safer Insect Killing Soap, or a spray oil, such as Lilly Miller Vegol Year-Round Pesticidal Oil. Caterpillars and tomato hornworms can be controlled with an insect spray containing Bt, like Safer Caterpillar Killer or Green Light Spinosad.

Some plant diseases can be eliminated simply by hand-picking the infected leaves and depositing them in the garbage. For more difficult cases of powdery mildew, rust, blackspot and other diseases we recommend using a sulfur spray like Safer Garden Fungicide.

Weed Control
If you are using an organic approach to gardening, then it goes without saying that you want to resist spraying herbicides to control weeds. The key to weed control in an organic garden is early hoeing with a Hula Ho. Then cover your open spaces with a 2-3" layer of mulch. The mulch not only helps control weeds but also helps the soil retain moisture, providing a great environment for the beneficial microbes in your soil and for your organic plant food to multiply.

Gardening organically can be a truly rewarding experience. Not only will your garden be healthier, but the food you grow will be delicious too. And most important of all, you will be actively making a positive contribution to the environment.

Sluggo Plus
Safer Soap
Lilly Vegol
Safer BT
SAfer Garden Fungicide
Hula Ho
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One of the most overlooked areas of gardening is fertilizing. That's because it can sometimes seem more complicated than it actually is. We'll attempt to first explain and then to simplify things for you. Here's what you need to know. There are sixteen elements known to be important to a plant's growth and survival. These are divided into mineral and non-mineral.

The non-mineral nutrients--hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and carbon (C)--are found in the air and water. Through a process called photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to change these nutrients into starches and sugars which become the plant's food. Since plants get these nutrients from the air and water, there is little gardeners can do to control how much of these nutrients a plant can use.

The 13 mineral nutrients, which come from the soil, are dissolved in water or digested by soil microbes and made available to be absorbed through a plant's roots. Most of the mineral nutrients contained in plant foods exist in your soil in some amount naturally. The problem is that most soils don't contain enough or have become out of balance. The only way that these nutrients in soil can be replenished is from decomposing plant or leaf matter (natural or from composting) or from fertilizers. Most soil types are lacking in a number of areas. The three most important (primary) nutrients for healthy plants are N-P-K or nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is necessary for healthy, green plant foliage and growth. Phosphorus is needed for a plant's roots, flowers and eventual fruit production and flavor. Potassium is necessary for a plant's overall health because it stimulates good root growth and cell structure in the leaf tissue. These major nutrients usually are lacking in the soil first because plants use large amounts for their growth and survival.

The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Calcium and magnesium are usually needed if your soil is too acidic (low pH); sulfur is needed when soil is too alkaline (high pH). Finally you have the minor nutrients of boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum and zinc, which all contribute to the overall health of your plants.

The best way to provide your plants with the mineral nutrients is with fertilizer. Here you have a couple of choices: chemical or organic, dry or water soluble. Chemical and water soluble fertilizers are designed to make these nutrients available to the plant quickly. They can give plants a quick boost to stimulate new growth or to green up fast.

Alternatively, organic products are designed to slowly decompose to enhance the soil and be consumed by soil microbes, then taken up by the plant root system. Organic fertilizers are more stable in the soil and become available to the plant more gradually. While they are feeding the plants, they are also improving the soil health. The plants grow a bit more slowly, but that gives them more strength and resistance to disease and pests.

Turf RoyalMake sure to apply the fertilizer to the soil at the drip line of the plant, because that's where the feeding roots are. The drip line is where, if you draw an imaginary line from the outermost branches to the ground, rain would fall. Always water in well and never feed a dry plant. It is especially important to feed plants in containers regularly or they won't have anything to eat! The label directions will guide you for how much to apply and how often.

Here at Grangetto's we stock a great selection of balanced fertilizers, including Turf Royal 21-7-14 for all your garden needs. Just let our staff of nursery experts know what type of plants you are feeding and they will be happy to make a recommendation for you.

Irrigation Special

Irrigation Special

The Solana Center for Environmental Innovation (SCEI)


Read about Shelley C. Grossmanís interview with Joni Gabriel and Elaine Carreno On June 8, 2007 and background information with Joni and Elaine and the Solana Center by clicking here.
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There are many ways to add life to a dull garden. One is to add plants with different foliage textures; another is to add plants with unique colors or bold-shaped foliage. Sometimes all it takes is a few well-placed plants that have completely different foliage from the rest of your garden to make a dramatic impact on the look of your garden.

If your have a morning/sun, afternoon/shade or full shade location, consider plants such as acanthus with its large oak-shaped leaves and spikes of lilac flowers or alchemilla (lady's mantle) with its wavy foliage and yellow flowers. You might try the glossy-leafed bergenia with pink-red flowers or caladium, which comes in a multitude of different foliage patterns, or ligularia with its large-toothed foliage and spikes of lemony yellow flowers. If you are looking for something really different, consider the eye-catching marbled foliage of brunnera and hosta or the unique shiny fan-shaped leaves of fatsia (Japanese aralia).

For sunny locations consider plants like the smoke bush (cotinus) with its burgundy purple foliage and wispy white blooms, the burgundy foliage of physocarpus (ninebark) or the unusual black foliage of 'Black Lace' elderberry. For something even more dramatic try a few burgundy or variegated foliage canna lilies, New Zealand flax or variegated weigela. For more height you can always plant a Southern magnolia (soulangeana).

Click to print this article.

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Perhaps the most overlooked area in landscaping is the street berm, the area between the sidewalk and the curb. It is the first thing visitors (or potential buyers) see, yet often it receives the least thought and attention in the garden. Landscaping this area can also be more challenging because of heavy foot traffic, reflective heat from both the street and the sidewalk, unique water needs and city codes.

Many times homeowners opt to just fill these areas in with lawn, but turf in a curb area does little to add any visual appeal, requires weekly maintenance, and also uses a lot of water. With a little planning, grass can be replaced with sturdy ground cover plants or drought tolerant shrubs, and then finished off with decorative mulch or a combination of all.

It’s important to use mostly low mounding plants so you don’t obscure the view of your home. This also allows small children to be better aware of traffic. Good choices would include 'Crimson Pygmy' or 'Kobold' barberry, 'Sunset Gold' breath of heaven, 'Tom Thumb' cotoneaster, 'Newport Dwarf' escallonia, germander, dwarf yaupon holly, 'Little Rascal' holly, 'Ballerina' Indian hawthorn, juniper, 'Wheeler's Dwarf' and 'Cream de Mint' mock orange, potentilla, dwarf spirea and dwarf weigela.

Too add some texture and interest to the area, consider grassy textured plants such as dwarf Lily of the Nile, daylilies, fortnight lily, dwarf New Zealand Flax or Mexican feather grass. If more color is desired, add hardy perennials such as cranesbill, gaura, lamb’s ears, lavender, meadow sage and yarrow.

Finish the area with hardy, sun-loving groundcover like gazania, ornamental strawberry, trailing lantana, 'Harbour Dwarf' heavenly bamboo, or creeping thyme. To help get all of your plants established faster and to give the area a finished look, top-dress with a decorative mulch. This will also help keep the ground moist longer between each watering.

Curb areas don’t have to be difficult and they certainly don’t have to be boring. Give your curb the attention it deserves and make it the first thing people notice about your home.

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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.

Bird FoodBy 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.

It helps to learn about which birds actually live or migrate annually to and from your area. Create a list of birds and then find out their favorite food and type of nesting place. We have many great plants to provide birds food and shelter. (Many plants produce food for birds in the fall season.) So come in and visit us soon. Our staff of nursery professionals will be happy to help you plan a garden that is not only beautiful, but one that will also keep the local bird population happy!

Bird Seed Coupon
Click to print

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Often overlooked in the midst of better known citrus such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, mandarins are increasing in popularity due to their ease of peeling and wonderful, refreshing flavors. Fruit stands and grocery stores are catching on and now stock an increased selection, especially during the winter months. But nothing beats the flavor of home grown, sun-sweetened, tree-ripened mandarins.

The mandarin has many names, some of which actually refer to crosses between the mandarin and another citrus fruit. Varieties with reddish-orange fruit marketed as tangerines, and tangelos (a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine) are all part of the same family.

Smaller than oranges, mandarins are easily peeled with the fingers, starting at the thin rind covering the depression at the top of the fruit, and can be easily split into even segments without spilling juice. This makes it more convenient to eat than many other types of citrus, as one doesn't require utensils to peel or cut the fruit.

Mandarins make a wonderful addition to various kinds of dishes. The freshly grated peel lends an exotic flavor to other foods. Whole segments can be used in salads, desserts and other dishes such as coleslaw or tuna salad for an unexpected, delicious and colorful treat!

Most mandarin varieties are self-fertile (needing a bee only to move pollen within the same flower) or parthenocarpic (not needing pollination and therefore seedless). They prefer warm sunny locations with good drainage and benefit from the addition of a planting mix at planting time. Make sure to feed your mandarin every two months year-round to ensure strong growth and great tasting fruit.

We encourage you to find a spot in your garden for one of these great tasting fruit trees. Once you taste a fresh one, you'll never go back to store-bought!

Please click here to see some varieties

Protecting Citrus from Freeze

Recipe of the Month: Chili

Chef Mr. G

What You'll Need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid

Step by Step:

Combine ground beef, onion, and garlic in large stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain.

Stir in chili powder, salt, oregano, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; break up tomatoes while stirring. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to simmer, and cover.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Stir in beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes; stir occasionally.

Yield: 8-10 servings



Mr. G

'See you next month!'
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