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Edition 8.14
April 2008

Go Green with Grangetto's

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Fertilizers: Best Triple Pro 15 Dr. Earth Rhododendron, Azalea, Camellia 4-5-4 Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer Best Ntra Kingproduct image Turf Supreme 16-6-8 Dr. Earth Cottonseed Meal Lilly Miller Weed & Feed

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Soil Amendments / Mulches: Soil Building Compost Sunshine Pro Premium Potting Soil Gardner and Bloome Planting Mix John and Bob's Soil Optimizer Worm Gold Plus Worm Gold Plus
Landscape/Garden Tools: Corona PrunersAmes Hose Flexrake Flexogen Hose

Pest Control: Amaze Weed Killer Black Hole Green Light Crabgrass Preventer Sluggo Plus Bayer Tree and Shrub Product Image Ortho Buggeta Product Image Bayer Advanced Insect and Mite Control

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"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides."
- W. E. Johns

Escondido Spring Garden Tour in April

Mark April 19th on your calendar so you don't miss our 2nd annual garden tour.

Three fabulous gardens will be on view from 10 am – 2 pm:

  • An arborist's 2 acre woodland garden with year-round creek
  • A flower lover's riot of blooms
  • A secluded getaway

Call the information hotline at 760-743-4382 during April for the addresses. Purchase tickets for $15 each at any garden, or purchase tickets ahead of time at the History Center for the reduced rate of $12.50 per ticket. Refreshments are included, and a plant sale is also part of the fun. Please carpool with friends.

Thank you to El Plantio Nursery and Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply for being our sponsors for this event. Funds raised support the EHC Endowment Foundation.

For more details visit the Escondido History Center on the web at


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Backyard Retreat

A backyard retreat means something different for each of us. It could be a quiet corner in the shade with a comfortable chair for reading, or a chaise lounge in the sun. Perhaps it is a table for two for quiet dining or a large table seating 6-8 with an outdoor kitchen perfect for large dinner parties. Whatever your choice, needs and desires, include other features such as a bubbling fountain, koi pond, trees and flowers in a container arrangement.

Most of these ideas can be incorporated in part, no matter what the special area is for this special retreat. It could be a balcony, tiny patio garden or large backyard. Everyone can have a private customized retreat.

When designing a garden retreat, first take time to imagine the future dream garden that you desire. A multitude of questions will come pouring into your mind as you begin to envision your future garden. Or, for those less aware of just what to do, consider what your answers are to these questions.

  1. Do you want a retreat for serenity after hectic days at work; do you want a space designed for entertaining?
  2. How much space do you have? Is this a patio transformation, a small grotto along the side of your house, or the entire backyard?
  3. What ever your desire, next consider what "look" you would like--be it tropical, formal, informal cottage garden, or Asian.
  4. Color and texture choices. Color and textures can be added in many different ways: through the plant foliage, fabrics, walls and flooring (you could paint them!), pottery, statuary, garden art and more!
  5. Sound. Quiet water, bubbling water, splashing water, birds singing and/or leaves rustling in the breeze?
  6. Water feature. Do you want a fountain, pool, pond, pond with waterfall?



DaVinci Water Gardens



Falling for Fuschias

By Tamara Galbraith

Fuchsias have long been a favorite with our friends across the Big Pond in the U.K., but hardier versions are starting to attract some attention now in the U.S.

Saying "hardier" is a little deceptive, however; even the most robust fuchsias only survive outdoors year-round to USDA Zone 7 at the northernmost. In the colder parts of the U.S., fuchsias may be grown as annuals or dug up and overwintered indoors or in the greenhouse.

On the flipside, most fuchsias can survive warm climates, if you're not bothered by the sight of them wilting slightly on a hot day. Adequate humidity is the key - which, incidentally, is why they do so well in jolly old England. If you keep your fuchsias in a hanging basket, be sure to water often. Some shade is advisable.

When grown in hanging baskets, the dangling flowers of fuchsia make a lovely display. The double corolla varieties especially will remind you of the stiff, fluffy skirts of a lady square dancer.



Manager's Corner

Worm Gold Plus By Tamara Galbraith

Ok, let's get the nasty bit out of the way right now: "castings" is just a nice word for, um, poop. So when we talk about earthworm castings, it's actually the stuff that comes out of the business end of a worm.

That's the bad news. The good news is that earthworm castings are an invaluable tool in maintaining an organic garden, especially for you veggie gardeners out there.

Castings are simply one of the best fertilizers you can use, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, you can use as much as you like, and earthworm castings will not burn your plants. For another, castings contain nutrients that are more easily absorbed by plants. Mixing them into the soil will help with moisture retention too.

Nature's Big Bud Worm CastingsAnd buying a bag of castings isn't anything like, say, lugging home a sack of cow manure. Castings don't smell, and the medium is light and fluffy to the touch. You can use them by themselves as a soil supplement. We also carry soil amendments, planting mixes and potting mixes that contain worm castings.

You'll quickly get over any "ewww" factor when you see how much your plants love the gift earthworms leave behind.


Manager of Grangetto's Encinitas



This Month's Specials

April Specials

In the Spotlight

Grangetto's Employee of the Year for 2007
Diane Cook: Employee of the Year

Diane always puts the customer first, showing the highest degree of courtesy and sensitivity to their needs. Every aspect of Diane’s interaction with a customer is likely to make them want to return; from her genuine friendly greeting, to listening for what they need, to thanking them for their business.

Diane started at Grangetto's Fallbrook location in October 2003, where she continues to learn everything she can about the products and services we offer.

Diane attended Mira Costa College earlier this year and received an “A” for completing the Landscape Management course.

Diane is a very hard worker, very dependable, always flexible and available when Fallbrook experiences staffing shortages. Through her attitude and her industriousness, Diane has shown that she views her position as more than just a job.

Recently Diane has stepped up and taken on a variety of the Junior Administrative Assistant job duties in addition to her regular sales responsibilities. Diane is an excellent example of what Grangetto’s wants customers to think of when they form an opinion of our company. We are very lucky to have Diane on our team!



Pest of the Month: Snails and Slugs

SluggoSnails and slugs are a real challenge to a gardener's patience, but there are many choices for dealing with them which you might not have been aware of. The good news is that many of these solutions to the snail & slug problem are non-toxic!

Remember the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach of starting with the least toxic?
Here are some ideas:

  1. Hand-pick and dispose of them by your choice of methods. These would include stomping them, throwing them in the street, dropping them in a bucket of salt water, and so forth!
  2. Coax them out of the flowerbed by laying a flat board on the ground. They will crawl under it to get away from the heat of the sun, then you just swish them off into the trash.
  3. Put out a saucer of stale beer--they are attracted to the scent of it and will crawl in and drown!
  4. Apply a copper band around flower pots. Snails cannot tolerate copper and they will not cross it. These are available commercially, or you can make your own.
  5. Sluggo PlusPut down scratchy things (snails don't like doing the equivalent of walking across broken glass in bare feet). Finely crushed eggshells and diatomaceous earth (this will need replacing if it gets wet) work well.
  6. Get friendly with the larger neighborhood predators. Possums, ducks, turtles, tortoises, rats, some birds, and snakes (and even my former neighbor's Springer spaniel) will prey on snails and slugs.
  7. Try snails that like other snails for dinner. The predatory snail Rumina decollata (decollate snail) will feed on young snails and may be worth a try but also may nibble on young plants on occasion. It takes a little time to get them established but many people have been pleased with the results.
  8. Don't forget the predacious beetle Calosma, which also feeds on snails and slugs.
  9. If these fail, try a pet-safe snail bait such as Sluggo or Sluggo Plus. Sluggo comes in bags from 2.5 lbs up to 10 lbs.; for a really bad snail and slug problem, use Corry's Snail & Slug Meal or Pellets.  For larger areas we carry Deadline Mini Pellets or Metaldehyde 7.5% bags (this is not pet-safe).

Use baits weekly for at least three weeks to get all generations.

Corry's Snail and Slug Control

A word of caution if you have been using a pelleted form of snail bait: it can be dangerous around pets as it looks like food to them. The finer granule type is much safer, but please be careful; read the label and use as directed.



Things to Do in April

Bedding plants/annuals are now available to replace any cool-season annuals that are just about done. Zinnia, ageratum, coleus, dahlia, marigold, nicotiana, phlox, petunia, salvia and many more have brightened up our garden center. Let them brighten up your gardens. Also, try some taller annuals such as cosmos, cleome, sunflowers, and foxgloves to add height and interest to the garden beds.

Roses, Roses, Roses. There's still time to plant roses. They are full of buds and blooms right now – and they are simply gorgeous

If you are a beneficial insect lover, flat-topped flowers like Shasta daisies, scabiosa, strawflowers, and yarrow are perfect additions to your garden for feeding them. Beneficial insects such as the almost microscopic parasitic wasps, ladybugs, etc. keep other insect pests away from your vegetable gardens by eating aphids, scale, and other annoying insect intruders! You can use beautiful flowers to tempt these garden friends into your garden. Try putting some of these flowers near to your rose garden for aphid control!

Time to plant dahlias, begonias and get in the gladiolus bulbs. Add some bone meal to the planting hole.

The narcissus and daffodils are blooming, as well as other spring blooming bulbs. However, as soon as the blooms are spent, you can deadhead - but don't remove the foliage! The bulb needs that green foliage to add nutrients back to the bulb for next year's flowers. Hide the clippers for a little while longer. Try an old-fashioned technique of braiding the leaves or if you must cut...leave at least half of the leaf length for the bulb. It will thank you with next year's bloom!

It's time to start warm season crops. Coastal areas can continue planting cool season crops like the leaf lettuces, radishes, and spinach for a while. Inland zones (not the high desert, though) can start the warm season vegetables such as beans, corn, squashes, cucumber, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. We have them all and more.

Continue with fertilizing those areas of the garden you haven't gotten to yet. Once your azaleas and camellias have stopped blooming their hearts out, they will thank you if you feed them. This is a good time to prune back these spring bloomers. Once the flowering has ended and before the new growth begins, prune and shape to your desired shape and size.

Also, you may see some chlorosis on your acid-loving plants like the azalea or camellia and also on your citrus. This is yellowing of the leaves between the veins. It is a sign of iron deficiency for the plant.

Especially near the coast, this is the time we begin to see powdery mildew on our rose foliage (and other plants too). There are several different foliar fungicidal sprays to try.

Aphids will be back. Remember that you can first wash them off with water. Really, it does help. For more severe infestations, ask us to recommend something suitable for your particular plants.

Mulch, Mulch Mulch!
We will always tell you to mulch. This does not mean mound up the mulch to 5 feet. It means continue to replenish the mulch and maintain a 2-4 inch blanket over your soil. So when you hear us singing the MULCH song, you know just what we mean!


Grow More Magnum Rose Food



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All About Genisteae

Broom, Fabaceae or Leguminosae (bean family), are a large group of evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous shrubs that are spring flowering, love full sun, and once established are drought tolerant. All Broom species are part of a larger group Genisteae, but many times this is synonymous with Cytisus.

They love full sun and minimal watering, and thrive in poor soils. This makes them a great choice for a low-maintenance garden. The low-growing ones make excellent ground cover or bank planting, and the taller ones can make excellent plantings for a dry hillside.

Some of the older broom varieties will tend to reseed themselves and can get out of the garden. You can control this tendency by being sure to prune off the spent flowers after the bloom cycle. But many of the new hybrids have been bred to be non-invasive. Check with one of our salespersons if you have any questions.



Protecting Plants from Insect and Disease

article photoUsing good cultural practices and selecting well-adapted species will go a long way in preventing landscape plants from being attacked by insects and diseases. For example, watering roses at their base without wetting the foliage will help minimize black spot, the most troublesome disease of roses in many parts of the country. And over-fertilizing, whether it be of lawns, roses or trees, is known to invite both insects and disease. Good sanitation--just cleaning up prunings and other plant debris that may harbor insects or disease--will also reduce problems.

Choosing plants that are well adapted to the area in which you live as well as to the exact spot in your garden (sun or shade, wet or dry) where you will plant them, will also help minimize pests. Simply put, healthy plants have fewer problems. And many plants, including flowers, trees and roses, are available in varieties that have been selected or bred to resist known insects or diseases. For example, did you know there are varieties of roses, zinnias and crape myrtles that naturally resist powdery mildew? But despite a gardener's best intentions, pest problems inevitably occur. Grangetto’s offers a variety of effective systemic (active ingredients are absorbed into plant tissues) pest control options for flowers worthy of summer review. Indoor plants should be sprayed or treated outside, then brought back inside once dry.

Bayer Advanced All-in-One- Rose and Flower Care Concentrate


Bayer Advanced™ All-In-One Rose & Flower Care Concentrate’s exclusive formula feeds and protects against insects and diseases in one easy step. It provides six weeks of protection against major disease problems, including black spot, powdery mildew and rust, of roses, hibiscus, and other flowers and shrubs. It also controls many insect pests, including aphids, adult Japanese beetles, lace bugs, scales, thrips and whitefly. No spraying necessary; just mix in a bucket or watering can and pour around the base of the plant. Root uptake starts the systemic process that distributes the product throughout the plant.

Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control Concentrate


Bayer Advanced™ Tree & Shrub Insect Control Concentrate is the only tree and shrub insect control that provides 12 months of protection with one application. It contains the proprietary MERIT® systemic insecticide for maximum, rainproof results. No spraying is required; just mix and pour at the base of the tree or shrub. It controls many insect pests, including adelgids, aphids, adult Japanese beetles, lace bugs, leaf-feeding beetles, psyllids, scales, thrips, whitefly and many wood-boring pests. Bayer Advanced™ 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed also contains MERIT plus a slow-release fertilizer. It comes in ready-to-use granules and can be used on container plants.

Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect, Disease, and Mite Control Ready-to-Use


Bayer Advanced™ 3-in-1 Insect, Disease & Mite Control Ready-To-Use’s exclusive triple-protection formula provides long-lasting control against insects, diseases and mites in one easy step. Systemic, rainproof protection lasts up to 30 days. It kills insects, cures and prevents diseases, and controls mites and spider mites. Bayer Advanced™ 3-in-1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control can be used on roses, flowers, houseplants, ground covers, vines, ornamentals, shrubs and trees. It comes in ready-to-use and concentrate.




Gro Power





By Tamara Galbraith

One of my favorite summer blooming perennials is veronica. These hardy plants send up gorgeous candles of purple, white, and pink year after year in a stately fashion, plus they pretty much define "low-maintenance."

Perfect for rock gardens, veronicas--and we're talking about the upright type of veronica here, not the creeping kind--prefer full sun and do well in rock gardens. It's important not to overwater this lovely lady, or mildew and root rot can result.

Most types can get to a couple of feet tall. However, there are also some lovely dwarf varieties.

Veronicas are hardy to an incredible -35 degrees F, not picky about soil quality, attractive to bees and butterflies, and are even deer-resistant. Sounds like the perfect plant, doesn't it?

Better still, you can divide these plants every few years and replant the divisions. Or you can give them away...because veronicas should be in everybody's garden.





Roberts Irrigation Ad




Rose Slugs

Spring is just around the corner - or so we hope. We all look forward to spring and all the freshness, the new tender foliage, and the beautiful flowers. Even just thinking of that first bloom from the rose bushes in the garden brings happiness to our hearts and smiles to our faces. But spring brings something else to our gardens that winter has minimized. Insects.

Beginning this year, we would like you to consider a new approach to your gardens and all the living creatures that dwell there. That approach is tolerance and integrated pest management. Agriculture uses the term "agricultural entomology," which applies an economic threshold--the point when it becomes more economically necessary to save a crop than to do nothing. That point is reached only when, without action, the entire crop could not be saved. But we're talking about our gardens, where the issue is actually more aesthetic than economic.

Our gardens are living ecosystems. You are probably unaware of much of that ecosystem , but it is integral and important, nonetheless. Use of pesticides is an escalation to the maximum sentence for an insect that is considered a pest. That pesticide may kill your pest, but it will also kill beneficial insects indiscriminately. And some of those beneficial insects are actually predators for the very pest you are targeting. Unfortunately, pesticides kill them all. So find out who your garden friends are, discover what they like to live on, breed on and feed upon. Add those plants to your garden, offering a welcome mat to the beneficial insects--and observe the decrease in the pest population, right before your eyes. There are many beneficial insects in your gardens. Ladybugs and their larvae are common, and so are the green lacewing larvae. Today, learn a new approach to the rose slug. He'll be in our gardens before we know it, if he isn't already.

The rose slug is a sawfly larva (note: that means that its presence will be a temporary one). In your garden, this variety of sawfly, actually a tiny wasp, is one of your garden friends. Once it becomes an adult it likes to feed on other soft-bodied insects and, like the bee, acts as a pollinator. So as an adult, this insect is a beneficial one for humans. Here's the rub--its larva, the rose slug, is seemingly the rose lover's worst enemy! Or is it the rose leaf lover's worst enemy?

The American Rose Society website informs us: "Rose slugs are the immature stages of primitive wasps called sawflies. Rose slugs look more like caterpillars than slugs. They are not slimy and do not have rasping mouthparts like true slugs. The young larva begins feeding as a skeletonizer on the underside of the leaves and as it matures, it chews large holes on the leaves."

Recommended control: rose slugs look like caterpillars but they are not; consequently insecticides for caterpillars, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, will not kill them. If there are only a few rose bushes infested with the rose slugs, pull the leaves off and kill any larvae found on the upper or lower surfaces of the leaves.

Just about any contact insecticide labeled for use on roses will kill the rose slugs. Try to use the least toxic one possible, because you don't want to kill beneficial insects in your garden. Spray oil products are the least toxic, but still effective when sprayed directly onto the rose slug. You should also spray the soil under the rose bushes, as the larvae pupate in the soil prior to overwintering. If the damage is very widespread, chemical control may be indicated.

Every year, we all face a "crop" of rose slugs in our rose gardens. Spring will soon be upon us, and only time will tell what this year brings us. Many of us are huge rose lovers and have many shrubs and climbers in our gardens. But one comment we would like to make to those of you who are "zero tolerant" of the little guy chewing at your rose leaves...most of us aren't growing the rose for its leaf. We don't cut the rose from the bush, throw out the rose and rose buds, and put the leafy cane into a vase. Your rose shrub will be able to continue to photosynthesize with fewer leaves, or leaves with holes. Keep this in mind when you are making a decision about the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) level of rose slug control in your gardens. Remember that the adult sawfly is a beneficial insect.






Sod Ad




Fresh Strawberry Pie
  • 1 (8 inch) pie shells, baked
  • 5 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin

Step by Step:

  • In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely.

  • Add boiling water, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature

  • Place strawberries in baked pie shells; position berries with points facing up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.

  • Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.





Mr. G

'See you next month!'
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