Deep Roots Garden Center            Newsletter                 October 2011

Plant now!

Don't wait for Spring!!!

Now in stock:

Cool season tomatoes, vegetables, herbs and flowers





What to do in your garden

in October


October brings our first true days of Autumn. The leaves are starting to turn and the nights are cooler. There are spiders everywhere - just in time for Hallowe'en. (see our article on spiders from last year's October newsletter.) To see all our archived newsletters please go to our website and click on the newsletter link. 


Our mild Mediterranean climate makes it possible to plant all year round and Fall is one of the best times of the year to garden. The soil is still warm enough for newly planted plants to develop new roots, and the rainy season is approaching to provide water for those roots. While there will be some more hot spells it is relatively easy to get plants established now.


We begin to notice that the garden is growing slower this month. After hot and frantic summer harvests we too can be calmer in our garden activities: keeping summer stragglers producing through this month, starting plants from seed, nurturing seedlings just transplanted, and beginning to harvest cool-season crops. Clean up includes adding plant debris to the compost pile and storing pots and lumber and other leftovers away from the garden. The pleasantly cool weather is refreshing to work in after summer's heat.


Many plants that shut down in the heat of summer are now coming back for one last hurrah and there is still time for many roses to have one more explosion of blooms before winter. 



Now that the equinox has passed and the nights are cooler plants have different water requirements and it is time to cut back your irrigation schedule. Cooler weather slows evaporation from the soil and transpiration from plant foliage, so irrigation is needed less often. So, decrease the number of times--but not the length of time--you water. For example water twice a week to once a week, but still water for half an hour each time. This change will still provide water to deep roots while allowing for longer periods for the soil to dry in between waterings.


Remove the remnants of the warm-season plantings, including warm-season annual flowers, herbs, and vegetables that have faded. Add compost or other soil amendments to the soil before planting anything new.



While many plants will hunker down soon for their winter dormancy, there is a whole host of plants that actively grow during the winter season. Winter annuals such as those mentioned below need a continual feed with Gro Power Plus to keep them blooming. Same thing for the winter vegetable garden (see below).


Plant for Permanence:

You often hear that Fall is the best time to plant permanent additions such as perennials, ground covers, woody herbs, shrubs and trees to your landscape. Why? Well, this is the season that the plants put the most energy to root growth.The soil is still warm after the summer and so the roots of newly planted plants and trees will grow for two or three month or so before cold temperatures arrive. The root systems of these plants and trees will be well developed by spring and the top growth will therefore grow correspondingly stronger and healthier. Fall is also an ideal time to plant native plants, trees shrubs and perennials.Tender subtropicals, however do better when planted during the warm summer months. 



Garden mums are now bursting forth in brilliant falls hues as other perennials fade fast. Combine them with pansies and ornamental cabbages and kale for a gorgeous fall display that will last well into early winter.


Most chrysanthemums planted in our region will last until the Holidays. Mums are usually priced low enough to be planted as annuals, but if left in the ground, they may sprout new leaves in spring.


Other great fall and winter bloomers: Cyclamen. These are

great plants both for inside and outside. Their natural habitat is under the shade of deciduous trees so they thrive in cool shade to semi shade in summer and half sun in winter. They often go dormant if the summer gets too hot, but the white cyclamen I bought at Deep Roots last November grew all summer long and have recently started blooming again.

For shady spots in the garden, consider delicate-looking fall-flowering Japanese anemones. Growing 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall, these fall flowers grow on slender, branching stalks, and spread to form a large patch. Lobed leaves form attractive mounds of foliage, and the flowers look poppy-like. 

Plant Japanese anemones in rich, moist, well-drained soil, where they'll have afternoon shade. Anemones benefit from a winter mulch and regular deep watering in dry weather.


October is an ideal month to plant new perennials, although generally you will not be able to enjoy their color until next year. By planting them now they will develop a strong root structure during the cool fall weather, benefit from the rains and then burst in to glorious color next spring and summer.


Cut back perennials that have stopped blooming or that are flopping over. When the plants grow back, they will be fuller with a less straggly appearance. A number of perennials are now pretty much spent including  teucriums, oreganos, salvias, most of the plants in the daisy family, yarrow, calla lillies and coreopsis.  Cut these back to near the ground.  Wait until you see numerous small shoots growing from the base before cutting. These perennials will have a small flush of new growth before going dormant for the winter. Trim the spent blooms on lavenders and penstemons but don't cut into the woody part of the stem. Cut back geraniums (Pelargonium) to renew them and prevent unsightly, leggy growth.  


You can also now divide plants that have outgrown their spaces, such as ornamental grasses, iris, daylilies, agapanthas, gingers, and bamboos. Congested clumps need dividing in order to encourage plenty of flowering next year and of course dividing is one of the best ways to increase your stocks of plants. To divide, dig up the whole clump, and divide into smaller pieces. Either tease the clump apart or cut using a spade. Replant in groups of three or five for good displays the following year. 


Annuals: It is a good time to plant cool season color such as Iceland poppies, pansies, sweet peas, ranunculus, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.


Plant or sow ageratum • bachelor's buttons (cornflower)  • campanulas • chrysanthemums • columbines (aquilegia)  •    coralbells (heuchera) • coreopsis (pot of gold) •  forget-me-nots (see photo below) • hollyhocks •  kale • and ornamental cabbage • phloxes •  primroses • violas • Johnny-jump-ups and violets.

All these will develop stronger plants and bloom earlier and more profusely in the spring if they are sown now since they'll grow extensive root systems over the winter.


Vegetables and Fruits

Sow fava beans •  celery •  chard • chives • garlic •  kale •  kohlrabi • leeks •  lettuce - especially romaine types and small-heading bibb and buttercrunch types which overwinter well.   Also sow green and long-day bulb onions (which will mature during the lengthening days of next spring and early summer) •  parsley • peas •  radishes • spinaches • and shallots.  Also transplant artichokes • beets, • broccoli • Brussels sprouts • cabbage • cauliflower •  established herbs (especially comfrey, sage, thyme) • and rhubarb. Just about any broccoli variety will do well in our area. Try "sprouting" kinds for lots of small heads. For brilliant chartreuse, pointed heads that taste milder than regular broccoli.


Plant asparagus crowns at least six inches deep, and mulch them heavily with compost--winter rains will slowly wash the nutrients down to the root zone.


Plant strawberry beds away from where potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers have grown within the last three years. Incorporate organic fertilizers (such as Dr. Earth's Vegetable and Herb food) and compost into the soil.  Water well. Plant strawberries one foot apart so the crown is just above the soil level. Strong roots will develop over the winter, and spring warmth will encourage fast growth and large berries.  


Remove canes that fruited this year from bramble berry vines such as blackberries and raspberries. They will not fruit again. Or wait until January, when the thorny leaves have dropped, the canes are bare, and new and old growth are easy to tell apart.

Fertilize fruit trees and winter vegetables regularly with Dr. Earth's Vegetable and Herb Food and Dr Earth's Fruit Tree Fertilizer.


Shrubs and Trees:

Transplant azaleas and camellias. Thin bloom buds on camelias to three or four inches apart for fewer but more spectacular blooms in the spring. Lightly feed camellias and azaleas with an acid based fertilizer all winter long to help develop their spring blooms.


Feed subtropicals like citrus and avocados with a fertilizer such as Dr. Earth's Bud and Bloom, or Gro More citrus growers mix which contain high levels of phosphorus and potassium but no nitrogen to help them through the winter. Keep them watered until the rains take over.


Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but  discontinue feeding.  Clear the soil under trees by pulling back the mulch, discarding fruit mummies, and moving leaves to the compost pile as soon as they fall.


To combat fungal diseases such as peach leaf curl, downey mildew and shothole, fruit trees need to be sprayed while they are dormant with a dormant spray containing copper sulfate such as Bordeaux Mix. Plan your dormant fruit tree spraying schedule to coincide approximately with cool-weather holidays--Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and Valentine's Day. Specific cues are even more important to follow--the fall of the last leaf (Thanksgiving), the height of dormancy (New Year's Day), and bud swell (Valentine's Day). Spraying at the precise period of bud swell is especially important -- before the buds swell is too early, and after the blossoms open is too late. 


Natives and Drought Tolerant

Here in California this is the beginning of the growing season for so many of our California Native plants. Now is the perfect time to plant or transplant this type of plant. We have many varieties still available in our backstock area since they are no longer in bloom and/or going dormant.



Most people fertilize their lawns in the spring, but don't let the cooler temperatures of autumn fool you. Fall actually is the best time to fertilize the grass... even better than springtime. After the summer's heat grass regains its strength before winter with a good fall fertilizing. Fertilizing now also helps grass develop a thick and deep root system, so it can better survive next summer's heat. Lower the blade height on your lawn mower to encourage short, bushy growth. Fall is also a good time to de-thatch and aerate your lawn.


Now is the time to replace lawns, (whether by seed or sod) or reseed thin spots in established ones. Win the fight against crabgrass by removing the affected lawn area and seed or sod with grass that matches your lawn. For best results, wait until a cool spell occurs before planting. Better yet wait until rain is forecast if you can. If you are overseeding with fescue or rye for winter, stop feeding and watering Bermuda lawns and overseed them now.  We have red fescue grass seed for sale by the pound. 


If we have a warm spell, water newly-seeded lawns two or three times a day for the first two weeks. For another two weeks, water once a day. Then, change to watering only three times a week but for longer periods. You want the moisture to reach two to three inches down so the roots grow deeply into the well-prepared seedbed. When the grass gets bushy and about three inches tall--about a month after sowing--the lawn is ready for its first mowing. Allow the soil to become firm and fairly dry before mowing, however, to avoid compressing the new lawn with mower wheels and your footsteps.




Tried and True, plants that work...


This is a large family of reliable, warm-climate plants with over 350 named species. Originating in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, India Indonesian, Australia and some Pacific islands, they are perfectly adapted to our climate. Closely related to the mint family this genus includes common plants like Creeping Charlie and Swedish Ivy. Most of the Plectranthus that we sell grow well in dry shade, either in the ground or in pots or hanging baskets. Below are the Pletranthus species that are usually on hand at the store or easily ordered 

Plectranthus Mona Lavender is a fast growing perennial shrub reaching 24" - 30" in height. It grows well in part sun to shade. When grown with some sun it tends to stay small and compact and the leaves exhibit a more intense coloring especially on the purple undersides of the leaves. The foliage is handsome all year round but the real prize is the dark lavender flower spikes which appear on the plant in August and continue blooming for six to eight weeks.

Plectranthus Troy's Gold: (below left). This is a beautiful variety of Plectranthus with bright golden leaves. Very easy to grow it makes a nice hanging basket or container plant or groundcover for shade or part-shade. It grows to a width of 30" and a height of 18", and has white flowers in the fall.


Plectranthus aurea marginata (below center) Gold Edge Plectranthus has irregular golden edge leaf margins with a deep green leaf center. The leaves are soft and fuzzy and exude a pleasant fragrance when touched. Gold Edge Plectranthus forms a wide, spreading, vigorous plant growing up to 3ft wide and tall. Easily grown in a container or in the ground in the shade or morning sun.


Plectranthus verticillatus

(on right of picture above), commonly called Variegated Swedish Ivy this plant is often sold as a houseplant but it also grows extremely well outside in dry shade. Variegated Swedish Ivy is a vigorous trailing plant that is best suited for hanging basket, window boxed or large containers. The leaves are small and irregularly marked with splashes white and emit a spicy fragrance when touched.

Plectranthus Silver Shield:  (Picture below) This vigorous plant is bigger and bushier than Dusty Miller and Lamb's Ears, with a well-branched habit and large, fuzzy leaves that add cool, soothing gray and silver tones to the hot summer bed, border, or container.  Native to Australia, 'Silver Shield' is very tolerant of heat, humidity, and other stresses, and rapidly forms a dense plant 24 to 30 inches high and wide, with big 4-inch leaves of gray-green covered with a silvery sheen resembling frost. The perfect complement to all your flowering plants (especially pink,white, and purple tones), 'Silver Shield' is equally suited for the garden or for large containers, where it makes a fine background to trailing Petunias, colorful Coleus,and just about anything else you fancy!

Plectranthus ciliatus 'Drege' (Spur Flower) - Evergreen usually on hand at the store or easily ordered perennial  groundcover (technically a sub-shrub) that grows to 1 foot tall by several feet wide with a unique leaf that has a green upper side and purple underside with small, stiff white hairs. Stems and flower stalks are also purple. Small white flowers rise above foliage in the spring and summer. Best in light or part shade - tolerates deep shade but loses red coloration. Supply regular to sparse watering.

Green Out Your Closet

 Check out the "Green Out Your Closet" donation bin located in front of the florist. It is there for people to drop off any clothing and shoes they want to donate for needy families and is accessible 24 hours a day.

Free Water...

We have had our first rain and more will be on the way! Order your rain barrel now so that all that free water does not go down the drain.


Our barrels are 55 gallon, food grade plastic barrels that have been fitted with hose bibs and overflow. They are designed to place under a rain gutter and are available in terra cotta or black.


Deep Roots

Garden Center &

Floral Design Studio 


9AM - 6PM daily


Find us on Facebook

201-207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach,

CA 90266


Garden Center: 310-376-0567

Flower Shop: 310-379-3634



Easy Reader's 

Best Garden Center

  in the South Bay   





Eco-Friendly Moment

Deep Roots Floral Design Studio is eco-friendly...we use washable rags; recycle cardboard, paper and plastic; and compost old flowers. 


Call us at 310-379-3634 to order your unique custom designed arrangement or bouquet.

You can also order flowers online through our Teleflora website 


CSA Organic Veggie Boxes

We are an established drop off point for the South Central Farmers Cooperative Community Supported Agriculture vegetable boxes.


The large boxes of seasonal, organic vegetables and fruit are delivered to Deep Roots Garden Center every Wednesday at approximately 2.00 pm and we store them in our large flower cooler until closing time the following day.


Customers may order a box every week, every two weeks, once a month or simply when you feel like one. The boxes contain enough seasonal organic vegetables to feed a family of four for a week or a single/couple for two weeks.


Payment is in advance – please place your order before noon on Mondays. Why not come in and order a box? Or you can phone 310-376-0567.


At $21 a box it is great value.

To find out what is in the box visit:







We offer 10% discounts to members of:


Hermosa Gardening Club, the Manhattan Beach Botanical Gardens, The South Coast Botanic Gardens, The Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, and all senior citizens on Senior Day (Tuesdays). 


We have added members of the Military, Coastguards, Police, and Firefighters to this list. Bring along your badge or wear your uniform to get a 10% discount on everything! We thank you for your service.


The Collection...

"The Collection"




extraordinary, rare and unique plants


You may have seen this label on some of our plants and asked yourself "what does this mean?"


We place this label on plants that we consider to be rare, difficult to obtain or unique.  

These plants are for the plant collectors among us...


Unexpected Pleasures

Some plants lead us to have great expectations which are sometimes not fulfilled (rather like life in general...). On the other hand, some plants do not give any hint at all of how fantastic they will turn out to be.


One such plant is the tough evergreen perennial Firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis). I planted the red version of this plant in a part of my garden where hardly anything survives. It is in rock hard soil, next to a large Pomegranate tree, and gets no sun in winter and full-on sun in summer. Watering is extremely erratic also. However it has thrived for about five years now blooming for ten to eleven months a year on nearly leafless, deep green stems, spreading slowly underground to a plant that is now 5' by 5'. It has an unusual growth habit that is tough to put a number on with wiry, arching stems that grow their way through other plants without smothering them.


The plants’ botanical name (equisetiformis) is derived from Latin words meaning  Horse and form.  When you see the form of the plant and touch the stems, it does make you think of  a horse’s tail.


The outstanding ornamental feature of this plant is obviously the flowers. The 1" tubular shaped flowers bloom profusely at the end of the arching stems forming a seemingly never ending bank of color. The Firecracker plant is most commonly found with bright coral red flowers but we also have peach and creamy yellow versions in stock here at Deep Roots. The color and shape of these flowers make them a must stop for any Hummingbird out and about looking for nectar.  After seeing a  plant in full flower, it’s easy to see why it is commonly called the Firecracker plant as it explodes with color and lights up any sunny to lightly shaded border. This plant surprises and delights me every time I leave my house as I grow it next to my driveway. It is now giving me a whole bank of fall color that matches the red fruit and yellowing leaves of the Pomegranate next to it..


Russelia is also a great choice for creating dramatic spilling affects in containers and hanging baskets. I am so in love with this plant that I recently bought four of the creamy yellow ones from Deep Roots and have planted these in several difficult areas in my garden. I will let you know how they do...

From Deep Roots'

Summer in the Garden

Cook Book:

Pumpkin Soup

After carving out your pumpkin for Halloween it seems such a shame to throw away all that gorgeous orange flesh and those interesting looking seeds. The soft texture and slight sweetness of pumpkin flesh – not to mention the amber glow - is delicious when cooked and partners well with sage, cream, bacon, and cheese.


Why not make pumpkin soup?  Here is our recipe for this delicious warming autumnal soup, perfect to have for a late supper after Trick-or-Treating is over.


In a large saucepan gently sauté one white onion and one clove of garlic in some butter until translucent but not brown. Add the chopped flesh of a large pumpkin and stir.  Add four large chopped, sweet carrots, one sliced potato and pour in two large cans of chicken broth. Add two tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste (the one that comes in a tiny can), one large sprig of thyme, one sprig of winter savory and a couple of sage leaves if available. Also sprinkle in one teaspoon of ground cumin and one teaspoon of sea salt. Heat and cook gently until the pumpkin and carrots are soft. Let cool and then blend. Add more sea salt and white pepper to taste. Stir in 1/2 can evaporated milk and re-heat but do not boil.The soup should taste slightly sweet. If it doesn't add a little sugar.

Serve with a spoonful of sour cream or a grating of cheese and some delicious artisanal bread.


This soup bursts with carotenoid pigments, including beta and alpha carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. While the first two super nutrients are believed to protect your heart and fight cancer, the latter two are thought to help reduce the risk of age-related blindness.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

While making this soup you can roast the pumpkin seeds. They are high in minerals and fiber. With the following recipe the pumpkin seeds are coated with savory spices, but believe me, pumpkin seeds are divine when roasted with just a little bit of olive oil and a LOT of sea salt. 


Once you have got the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin run your hands through them while you rinse them. That way the remaining pieces of pulp come right off.


 There are several decisions to make when roasting pumpkin seeds. Do you boil them first or put them straight into the oven? Do you roast them at high heat, like 400˚F? Or do you slow roast them at 275˚F or 300˚F? Do you coat them with goodies or just let them stand on their own with a little salt?  I’ve done them two different ways and both were great in their own way, so I’m beginning to think you really can’t screw up pumpkin seeds (unless you burn them). The first way I roasted them in a 400˚F oven with a lot of sea salt and some olive oil. It took about 15 minutes. They were great right out of the oven. The second method I went for the slow roast with lots of stuff caked on. These also were great. These stood the test of time a bit better than the earlier ones did in both the flavor and texture categories, but they did not outdo the first ones while still warm. 


Some recipes call for baking pumpkin seeds for almost an hour in a 300˚F oven, but I found that I needed to take mine out after just over 30 minutes. My pumpkin seeds weren’t totally dry when they went into the oven either, which made me think that they would take at least 45 minutes to get crispy. But 30 minutes was enough. Make sure that you check on your roasting seeds frequently to prevent burning them.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds



1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, well rinsed and patted dry 

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp finely crushed thyme

1/2 tsp Spanish paprika 

1/2 tsp Cumin 

1 tsp sea salt + more to taste 



1. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. Once the seeds are rinsed and patted VERY dry, mix the butter, Worcestershire sauce and the rest of the seasonings together in a large zip lock bag. Dump in the seeds, seal the bag and shake it about until the seeds are evenly coated.

3. Spread the seeds evenly on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-45 minutes, checking on them and flipping them over every 10 minutes.

4. Allow to cool slightly and either eat warm from the oven or toss them on a salad. 




Holidays 2011

Reserve a spot with our designers for holiday home or office decorating. Let our team of talented and creative designers transform your home or office into a Holiday Masterpiece ready for your Christmas or Hanukah party and celebrations. Limited spaces available so call soon and ask for Lisa -  310-379-3634.



Pre-order your

large Christmas Trees now!


We will have a generous stock of all trees up to 10",  but larger trees, as always, will be limited in number. We have a new source in Oregon  for the absolute finest large trees in the Northwest and we must secure these for you now. Available all the way up to 16' Don't wait! Call 310-376-0567 and ask for Jon.


Deep Roots Garden Center • 207 N. Sepulveda Blvd. • Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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