Deep Roots Garden Center            Newsletter                 October 2012

Plant now!

Don't wait for Spring!!!


Come and make a scarecrow!


Saturday October 20, 10am - 4pm


Bring the old clothes, hat and gloves, and a pillowcase to make the head.... or use a pumpkin!

 We supply everything else... 



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 Halloween. 


 If you planted grasses last year you are now enjoying their true beauty as the low autumn sun shines through them, and their feathery seed heads sway in the breeze.


  Our 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 may 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. 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 take over. 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. To reduce transplant shock apply some Vitamin B1 liquid fertilizer.



October is an ideal month to plant new perennials, although generally you will not be able to enjoy their color until next year. Gardening is all about the future though right? 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 established 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. 


Cyclamen. Great fall and winter bloomers, these are long blooming plants for inside and outside.

Their natural habitat is under the shade of deciduous trees so they thrive in dry, 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.  


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 • 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 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.


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 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 old or dead 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.




Succulents are "fall" too..

 Don't forget about succulents for fall color...            





Have you seen this bug?


This insect has the potential to become a very serious pest

Scientific name: Bagrada cruciferarum, Bagrada hilaris

Common names: Bagrada bug, harlequin bug, painted bug, stinkbug

Host plants: Cabbage/Kale, Brassicas Rape, Chinese cabbage, Turnips, Crucifers. Also likes alyssum...

The Bagrada bug is a stinkbug native to Africa, India and Pakistan.


Initial symptoms of damage by Bagrada beetles . Note small white punctures on the edges of leaves.


   The Bagrada beetle is a global pest, particularly in southern Europe, southeast Asia and northern Africa, where it may have originated. It was first found in North America in June 2008 in Los Angeles County and is an extremely MAJOR pest when it comes to vegetables in the brassica family such as, kale, radishes, cabbage and turnips. The pest quickly spread into neighboring Orange County and last fall the Bagrada bug was found simultaneously in California’s Coachella and Imperial valleys, and Yuma County in Arizona. Bagrada bugs were everywhere in the low desert; resulting in crop losses in some fields during the last crop season of about 45 percent to 50 percent in organically-grown cole crops and about 20 percent to 25 percent in conventionally-grown cole crops. The bugs have turned up on beaches in north San Diego County, where they were thought to be attacking nearby succulents. It can migrate to other plants and flowers and seems to be particularly fond of alyssum. This year it has made an its appearance in Manhattan Beach and we regularly get customers coming in with a zip-loc bag full of them.

   Young beetles (or nymphs) pass through five stages changing color from bright orange through gray-brown to red with dark markings, gradually acquiring the coloration of the adult. Initially they do not have wings; wings are gradually developed as the nymphs grow. The adult bug is typically shield-shaped, 5 to 7 mm long and 3 to 4 mm broad at its widest area. The upper surface has a mixture of black, white and orange markings, which gives the insect its common names harlequin bug or painted bug. The Bagrada bug has a strikingly similar appearance to the Harlequin bug.

Leaf damage from the Bagrada bug can be mistaken for herbicide damage.


     The beetles, especially in the early stages of development, gather in masses all over the plant and suck the sap out of tender leaves. Initially feeding by the bugs causes small puncture marks visible as white patches starting on the edges of leaves. Eventually the leaves wilt and dry. Heavily attacked plants may have a scorched and stippled appearance.

     Often the worst damage from the Bagrada bug is to the newest fast growing leaf, especially on transplants. The pest can stunt growth or kill plants. The host range includes all cruciferous crops: canola, broccoli, broccoflower, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, arugula, mustards, rutabaga and radish. The bug will also go after warm-weather crops such as papaya, potato, corn and beans, but is more lethargic in heat. It spends its time in the soil, laying eggs or hiding; heavy rains drive it out of air pockets and onto the plant du jour. Online accounts list agronomic hosts including potato, maize, sorghum, cotton, wheat, pearl millet, capers, and possibly legumes.

   They are often found inside soil cracks. The bug tends to move in and out of the soil particularly in September and October seeking moisture and shade.


   The Bagrada beetle lays its eggs in clusters on leaves or on the soil underneath host plants. Eggs are barrel shaped, initially white and turn orange with age. A single female can lay as many as 100 eggs within 2 to 3 weeks. The incubation period is 5 to 8 days. The life cycle lasts 3 to 4 weeks and several generations may occur in a year.


     Unfortunately, Bagrada bugs are quite hardy and resistant to most organic methods of control. According to the UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research, the heaviest Bagrada infestations are in "organic farms, community gardens and residential vegetable gardens where little or no pesticides are used." Adult bugs simply flee one garden for another, only to return when the residue of pesticide is gone.

    They don't taste good so birds don't touch them. If they eat one, they disgorge it immediately. Unlike the harlequin bug, which it strongly resembles, the Bagrada bug lays most of its eggs in the soil, so natural predators such as wasps aren't effective controls. Handpicking and destruction of the bugs helps to reduce damage. This is particularly important in the early stages of the crop. Hand   picking is only practical in small plots. However picking the bugs off plants by hand is not always feasible because the infestations are so thick and sudden, with multiple generations occupying one plant at a time. We recommend "Eight Insect Control", (in stock at Deep Roots) which is the listed pesticide for treating Bagrada beetles. It is safe to use on vegetables and can be applied up to 3 days prior to harvest. 

    Preventive methods include covering the entire growing area with a fine mesh, burying the mesh at the edges. The mesh has to be fine enough that the nymphs can't get through. This will also prevent other pests such as the cabbage white butterfly from laying their eggs on your brassicas.  

     Regular monitoring of the crop is important to detect Bagrada bugs before they cause damage to the crop. Crop hygiene, in particular removal of old crops and destruction of weeds of the family Cruciferae prevents population build-up.  

   Eggs laid in the soil are readily killed by cultivation, so frequent light cultivation (once or twice a week) of the vegetable beds will help in controlling this pest.

    Watering and overhead irrigation disturb the bugs discouraging them from feeding on the crop. However, note that use of sprinkler irrigation may lead to increase of diseases such as black rot and downy mildew.

     Has your garden been invaded yet? As you inspect your garden following winter rains, look for a small, shield-shaped beetle, about one-fifth of an inch long, grayish-brown or black with white and orange markings. This is the Bagrada bug...

Deep Roots

Garden Center &

Floral Design Studio 


9AM - 6PM daily


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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.


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.


The boxes come in two sizes, large and medium and cost $21 and $17 respectively.


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.


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.


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 six 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 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 had 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 one more red one and a salmon pink one from Deep Roots and have planted these in a couple of difficult areas in my garden. I will let you know how they do..

Fall Containers

  Your garden may be shutting down for the winter but you can satisfy your desire to garden by planting seasonal color in containers and decorating your front porch for fall. There are many plants that, planted now will last until after Thanksgiving, at which time you can replace them with Holiday plants such as Poinsettias or Cyclamens and ivy.


Here are some delightful combinations:









Holidays 2012

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 Heather -  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, mentioning that you want to order a large Christmas tree.



Happy Halloween!



We have pumpkins of all sizes ready for the carving...




Eat, drink and be scary....


Orange and Black recipes for Halloween


Jack O’Lantern Stuffed Peppers


1/2 cup dry black quinoa

1 cup orange carrot juice, vegetable stock or chicken stock


1 carrot chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Fresh thyme

1 cup black beans, cooked

2 orange bell peppers

Sea salt and pepper to taste


Before cooking quinoa, it must be rinsed thoroughly to remove its bitter-tasing coating (saponins). Cooked quinoa is fluffy and soft, with a little bit of crunch to it.

Combine rinsed quinoa with juice or stock. Cook it per package directions until the little curly-q kernels are showing.

    Meanwhile,sauté the carrot, onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Carve your peppers. Combine quinoa with black beans, onions, garlic, thyme, salt to taste, fill peppers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

A few hints with the orange peppers:

Make sure they are even enough on the bottom to sit straight. Look for ones with a large surface for carving.


Other black and orange food ideas: 

- Carrot salad with black beans, and raisins.

- Black lentil salad with orange cherry tomatoes and orange bell pepper and chopped carrots,


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 sweet 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. Re-heat and

serve with a spoonful of sour cream or a grating of cheese and some delicious artisanal bread. The soup should taste slightly sweet. If it doesn't add a little sugar.


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 the 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. 

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