Deep Roots Garden Center             Newsletter                          March 2012

We did it Again!!!

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Best in the South Bay 2012!



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A big thank you to everyone ...

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We aim to continue providing the best plants,

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best customer service in the South Bay.

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Well grounded … Still growing



It's March!  

The Garden Center is freshly stocked with annuals, natives, water-wise plants, succulents, fruit trees and flowering shrubs...


It's Spring!

What to do in your garden this month...

If February is the crossover month where winter turns to spring, then March means spring is in full swing.  The days are getting appreciably longer and deciduous trees and plants that have been dormant during the winter are pushing out bright green leaves and shoots. There is no better time than NOW to plant, transplant or sow seeds as plants are botanically programmed to grow fast in the spring. There is lots to do in the garden this month so roll up your sleeves and enjoy it!


Nothing says "Spring" better than the dainty, pretty light blue of Forget-Me-Nots. One packet of seeds is all it takes for you to have these pretty harbingers of warmer days appear in your garden year after year.  Just sprinkle the seeds on the ground in a shady area and with the help of a little water, plants will appear - it's as simple as that. Once they have finished blooming and have gone to seed, pull them up and give them a good shake where you want them to appear again, and they will self-sow.


Pull weeds and snails: Even though we haven't had much rain this year, weeds still grow and snails are emerging from their winter hideaways hungry as ever. Water the ground before hand pulling weeds and then use a pre-emergent such as Amaze to prevent weeds from germinating. Hand pick snails off your plants just before dawn. Locate their daytime hiding places ― usually strap-leafed plants like daylilies or agapanthus ― and handpick regularly. Use a snail bait such as Sluggo, which is safe in the vegetable garden and around pets or children.


Sow seeds before it rains:     

Now is an excellent time to sow spring veggie seeds.  If rain is forecast, sow vegetable and annual flower seeds before it arrives. Nothing excites seeds as much as rain! The art of getting seeds to germinate is to prepare the ground first and keep the seeds moist while they germinate. Do not flood them but do not let them dry out either.




Buy tomato plants:  Tomatoes grow well in the ground or in large pots. Tomatoes need heat to produce flowers and fruit, but during these early months they will develop a large root system that will make for stronger plants in the summer. At Deep Roots we have several varieties that have been adapted to our coastal climate. We will be bringing in different varieties of heirloom tomato plants with each shipment so check back often for exciting varieties. 



 Attract good bugs: To keep insect pests under control in your vegetable garden, lure in their natural enemies ― hoverflies, lacewings (photo left), ladybugs, and parasitic wasps ― by planting the nectar plants they love, such as aster, chamomile, coreopsis, cosmos, feverfew, marigold, scabiosa, and yarrow.


In our bug fridge: recently delivered - ladybugs, praying mantis egg pods and earthworms.  


Grow fruit trees:  March is a great time to plant citrus trees.  If you have limited space plant dwarf varieties which grow well in large containers. Grow citrus trees in FULL SUN. Citrus trees thrive in sun and heat so growing them in full sun is especially important along the coast. 


Prepare the ground or the container well, sprinkle some Dr.Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer in with the soil before you plant. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and need regular fertilizing to produce flowers and fruit. 


Start an herb garden: Plant chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, and my all time favorite herb - Winter Savory. Arugula, chervil, cilantro, and dill can also be grown successfully from seed.   


 Acidify hydrangeas: To keep your blue-flowered hydrangea blue, acidify the soil now and every few weeks until bloom time. If you don't do this the hydrangeas will revert to pink. Apply aluminum sulfate, which is often packaged expressly for hydrangeas, following label directions. At Deep Roots we have Growmore's Hydrangea  Blueing formula in stock now.


Feed plants: Almost all plants appreciate added nutrients at this time of year.  They are just about to begin a growth surge and, like a runner before a marathon, they can use the extra food. Feed fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs (except camellias ― wait until after bloom), lawns, container plants, houseplants, perennials, ground-covers, and annuals that have been in the ground for six weeks or more. If rain is forecast get out into the garden and fertilize everything with a slow release granular fertilizer and let the rain soak it in. 


What To Plant:  Plant warm-season annual flowers and vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, petunias ) and citrus and other sub-tropicals. Once the soil has warmed to 60 degrees F, sow seeds for corn, cucumbers, green beans, squashes, and other heat-lovers. 60 degrees F means the soil is warm enough for you to walk on it comfortably barefoot.


Continue to mow your lawn: Mow fast growing lawns regularly and at the right height. It's the best thing you can do to control weeds and keep grass thick and healthy. Now, during cool weather, mow cool-season lawns such as bluegrass, rye-grasses, or fescues at 2 inches or so. During periods of hot weather set the mower at 3 inches. Mow warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia at 2 inches throughout the growing season.


Containers: Plant colorful flowers in containers to brighten up your entryway or the view from your family room. Mix in some slow release fertilizer such as any of the organic formulations by Dr. Earth with the soil before you plant. Good plants for long term bloom include nemesia, calibrachoa (Million Bells), Osteospermum (African Daisies), and geraniums.  Fertilize these regularly, too, with a half-strength fertilizer.  


Harvest Regularly : Keep picking your cool-season crops, such as peas, lettuces, and spinach. It will encourage more production. Continue to plant successions of these fast-growers for production over the next several weeks.  


Mulch: Replenish mulch where it has disappeared and add a layer to new areas so that it's 2-3 inches deep. Mulching well helps to prevent weeds from taking root and helps to conserve water in the soil so you don't have to water quite as often. Be careful to avoid mounding the mulch against the stems or trunks of your plants.  


Fuchsia:  Cut back fuchsias that have become leggy as they bloom on new wood.  


Camelias: Prune camellias and subtropical hibiscus after they're done blooming. Feed camellias after blooming with an acid loving fertilizer to keep their leaves dark green


Houseplants: Move houseplants outdoors or out from protected spots once the weather warms up a little. Wash them off with a gentle shower of water. Keep them outside for the summer in a shady spot.  Too much sun will scald the leaves. 


Grow Baskets Full of Berries


Now is the time to plant strawberries. Plant them in the ground or in containers - the more you plant the more strawberries you will have! Strawberries are so well-suited to container gardening that there are pots specifically designed for growing these vining wonders, however I have seen strawberries successfully grown in all sorts of containers including wooden crates, plastic laundry baskets, and buckets with a hole drilled in the bottom.


  As vining plants, strawberries are also happy in hanging planter baskets.  The key is to keep them evenly moist throughout their productive months. Hanging pots, because


 they’re not protected from the elements, tend to dry out more quickly than planters on the ground.  The advantages to hanging pots are that they don’t take up space on the ground, and they’re also more resistant to pests such as aphids and spider mites.

   Determine a spot for your container that will get at least 6 full hours of sun each day.  Also, strawberries require a rich potting soil and regular moisture. Use a good controlled release fertilizer once a month, and then a little more often during flowering and throughout the fruit-bearing season.  Strawberries will produce profuse blooms if you use a high phosphorous fertilizer.

Some things to know about Strawberries

There are three main kinds of strawberries: June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral. June-bearing produce one large crop in early summer, ever-bearing strawberries produce three crops (one in spring, one in summer, and one in fall), while day-neutral strawberries produce fruit throughout the growing season, with the biggest crops in mid to late summer.  So the type of plant you choose will depend on what you plan to do with the fruit—whether you want an extended season for fresh-picked berries to eat right from the vine, or if you plan to can, freeze, or make jams and jelly.   June bearing strawberries are usually better suited to warmer areas, while ever-bearing and day-neutral strawberries do well in cooler climates and along our coast.   Alpine strawberries are the only sort that are worth trying to grow from seed. They’re day-neutral and produce tiny (slightly larger than a pencil eraser), sweet, delicious strawberries. 

These are the strawberry plants we currently have in stock:

Sequoia - One of the best tasting berries ever. Sequoias are medium in size and produces lots of huge, sweet fruit over a long period of time. This variety grows well in California. To avoid flowering and fruiting stress on young plants, flower buds should be removed in the first year. Removal of flowers will allow the plants to direct their energy toward establishing a root system and developing a healthy, large leaf canopy to fuel next year’s crop. 

Chandler: The Chandler Strawberry plant is a high yield variety that produces medium to large, beautifully wedge-shaped juicy fruit with exceptional flavor for a three-week period in spring and early summer. The Chandler Strawberry is a favorite for making jams and jellies or freezing due to its high yield.  The Chandler Strawberry plant is excellent for coastal areas.  

Ozark Beauty: Ozark Beauty strawberries can be considered the best of the ever-bearers. They yield abundant crops from spring to late fall.  Ozarks yield tastier, deep red, firm berries just right in sweetness. So productive that a single mature plant is capable of  producing more than 200 blossom, buds, and berries.  We suggest holding runners to 2 or 3; fewer runners mean larger berries and total yield will be bigger, too. 


Berrie Basket: (photo left)

Berri Basket Ever-bearing Strawberries produce large red berries on compact, bushy plants. The compact habit makes this variety great for hanging baskets so you can have fresh strawberries on your porch or patio. Be sure that your basket or planter gets 6 hours or more of direct sunlight. The white flowers stand out on the shiny green foliage making these plants attractive as well as a good source for fruit. Try Berri Basket in hanging baskets and let it trail down. In a couple months, you can expect to begin harvesting deep red berries continuing until frost. Berries ripen about 30 days after first bloom. For the best-tasting berry, pick them a day or two after the whole berry turns red. Remove all ripe berries because overripe, rotting fruit will encourage diseases and insects. 


In our climate strawberry plants are short lived perennials, which will usually produce reliable crops for about three to four years before needing to be replaced.

Talking of Fruit...

Citrus are not the only fruit that can be successfully grown in containers. Blueberries do extremely well in pots because they prefer an acidic soil which can be more easily monitored in containers. Currently in stock we have 'Sharp Blue', 'Jubilee' and 'O'Neil' varieties.


Fruit that prefer to be in the ground: blackberries, raspberries and grapes, all of which we have in stock, and full-sized fruit trees. Currently we have full sized avocados, peaches and figs.


Deep Roots

Garden Center &

Floral Design Studio



9AM - 6PM daily

201-207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach,

CA 90266


Garden Center: 310-376-0567

Flower Shop: 310-379-3634

St Patrick's Day


On March 17 we are all Irish so they tell

me... If you are not up to wearing green all day decorate your home or garden with a beautiful purple  or green Oxalis (often also know as shamrock). This pretty plant is non-invasive and grows well in part sun with a long bloom time. Oxalis also comes in  brown and yellow. 


Spring Forward...!

Daylight Saving Time begins:

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 2:00am,

and ends:

Sunday, November 4, 2012, 2:00am.(Except Arizona and Hawaii).


Move your clocks ahead 1 hour in spring and back 1 hour in fall ("Spring forward, fall back"). 


Happy (long) days are here again!

Deep Roots

Floral Design Studio


Our award winning Floral Design Studio is situated at the southern end of our parking lot on the corner of 2nd Street and Sepulveda.


Look no further for all your Prom boutonnieres and corsages; Easter, Mother's Day or Grad bouquets and arrangements! We also provide custom arrangements for weddings, parties and  events.


Our unique, one of a kind floral arrangements are created to your specifications by our talented team of designers.


To see examples of our designs go to our website  and click on the link to the floral design galleries.


Each photo links to an individually themed galley of arrangements. New  photos are being added just about every day.


You can also order flowers online through our Teleflora website  

Grow Citrus in Containers

Like all trees you plan to grow in containers, you should always select either a natural dwarf or a semi-dwarf tree. A full sized tree will not be happy growing in a container. Choosing the right pot:

Citrus trees need a pot that is at least 18 inches tall and wide, preferably bigger. I have grown a dwarf Meyer Lemon in a pot that was not 18 inches wide, but it was stunted and fruit production was not as good. This is because citrus trees have roots that spread out close to the surface. In a citrus grove you’ll often find tree roots growing in the leaf litter below the tree. Select a pot with thick walls, clay pots are ideal. Citrus do not like the super-heated soil found in metal pots.

    You’ll need to gently root-prune and re-pot every 5 years or so.

Watering your Citrus Tree

You should water your tree often enough so that the soil only briefly dries out between watering. If the soil is already wet, as always, do not add any more water.

Harvesting Your Fruit

You must allow the fruit to ripen on the tree. To tell if the fruit is ripe, pick one and taste it. You can’t tell if the fruit is ripe by rind color, as most varieties color quite some time before they are ripe.

How to Prune your Citrus Tree

Simply put, you don’t need to prune your tree at all. Pruning will not improve your harvest. Lower branches produce the most fruit, so definitely don’t cut those off. Prune lightly for aesthetic reasons and to remove any dead or diseased branches.

The What and When of Fertilizing

I have grown citrus trees in pots for several years now and my advice is "Fertilize! Fertilize, Fertilize!" Citrus trees in pots seem to need lots of fertilizer. Nitrogen is your citrus tree’s best friend. Fertilize monthly from February to November with a high-nitrogen fertilizer according to package instructions. If the leaves are deep green with burned tips, you’re fertilizing too much. Citrus are also very sensitive to soil that is too alkaline, a problem for those of us in the South Bay. If you see light green leaves with dark green veins, you most likely need to re-acidify your potting soil with some soil acidifier (sometimes marketed as a hydrangea blueing agent).

One Tree or Two?

Because fruit is the result of pollination between plants, many kinds of fruit trees produce the best harvest when they have a similar type of tree nearby to cross-pollinate with. Most citrus varieties, however, are self-fertile. Which means they don’t need a partner to produce offspring. This is good news for small-space gardeners because it means you don’t need to waste space with a second tree.

   Here are some of the varieties of dwarf or semi-dwarf citrus trees we currently have in stock:

Kumquat 'Nagami Kumquats produce  fruit that look like tiny, oblong oranges. They are usually tart, and the fruit is eaten skin and all.   

Lemons Lemons are a great choice in areas with summers that aren't hot enough for other types of citrus. They especially enjoy coastal areas, and will produce fruit year round near the beach. 'Meyer Lemon' is the best variety for container gardeners. The fruit is sweeter with thinner skins than regular lemons thanks to the fact that is actually a lemon-orange hybrid. Other dwarf lemon varieties currently in stock are 'Eureka' and 'Pink Lemonade'. 

Limes Limes are a perfect citrus to grow in containers as we only need a few for our Mojitos (along with Mojito Mint that we have in our herb section). Varieties that we have in stock are: 'Bearss' seedless',  'Mexican Lime' (a.k.a Key Lime) with small, very tasty fruit that is more yellow than green when ripe, and 'Sweet Lime' with fruit that is, well, sweet!

Mandarins: Some varieties of Citrus reticulata are called tangerines, while others are called mandarins. If you choose a variety that produces seeds, get only one citrus tree. When there are two trees they will produce more seeds.

'Gold Nugget' produces fruit that is seedless, very sweet, and easy to peel. Also in stock - 'Darcy Mandarin' and 'Satsuma Mandarin'.  

Oranges These need more heat to produce fruit so make sure you put the tree in a spot that gets all day sun. We have ‘Washington Naval' and 'Lane Lake Navel' as well as 'Valencia' and 'Moro Blood Orange' semi-dwarf orange trees.

Other citrus in stock: 'Rio Red' Grapefruit, 'Star Ruby Red' grapefruit, and Minnesota Tangelo

Grow citrus indoors


If you live in an apartment or do not have a back yard, citrus trees can be grown successfully indoors as long as you have a very bright room to place it in. Key elements for success are good light, adequate humidity indoors in the winter, well-drained potting soil, additional nutrients, and consistent watering. Take any one of those away and problems can develop. Supply them as indicated below, and you'll be on your way to a beautiful tree!       

  First, opt for a dwarf type; the plant stays small, but the fruit is normal size. Place your plant in a clay pot for best air circulation and drainage. For most citrus, you'll need a 15-gallon container or larger. Light:

Citrus require 8-12 hours of sunlight each day to be healthy and productive. A south or southwest facing window with unobstructed light is generally ideal.  Citrus trees do not go dormant in winter and will tolerate only slightly lower light conditions during this period of slower growth.  

   If your growing space receives at least 5-6 hours of full direct sun per day, supplementing with full spectrum bulbs or fluorescent plant lights can help trees perform well.  IF, however, the space provides less than 5 hours per day of direct, full sun, more sophisticated grow light systems may be necessary.


   Citrus grow best between 55°F and 85°F.  They can usually tolerate temperatures down to 32 degrees for 2-3 hours or temperatures over 100 degrees as long as they are well watered.   


   We have found that a light, well-drained commercial potting soil  works well. Using dirt (native soil from your yard) in a container is not advisable. We also advise against putting gravel or any other material on the bottom of the pot, as this negatively impacts drainage over time.

Use cactus mix or a well draining potting soil, amended with an organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth's Fruit Tree fertilizer. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and need regular fertilizing, especially when grown in a container.


Water as needed to keep soil moist, not soggy. Generally 1/4 - 1/2 gallon of water every 5-7 days indoors is adequate. Be sure the bottom of the pot is elevated above standing drainage water. A moisture gauge can be an excellent tool to help determine when roots are in need of a drink.  If you don't have one of these use your finger. If the top 3" of soil feels moist or cold then you do not need to water.


In winter months, heated rooms may need additional humidity. Placing the pot on pebbles in a saucer will elevate the tree above the drainage area, and improve air flow and humidity for citrus.  Misting citrus foliage with a simple spray bottle is another way to help citrus cope with insufficient indoor humidity in winter. 

Best Varieties for growing indoors:

For growing indoors, "acid" citrus (lemons, limes and kumquats,) is better than "sweet" citrus (sweet limes, oranges and grapefruits) because it fruits and blooms much more frequently. Here are some types to look for:

Lemons: 'Improved Meyer' and 'Pink Lemonade.' Meyer lemons are slightly sweeter than regular lemons and take on an orange hue when ripe. 'Pink Lemonade.' lemons have variegated foliage and pinkish fruit. 

Limes: 'Bearss' seedless' is the best for growing indoors.   

Kumquats: 'Nagami'. 


When you provide these essential elements of success for indoor growing, you'll enjoy a fragrant, ornamental houseplant unlike any other! In order for the blossoms to become fruit however you will need bees...For this, carry the tree outside on a balcony or in the back yard while it is in flower.

CSA Boxes

We are a drop-off point for CSA organic vegetable and fruit boxes supplied by the South Central Farmers' Cooperative. The boxes are delivered every Wednesday. Call us by Monday afternoon to order your box. For more information contact Barbara at or call 310-376-0567

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