Spring 2017 home & garden

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home & garden Spring 2017

Gardening • Pottery • Real Estate • DIY Projects Smart Homes Home Décor • Furniture • Interior Design Fine Art • Patio Furniture • Vermi-Culture • Water Smart Plants Entertainment • Landscaping • Nurseries • Flooring

A special supplement to The Coast News Group

March 2017

Coast News Group The Coast News • The Rancho Santa Fe News • Inland Edition


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MARCH 24, 2017





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North County photojournalist turns succulents into superstars


By Jamie Higgins

ebra Lee Baldwin, a North County photojournalist, bestselling author and San Diego Horticultural Society’s 2017 Horticulturist of the Year, has spent the last 10 years whipping the world into a succulent frenzy. When Baldwin’s seminal book, “Designing with Succulents,” came out in 2007, few people knew much about the dry-climate plants capable of storing moisture in their tissues. Now some enthusiasts go so far as to refer to themselves as “Succulent Fanatics” (there’s a Facebook group with 15,000 members). Once considered mere low-care curiosities, succulents seem to be, well, everywhere. “An online search for ‘succulents’ in 2006 yielded a mere 100,000 hits,” Baldwin says. “Many varieties we now take for granted, such as echeverias, were nearly unknown at the time.” She adds that the gardening public thought of succulents as cactus or jade and dismissed the entire category as “too spiny or common.” (Incidentally, an online search for “succulents” now yields 43 million hits). Baldwin’s passion for plump plants is evident in all she does, including speaking engagements, workshops, videos — even a calendar of her water-

colors — and especially in her books. Following the success of “Designing with Succulents” came two more Timber Press bestsellers, “Succulent Container Gardens” and “Succulents Simplified;” and in 2016, came her adult coloring book, “Sensational Succulents.” Baldwin is a North County native who refers to her own extensively landscaped hillside property as “an inhospitable half-acre.” She grew up on an avocado ranch overlooking the San Pasqual Valley and as a child, helped her father garden. “He grew common succulents, such as Crassula ovata (jade), Aloe arborescens, Drosanthemum floribundum (rosea iceplant) and Aeonium haworthii, because they don’t require much water or work,” she recalls. “I sometimes wonder what he’d think of the exotic varieties now available.” San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing succulents, Baldwin adds, and North County is home to numerous succulent nurseries, each with its own distinct character. (She offers a list of “San Diego Succulent Sources and Destinations” on her website). “Most people who are into gardening are aware of the many commercial nurseries in our area, but few realize how vast the wholesale growers are,”

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she said. “Vista, for example, is home to Altman Plants, the largest grower of cacti and succulents in the country.” Look for their label on succulents sold at major garden centers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. It was while scouting and writing for Sunset magazine that Baldwin began to recognize and promote succulents as low-water alternatives for lawns and landscapes. “The plants are simple to cultivate, propagate, acquire and maintain, and because they come in an incredible variety of sizes, shapes and colors, they also have significant aesthetic appeal,” she said. “Floral and garden designers, as well as succulent aficionados, are using echeverias and other rosette varieties to create eye-catching in-ground vignettes, container arrangements and long-lasting bouquets.” Based on the emails she receives, Baldwin says that there are still some misconceptions about succulents. “People seem to think that it’s OK to hang onto a diseased plant and hope it gets better,” she said. “What they don’t realize is that they risk spreading pests like mealy bugs to the rest of their collection. Also, people assume that since succulents are famously low-water (God forbid you overwater one!) that it’s OK not to water them at all. Hey, these

Debra Lee Baldwin, shown with aloes in bloom and barrel cactus at Desert Theater Nursery in Escondido. Photo by Kyle Short

are living things and they need water.” Another misconception is that succulents are desert plants and should be given full, all-day sun. “Only those succulents native to the Southwest, such as cacti, yuccas and agaves, can tolerate hot afternoon sun in summer east of (Interstate) 15,” Baldwin said. Other succulents — which she

calls “the pretty little ones,” (mainly from South Africa and Madagascar), do best with half-day sun or dappled shade. For people who want to switch to a drought-tolerant landscape, Baldwin suggests working with a designer well versed in succulents. If you’re doing it on

your own, you might want to wait until the tenth anniversary, celebratory second edition of “Designing with Succulents” comes out this fall. “So much has happened in the world of succulent design during the past decade, the second edition is basically a TURN TO BALDWIN ON B19

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CleanTech Energy If you’re looking for succulents, look no further Solutions Inc. stands out for its service “You’re going to have an electricity bill for the rest of your life,” Karin Poelstra said. “Unless you do something about it.” As vice president at CleanTech Energy Solutions Inc., and with more than 10 years in the solar industry, Poelstra knows plenty of things that you can do about it. “If you have an electric bill that is more than $150 a month, solar just makes sense,” Poelstra said. CleanTech Energy Solutions Inc. will provide a free consultation to help homeowners and business owners determine the best solution. “Our primary step is to consult with clients and educate them,” she said. “We don’t have a high-pressure sales tactic. We want to find a system that works for your vision, whether it is to save money, add value to your property or just to 'go green.’” CleanTech Energy Solutions Inc. is a full service solar company that offers solar electric systems, water heating systems and pool heating systems. “We are a small business, and we offer our customers complete service from installation to service and maintenance,” Poelstra said. “Every job is import-

ant to us, and one of the principals of the company will be involved in every stage of the process, from the sale through the service afterward.” CleanTech Energy Solutions Inc. customers appreciate not just the services, but the way they are delivered. “I just have to say that from start to finish my experience with this company was awesome,” Veronica H. of La Mesa said. “(They) came to our home and didn’t just give us a proposal, they educated us on how solar works. They were accessible via phone and email. Every representative from this company from their laborers, electricians to their management were extremely professional.” CleanTech Energy Solutions is offering a spring special to The Coast News Home & Garden readers. Mention this article and receive $1,000 cash back on your solar electric installation and $500 cash back on your thermal and pool solar installation. To find out more about CleanTech Energy Solutions Inc. and financing options, or to schedule a free consultation, visitgo-cleantech.com or call (888) 765-2766.

Family-owned Gardens by the Sea in Leucadia is one of those nurseries that prides itself on having as much knowledge about plants as it does giving inspiration in landscape designs. Garden expert Mike Hirsch talks about how Gardens by the Sea can help add to any of your landscaping needs. Your nursery is like a hidden treasure in Leucadia. How long have you been in the community? Amazingly enough I have owned nurseries in this community for more than 30 years, including 10 years at our current location! Look for the painted murals on the front or back of Royal Liquor. You can easily miss it but it’s worth turning around for! My daughter Danica and I are proud to be one of the family run businesses here in Leucadia and if you frequent the nursery, you will know that many of our employees have been here as long as we have! What different types of plants and supplies do you sell? We specialize in a wide selection of waterwise plants including succulents, aloes, air plants, cacti, agave, bromeliads and grevilleas, as well as many other rare plants. In addition, we carry edible plants such as herbs and seasonal vegetables…..plus a variety of soils,

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Gardens by the Sea specializes in waterwise plants and a wide variety of pottery imported from all over the world. Photo by Leslie Talley

stone, boulders, garden art, and statuary. Join us on Facebook or gardensbythesea.com to get a glimpse of what we carry. What if I don’t have a green thumb, but I still want something beautiful on my patio? We make our own creations using lava rock, driftwood, terracotta, vintage crates, glazed pottery and pretty much anything we

can get our hands on that has a spot we can fit a plant. We have many types of pottery imported from all over the world. We can help you create your own special arrangement. We can help you with beautiful yardscapes that require little or no maintenance too! Your nursery is so lush and beautiful, can you help give me ideas about what to plant

in my yard? Yes, we encourage you to bring photos of your smaller projects to help with plant or material choices and for the larger projects, we offer top notch landscaping consultations. We will come to your house and draw up a custom plan based on what you desire. From there we will schedule a date and proceed to turn your yard into a work of art that you will love. We can help with everything, including irrigation, lighting, water features, patios, dry riverbeds, rock gardens, and creating a plan to fit your needs and budget. We have established landscape examples inside our nursery to generate ideas for your own paradise! Come in and experience Gardens by the Sea and you will be back and bring your family and friends! Each one of our team has an expertise and will impart their knowledge on you, whether it is what plants attract hummingbirds, to what kind of soil to plant with your newly purchased cactus. Come in now while we are flush with herbs and veggies specially priced at five for $10 while they last now through April 2. Gardens by the Sea is located at 1500 N. Coast Highway 101. Call (760) 840-0270 or (760) 860-0262 for more details.

MARCH 24, 2017

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Smart homes that can fit any budget


By Laurie Sutton

f you stop to think about it, we are actually living in the era of “The Jetsons.” What years ago seemed possible only in the distant and fictional future is actually happening now. Smart technology is enabling us to control our homes with a touch of the finger, and it’s becoming increasingly affordable and accessible for a variety of budgets. Whether you want to automate your entire home or start small, your smart phone is the key to your smart home. Glenn Shultz, owner of Shultz AV in Solana Beach, serves North County residents and beyond, and helps his customers automate their homes on both a small and a large scale. “What we are doing for our clients is automating their lights, and their cameras for their surveillance systems, the front door locks, their heating and air systems, their thermostats,” Shultz said. “People are wanting to be able to monitor their home while they aren’t there, remotely, through a smart device. When they return home, they want it all on one platform. One button, and the lights come on and the music comes on. And one button to turn the whole house off at

night.” On a smaller scale, Shultz said there are solutions for problems such as people perpetually pulling out of their driveways leaving the garage door open. “People can control their garage doors remotely,” he said. “If it’s left Smart technology is enabling us to control our homes with a touch open for a period of the finger, and it’s becoming increasingly affordable and accesof time, it will close sible for a variety of budgets. Courtesy rendering automatically if the sensor doesn’t go off.” simple home automation devices smoke and heat detection, waKen Kerr, president and CEO of Home Controls, provide,” Kerr said. “Some of ter and flood monitoring, carsays that home automation is in- the most popular recent home bon monoxide monitoring and deed for everyone. “Home auto- automation devices are smart re- unlocking and locking doors. mation is no longer just for the mote controlled door locks, wire- Customers are able to access via rich and famous as many people less video doorbell/intercoms, touchscreen pad, web portal or still believe,” he said. “Technol- and easy control of lighting, se- mobile app and receive text and ogy has advanced to the point curity and other devices by an email alerts. Enhanced packthat it is completely available automation controller hub, all ages include live and recorded to middle class homeowners through your smart phone. And, video, 24-hour continuous video and the ability to control appliand easily installable by handy they are all affordable.” Cox Cable has recently got- ances and thermostat. people.” Home Controls, in San Diego, is a stocking distributor ten in on the action with the that provides products, advice launch of Cox Homelife, a per- Buyers Beware ith an influx of prodand technical support in the sonalized home security and auucts on the market, home automation, security and tomation system for its customers. Packages begin at $29.99 consumers should be cautious home systems industry. “Home automation is about and include around-the-clock and do their homework before the comfort, convenience, se- professional monitoring, battery buying. For example, doorbell camcurity and energy savings that and cellular network backup,

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eras have gained popularity in recent years, but Shultz advises consumers that Wi-Fi cameras have some issues. “The Wi-Fi front doorbell camera devices have a hard time with interoperability or communicating remotely,” he said. “A solution is to hardwire all your devices and to have the least amount of devices on the Wi-Fi as possible.” Kerr says that quality is key when purchasing home automation devices. “As in any industry, in home automation there are good, well-made products that are reliable and easy to use, and there are poorly made prodTURN TO SMART HOMES ON B19


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MARCH 24, 2017

FINAL CHANCE TO LIVE AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD. Move-In Ready Luxury Homes in Rancho Santa Fe Now Available The clock is ticking and only a limited number of homes remain at one of the most highly regarded and celebrated communities ever built in Rancho Santa Fe, Upper Cielo by California West. Showcasing breathtaking views of from Lake Hodges to the Pacific Ocean, these final homes atop the gated community of CIELO include movein ready residences and substantial close-out incentives.

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Summerset Estates set to open mid-April D.R. Horton, America’s largest new homebuilder by volume, has just announced the mid-April Grand Opening of Summerset Estates, a brand-new and very limited collection of only 22 single-family homes nestled amidst the picturesque coastal hills of Oceanside. As a D.R. Horton Emerald Homes community, the highly livable homes of Summerset Estates combine luxury and function with impeccable craftsmanship, elegant features and upgraded options designed to enrich every lifestyle. Summerset Estates offers beautifully crafted single-family homes ranging in size from approximately 2,458 to 3,307 square feet and including up to four bedrooms, up to four baths, and attached two to three-car garages. Some homes will feature a den, loft, junior suite, as well as an optional California Room and deck. Attuned to gracious living, the

homes are located on a hillside high above the valley below, with the majority of the homes enjoying expansive panoramic views.* A limited number of the residences enjoy distant vistas of the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.* With a desirable location just 2.5 miles from the coast, Summerset Estates puts residents in close proximity to Oceanside’s beautiful beaches, nostalgic Oceanside Pier, as well as many diversions in shopping, dining, entertainment and ocean recreation. The youngest residents of Summerset Estates will attend award-winning Oceanside Unified School District. The community offers great access to employment centers in both North San Diego and South Orange counties. In addition, the nearby Oceanside Train Station provides direct access to many cities in Southern California and within the County via the San Diego Coaster.

For more information on Summerset Estates, interested homebuyers are encouraged to visit drhorton. com/socal. Delivering more than 500,000 homes since 1978, D.R. Horton Inc. has been ranked by Builder Magazine as the No. 1 Builder in America by volume since 2002. Founded in 1978, the company builds in 27 states, providing quality homes ranging from $90,000 to over $1.2 million. Known as America’s Builder, D.R. Horton offers a diverse selection of home types, styles and locations, and prides itself on superior craftsmanship, value and customer service. *Seller makes no representations or warranties that the view from the property will remain the same. Future development, growth of landscaping and the like may impact any views currently experienced from the property.

Van Daele’s Claiborne at Summerly in Lake Elsinore offers spring move-in homes For home shoppers searching for a spectacular new home ready for a spring move-in, Van Daele Homes has just the answer at their beautiful community of Claiborne at Summerly in Lake Elsinore. Van Daele’s complete offering of homes at Claiborne at Summerly include four impressive single and two-story floor plans ranging from 2,338 to 3,794 square feet, four to six bedrooms and three and one-half to six and one-half baths. The Residence 1 and 1X both boast first floor Master Bedroom Suites, and all floor plans at Claiborne have an included first floor bedroom and bath with an available Guest Suite that includes a separate living room, bedroom and a kitchenette. Extraordinary living spaces include a generous Great Room, Formal Dining Room (per plan), Bonus Room and Home Office (per plan). There are also unique spaces such as Residence 2’s Imagination Room and My Place, which provide families flexible living space to make it their own. Each home also has a three-car garage in standard or tandem arrangements. One of the most impressive and popular included on all homes at Claiborne is Van Daele’s signature California Room which creates a generous covered outdoor space off the Great Room providing seamlessly indoor/outdoor living. Van Daele Homes is known for their outstanding included amenities highlighted by granite kitchen countertops, Whirlpool stainless steel appliance package, maple cabinetry, quartz bathroom countertops, Moen plumbing fixtures, 9-foot ceilings throughout, and Van Daele’s Efficient by Design features. Prices at Claiborne at Summerly begin from the high $300,000s. For residents and vis-

Van Daele’s complete offering of homes at Claiborne at Summerly include four impressive single and two-story floor plans ranging from 2,338 to 3,794 square feet, four to six bedrooms and three and one-half to six and one-half baths. Courtesy rendering

itors alike, the Summerly masterplanned community provides resort-like amenities for all to enjoy. The community offers the Summerly Splash pool and spa center, neighborhood parks, a planned 24-acre community park with a dog park, baseball and soccer fields, and basketball and tennis courts. The community is located adjacent to minor league baseball’s Storm Stadium, Lake Elsinore with an abundance of water sport activities, the Lake Elsinore Outlets, and easy freeway access. For more information on the Summerly masterplanned community, visit Summerlyhomes.com. To visit Claiborne at Summerly, take Interstate 15 and exit Diamond Drive/Railroad Canyon Road and head west. Continue on Diamond Drive and turn left on Summerly Place. Turn left on Meadow and continue to the sales office and models that are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for Sundays and Wednesdays when they open at noon. For further information, call (951) 376-1570 or visit vandaele.com.

With two locations in San Diego County, The Futon Shop makes getting a clean, health night’s sleep that much easier. Courtesy photo

Organic mattresses offer clean and healthy sleep You’ve probably tried to buy organic food, beauty products, even clothing — but what about your bed or your living room sofa? The Futon Shop has been in business for more than 40 years, and CEO and founder Suzanne Diamond says the company prides itself on using eco-friendly and organic ingredients to create healthy non-toxic furniture for all. “Organic ingredients that are non-toxic in your furniture offer you clean and healthy sleep,” Diamond said. “Non-organic mattress and sofa materials include flame retardants, VOC as well as other petrochemical environmental pollutants that stay in your body and create disease.” It isn’t just organic mattresses The Futon Shop makes either. “We offer natural furniture including sofas, toppers, futons, platform beds, pillows, dog beds and even crib mattresses.” Diamond said. “We also specialize in chemical-free boat cushions, and handcrafting custom-size cushions for indoor or outdoor furniture. And of course, we specialize

in futons.” The Futon Shop does all the manufacturing and distribution from their workshop in San Francisco, which enables them to offer the highest quality at the best prices. “We buy cotton and wool from farmers,” Diamond said. “We manufacture our products with the best micro-coils, organic and natural Dunlop latex, and fabrics from all around the world. We combine these ingredients to produce comfortable and affordable chemical-free, natural and organic furniture.” The Futon Shop is also excited about the launch of a new, 100 percent organic latex mattress called The Moonlight. “There are four layers, each 2 inches thick and you can choose how firm or soft each of the layers is. It’s completely customizable.” The Futon Shop has locations in San Marcos at 1232 Los Vallecitos Blvd., #118 and in La Jolla at 7470 Girard Ave. For more information and to see the full line of products available, visit thefutonshop.com or call (800) 44-futon (38866) for a store near you.

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Eclectic Vintage Design: High quality antique home furnishings and art Since March 2016, Oceanside’s Eclectic Vintage Design has offered unique, high quality vintage and antique home furnishings and artwork to its customers. The store’s inventory provides a great diversity of styles and vintages. Eclectic buys directly from customers, estates, and other sellers. Owners Rick Maxey and Kim Jacklin retired from careers in North Idaho and moved to Oceanside in late 2015. Rick, a San Diego State grad, ran a successful accounting practice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, while Kim retired from her career as a bank executive officer with a multi-state community bank. With his background

in finance and hers in marketing, advertising, and commercial design, they complement each other in this business venture. Their combined expertise provided the basis for implementing their business plan based on customer satisfaction, and building relationships with their clientele, who are often repeat business for them. In February 2016, they purchased an existing thrift store at the site they currently occupy, closed for a month, and set to work making the transition from thrift store to a home decor and furniture store, where customers could find wellmade, clean, and beautiful furnishings for their home at great prices.


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The couple believes that “Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to live with cheap, ugly, or cookie-cutter furniture.” Today, customers will find beautiful furnishings with brands such as Drexel, Thomasville, Broyhill, Bernstadt, Henredon, Ethan Allen, Bassett, and Hooker. The store purchases furniture outright, and does not accept consignment. Customers will also find unique hand-painted furniture, handmade one of a kind jewelry, custom birdhouses signed by the artist, beach-inspired home decor, candles from Knorr Candles, and many other wonderful items for home or gifts. As the couple approaches their 25th wedding anniversary, both continue to love working with people. “It is very satisfying to help our customers create or improve their homes. It’s also wonderful to be able to help people downsizing or going through significant life changes necessitating them to part with some of their furnishings. We’re able to aid them in find-

ing new homes for their long-treasured belongings.” In addition to the large inventory of very affordable home goods, Eclectic also offers custom painting of furniture. For the do-it-yourselfers, classes are offered several times throughout the month. Eclectic carries Canadian-based Country Chic Paint and supplies. The environmentally safe paint is mineral, chalk and clay based, and has no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so it is suitable for indoor use, even in children’s bedrooms. With Country Chic Paint, nearly any surface can be painted, including wood, glass, laminate, plastic, metal, fabric, and ceramic with astonishing results. The products are durable, even in exterior uses, and provide superior coverage and finishes. Country Chic Paint is a great way to update kitchen and bath cabinetry, adding value to dated kitchen and baths at a fraction of the cost of replacing them or having them professionally refurbished. Classes are available at Eclectic to instruct customers on how to achieve great results quickly and easily. Eclectic also offers some vendor space to local artisans and craftspeople interested in marketing unique (new) products in a retail environment. Eclectic Vintage Design anchors the Valley Plaza Mall located in the San Luis Rey valley, on the northwest corner of Mission and Foussat. Come visit them at 3320 Mission Ave., Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call (760) 231-7899, or visit online at eclecticvintagedesign.com, or like Eclectic Vintage Design on Facebook.

Bliss 101 is your one-stop shop for interior home design needs Do you have dreams of filling your blank walls with stunning art and upgrading your interiors to gorgeously practical designs, but aren’t quite sure where to start? Bliss 101 in Encinitas is your one-stop shop for all of your interior home design needs. With our free consultation service, our expert design team aims to please by turning your home design desires into a reality. Beautiful art, furniture and interior pieces are available to view and purchase at our Encinitas retail location for you to come in and see, while having access to thousands others that will leave you awestruck. From ocean rustic to modern chic, our design team will assess and match your style and function of your home with ease.

Bliss 101 prides itself on working with socially responsible and sustainable furniture lines as often as possible, making the pieces second to none in uniqueness and beauty. Not to mention our amazing local art selection will connect you with your surrounding community and keep your home “by the sea.” Our home design services allow you — in the comfort of your own home — to have your spaces assessed and redesigned to your needs and desires. You don’t have to be the expert — leave that to us. See what all the fuss is about — stop by or call to schedule your free consultation today. Bliss 101 is at 553 S. Coast Highway 101. Call (760) 487-1900 or visit online at bliss101.com for more information.

MARCH 24, 2017

The future of your yard: Edible landscapes and beyond By Laurie Sutton

“How do we get people to eat food out of their own gardens?” is a question Kevin Muno asked himself several years ago. Now as president and CEO of Ecology Artisans, he and his team have found the answer to that question and then some. They are quite literally changing the landscape in North County and beyond with a goal of “creating productive and beautiful landscapes, farms and developments that harmonize and align with natural ecosystems.” With projects ranging in size from raised garden beds to entire food forests and dry-farmed vineyards, Muno and his partners have expanded their vision and have been able to make their dreams reality. The beginnings of Ecology Artisans took place in a permaculture design course the partners had enrolled in. “It was a six-week-long course that teaches you to mimic nature in a landscape,” Muno said. “It is a set of tools, techniques and principles for living sustainably and restoratively.” Ecology Artisans has grown to a 10-employee company that services the entire county. Services include irrigation, planting, rainwater harvesting,


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landscape design and installation and more. However, one of Muno’s biggest goals is to educate residents. The collective experience and education of the team make it uniquely qualified to help the community learn how to live sustainably while making their properties beautiful. On the horizon for Ecology Artisans is a series of workshops on topics such as composting, edible landscaping, rain gardens and rain water harvesting. One of Ecology Artisans’ bigger recent projects was installing the earthworks for a food forest on the Leichtag Foundation’s Coastal Roots Farm. “It’s a super cool project,” Muno said. “It’s modeled after ‘peia’ which in Hebrew means to leave the corners of your field open.” One of the goals of the food forest is to help feed those who can’t afford to feed themselves. Dry-farmed vineyards are another way some local residents are increasing their sustainability. “They operate totally off of irrigation,” Muno said. Ecology Artisans is currently working on one in Rancho Santa Fe. “A lot of small farms only have citrus planted,” he said. “We now know that citrus is more susceptible to pests and

A view of the food forest from above at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, where Ecology Artisans did the earthworks on the project. Courtesy photos

diseases. (It) is also rather thirsty.” The move to more drought-tolerant crops like olives and grapes interplanted with other species attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This not only eliminates the need for pesticides, it also reduces the amount of water. By adding sheep to graze the vineyard, you can bring down your labor costs while getting free fertilizer. “We are calling it a regenerative vineyard,” Muno said. He added he expects to see more of these locally in areas that have larger properties. What can you do today to become more sustainable?

Edible Landscapes When it comes to your edible landscapes, Muno recommends a “lazy” approach, by planting perennial vegetables. “They live more than one year,” he said. “You plant once, and get it for three years.” Balance is key, for any successful landscape, and perennials reduce the amount of tillage so that the soil doesn’t get disturbed. “Then you disturb your fungal balance,” he said. “Fungus have an amazing ability to bring in water from really far distances.

Then you don’t have to till the soil every year.” Muno recommends planting winter squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, basil, rosemary and artichokes. “Try to use native plants and flowers as well as try to plant veggies and fruit trees,” he said. For someone wanting to live off their landscape, he advises a polycultural environment, including herbs, and trees such as long-term nut producing trees. No matter the size of your yard, there are options for creating an ed-

An example of raised garden beds created by Ecology Artisans.

ible landscape. “Raised gardens are super easy,” Muno pointed out as an example. “You can do it in your front or backyard.” Animals “One of the cool things about gardening is you can integrate animals,” Muno said. Animals are no longer just for rural residents, either. “On an urban scale, you can have rabbits, chickens, potentially a few milking goats,” he said. “Rabbits can eat leftover scraps. They can potentially be a protein source. They also have a

good amount of dung that they deposit in their rabbit hutches. Underneath they have worm bins.” He said it’s a continuous loop. “The worm castings can then feed your chickens,” he said. “One loop feeds another loop.” Chickens are popping up in yards of all sizes in North County. “You can do a chicken coup, and you feed them table scraps,” Muno said. “The nitrogen from their coop and the carbon from straw hay make a really cool comTURN TO EDIBLE ON B19

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T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

MARCH 24, 2017

Moon Valley Nurseries: Big trees — an even bigger selection

Palm trees in particular are popular in North County, and Moon Valley specializes in tropical varieties from around the world. Courtesy photo

added. Though we’ve had welcome rainfall this winter, succulents are still a smart choice for any landscape. “People are finding out they can cut down on their water bill and still have a very colorful garden with year-round interest,” Bauer said. “Typically with a plant it only flowers one season and then it’s just a plant. With succulents, the flowers aren’t the only desirable trait. The plant itself is the desirable trait and it’s like that all year long.”

For coastal customers, Bauer recommends ficus. “Ficus is one of the best coastal hedges you can put in your landscape, especially if you’re looking to add privacy or block out those unwanted views,” he said. Moon Valley is currently offering a valuable spring special to its customers. “This spring we have free planting on all box size trees,” Bauer said. “You really can’t beat this deal, especially if you are looking to bring natural maturity to your

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landscape with premium quality bigger trees.” In addition to trees, palms and shrubs, Moon Valley also carries their own line of fertilizers and pottery. Moon Valley Nurseries’ San Diego location is at 26334 Mesa Rock Road in Escondido. They are open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (760) 3094080 or visit moonvalleynurseries.com.

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Driving northbound on Interstate 15 your eyes can’t help but be drawn toward an oasis of greenery and large trees. What you are seeing is Moon Valley Nurseries’ massive collection of trees and palms that have been cultivating for years. “We have the biggest trees available right now,” Rob Bauer, director of production, said. “We specialize in trees and plants for Southern California, and have more than 1,500 varieties of trees, palms and shrubs perfect for Southern California.” Moon Valley Nurseries’ selection is only rivaled by the customer service they offer. “With eight retail stores in the region, it doesn’t get much easier for our customers to get just what they want,” Bauer said. “We basically hold their hand through the entire process, which is why people love us so much. We are the landscaper; we are the one-stop shop. Our customers can come into the store, hand tag their trees and they know that we can do the professional installation and the design too.” Moon Valley Nurseries takes pride in its quality, which Bauer attributes to years of nurturing. “No one else does what we do — offering bigger trees and plants only grown from our premium quality specimens,” he said. “We aren’t some startup. It takes time to be in the tree business, and we’ve been nurturing our trees for the past 20 years!” Palm trees in particular are popular in North County, and Moon Valley specializes in tropical varieties from around the world. “These exotic and rare palms are an excellent addition to water-wise, drought-tolerant themed landscapes,” Bauer said. “Many of our designs feature not only tropical but also drought-tolerant plants, which work in unison in regards to the way they are watered.” “Aloes, Agaves, Ice Plant, Lantana, Blue Chopsticks and Sticks of Fire are all great choices for local landscapes,” Bauer

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MARCH 24, 2017


T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

Superior Floor Designs set to expand offerings


or many Encinitas residents, Westlake Avenue has been the shortcut to San Dieguito Academy High School, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, Scripps Encinitas Hospital or various places in Cardiff-By-the-Sea to avoid the freeway and Highway 101. And for nearly 40 years, it has also been the home of Superior Floor Design. Longtime residents know this street as Surf Hill, where many of the Encinitas surf companies started out. You will often see people running up and down this famous hill as part of their workout. Superior Floor Designs is one of the area’s landmark family-owned businesses and for years it has been owned by John Antman and more recently managed by his son Scott. When John decided it might be time to sell the business, he was looking for someone to take it over with the same local business values that he had always employed and where his son could continue taking care of their existing customers. They were lucky to meet up with Cheryl Robertson and her business partners Eric Sivill and Michael Bobo, who have managed their family’s hardware and cabinet

Anyone working on a new home design or a home remodel will now be able to work with Superior Floor (& Cabinet) Design as a one-stop shop. Courtesy photo

business for many years in North Park. Always wanting to expand their business into North County, they saw this as a perfect opportunity to merge two family

businesses. “We feel really lucky,” partner Cheryl Robertson said. “Superior Floor Designs has great customers and we love being right between the beachy En-

cinitas/Cardiff area and the bedroom communities of Village Park, Encinitas Ranch, La Costa and Aviara and the luxurious homes of Olivenhain and Rancho Santa Fe.

We plan to continue to treat Superior’s customers with the same personal attention, while bringing the store up to current design standards and offering not only flooring design but

cabinets and hardware too!” Anyone working on a new home design or a home remodel will now be able to work with Superior Floor (& Cabinet) Design as a one-stop shop. Superior will work with existing vendors to update store displays for wood, tile, laminate and stone and display some of the popular porcelain and vinyl wood plank offerings as well as a wide range of unique carpeting, tile and wood that may not be found at the bigger chain locations. “We plan to broaden the offerings to compete but not lose the personal attention everyone needs when making these very important decisions for their home,” John Macker, sales manager said. “We plan to turn the lights on and welcome back past customers as well as interior designers and contractors to a new and improved Superior Floors. It won’t happen overnight, but if you see some smoke coming from the BBQ in the parking lot, stop by and meet the new team!” Set up an appointment for a free consultation by calling (760) 436-0900. Watch for the new Superior Floor Designs on Facebook and a new website will be coming soon at superiorfloors.com.


T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

MARCH 24, 2017

California West announces final homes and new beginnings Only a limited number of spacious luxury residences remain at Upper Cielo and Southern Preserve by California West, San Diego’s most reputable homebuilder. California West is also proud to announce the launch of Westerly at Rancho Tesoro, the newest edition to their expanding portfolio of exclusive residences. “Even though the doors are closing on our beloved Upper Cielo and Southern Preserve, we’re excited to take homebuyers on another journey at our new neighborhood, Westerly at Rancho Tesoro in San Marcos,” said Robby Thorne, CEO, California West. “We look forward to creating homes and communities in San Marcos with a heightened level of design and individuality just as we did in Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad.” UPPER CIELO in Rancho Santa Fe The limited collection of 41 homes at Upper Cielo in Rancho Santa Fe sits atop the gated community of CIELO and only six estate-style residences remain. Tour the final homes and take advantage of select move-in ready residences and substantial close-out incentives. These residences make a statement with indoor/ outdoor living spaces on some of the highest vantage points in the area. The one-

“We look forward to creating homes and communities in San Marcos with a heightened level of design and individuality just as we did in Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad,” says Robby Thorne, CEO, California West. Courtesy rendering

and two-story homes range from 3,490 to 4,850 sq. ft. and provide breathtaking views of the Olivenhain Dam, Lake Hodges, Pacific Ocean, and northern

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millions. “My husband Paul and I turned to California West, a respected homebuilder, to help bring our new home dreams to life,” said Emily Hervieux, Upper Cielo resident. “Instead of spending countless hours with contractors and construction workers, we worked with our homebuilder’s design team to ensure that our home had a high-level of design and reflected our per-

and is priced at $1,399,900. The community of 49 personalized residences borders a nature preserve, overlooking the rolling hills of Olivenhain. Families have access to award-winning schools within the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) and the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD). Learn more by visiting SPLaCosta.com or calling (760) 652-5426.

We’ve lived in many places in different cities, but our new house at Southern Preserve is the best home we’ve ever owned.” Christina Mullins Resident, Southern Preserve

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sonality.” Living at Upper Cielo provides residents with a luxurious lifestyle and close proximity to some of the finest restaurants, equestrian centers, golf clubs, trails, beaches, and shopping. Explore the opportunity to live in a personalized home with spectacular views before they disappear. To schedule a tour, visit UpperCielo.com or call (858) 756-4572. SOUTHERN PRESERVE in La Costa, Carlsbad With only one residence left at Southern Preserve in La Costa, Carlsbad, homebuyers have the opportunity to own a luxury, new move-in ready home with exclusive upgrades throughout. The final single-story residence showcases three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, an office, and two outdoor living spaces

“We’ve lived in many places in different cities, but our new house at Southern Preserve is the best home we’ve ever owned. What made Southern Preserve stand out when we were searching for our dream home was the location of the development,” said Christina Mullins, Southern Preserve resident. WESTERLY at Rancho Tesoro, San Marcos As Upper Cielo and Southern Preserve experiences its final sales, California West’s new neighborhood Westerly will be part of a 250-acre master planned community coming to San Marcos in late spring 2017. The new collection of homes is named for its ideal location on the western edge of Rancho Tesoro's community. “Rancho Tesoro’s cen-

tral San Marcos location conveniently brings you closer to the places you want to go” adds Thorne. “The community’s preferred setting south of highway 78 means you’re easily connected to the 15 freeway, coastal Carlsbad, business centers, and favorite destinations for fun and leisure.” Westerly will feature 71 single-family residences offering the beautiful Spanish Ranch, Santa Barbara, and Monterey architectural styles. The homes offer approximately up to 3,521 square feet of living space as well as up to 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 2 car garages. Rancho Tesoro is conveniently located near Discovery Lake, San Elijo Hills, California State University at San Marcos, and state Route 78. The community is also within the area's highly acclaimed San Marcos Unified School District. “From the first time you visit one of our communities, to the closing of your home, we embrace the opportunity of making home owners proud California West built their home,” adds Thorne. About California West: Our approach embraces a passion for creating neighborhoods with inspired design in San Diego’s most desirable cities. We started this process over 20 years ago, sharpening our skills, expertise, and artistry along the way. Today, we build with a level of depth and personal commitment that spans generations with a focus on sustainability, quality, and craftsmanship. Visit CalWestLiving.com to get the latest neighborhood updates.

MARCH 24, 2017


T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

Bamboo 2 U and Beach House Too is a 3,500-square-foot store filled with treasures at 1240 N. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Courtesy photo

A treasure trove awaits on the 101 Look beyond the tall, colorful beach chairs in front of Bamboo 2 U and Beach House Too, to find a beach décor enthusiast named Judy Swain and a store full of treasures. Once you park and venture in, you will find this 3,500-square-foot store has nine separately themed rooms, ranging from beach and cottage, nautical, shabby chic, Hawaiian and Tiki to surf. You’ll find vintage rattan, recycled and custom wood furniture, art, lamps, pillows, signs, jewelry, Tommy Bahama shirts, shells, bedding, dishes, bath and

kitchen. You’ll see a beachy turquoise furniture set, shell-laden chandeliers, and an entire nautical red, white and blue room. Whether you are decorating a beach house or finding the perfect accessory for your guest bathroom, this store is one-of-a-kind and fits right in with the funky vibe of Leucadia. In fact, Judy recently put out a jar in the front, to collect pennies from visitors and locals who have driven past hundreds of times without realizing the store is there and, especially, not realizing what is inside.


Once you step in, you can find a Woodie-shaped Christmas ornament for Uncle Dan or a surf pillow for your son’s room, or perhaps a set of lobster-laden dishes that you just can’t live without. Next time you’re driving down Coast Highway 101, stop in and say “hi” to Judy, drop a copper penny in the jar and enjoy a tour through a delightful island paradise. Make sure to follow them on Facebook or snap a photo outside and post on I n s t a g r a m @ b a m b o o 2 u a n d beachhousetoo.

Wax and Whimsy’s slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recandle™,” is at the heart of their service where you can bring in an empty candle vessel and they’ll pour you a brand new soy candle. Courtesy photo

Don’t be afraid to light that candle By Lisa Chassin

Have you ever had a candle that was so beautiful that you were afraid to burn because you didn’t want it to run out? Wax and Whimsy in Solana Beach has just the solution so you can burn with abandon. They offer a Recandle™ service where you bring in your empty candle vessel, select an aroma, and they pour you a brand new soy candle. I love their slogan — Reduce, Reuse, Recandle™. It’s environmental and affordable and I’m all about green. While you’re in their adorable gift shop you can peruse the huge candle collections from brands such as Voluspa, Archipelago, Aspen, and more. I was so happy to learn that they carry Frasir Fir from Thymes year round. I also found some gorgeous outfits and jewelry while I was there. The selection is truly

unique so you stand out from the crowd. The staff was warm, friendly, and very helpful. The owner, Jean Vavra, manufactures her own line of bath and body products called Buddhalicious. She started it in the kitchen of her house in 2000 and I love to support local businesses. Wax and Whimsy is truly a one-stop shop for all of your entire gift giving needs. They have a fun novelty section that includes everything from bacon to super heroes to unicorns. They even have a naughty room for bachelorette parties or romantic getaways. Once you stop in you’ll see why it was voted best gift shop on the San Diego A List. Wax and Whimsy is at 665 Rodolfo Dr. Suite 109. For hours and more details visit waxandwhimsy.com or call (858) 755-1775.

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T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

MARCH 24, 2017

The sweeter the strawberry, the more likely it’s homegrown Homegrown strawberries are a billion times better tasting than the hard, rarely ripe, flavorless selection in the supermarket. Strawberries are cold-h¬ardy and adaptable, making them one of the easiest berries to grow. While most fruit trees take several years to begin bearing, you can harvest your own strawberries the very first summer. And even if you live in an apartment or small home, you can grow strawberries in a container, on your balcony, rooftop, or patio. If your horizontal space is limited, consider growing strawberries in a

hanging basket or stacked planter, which will allow you to take advantage of vertical growing space as the strawberry plants tumble out over the sides. There are two main kinds of strawberries: “June-bearing” and “Ever-bearing” varieties. June-bearing strawberries bear all at once, usually over a period of about three weeks. Because of their earliness, high quality and concentrated fruit set, June-bearers produce high yields of very large, sweet, extra juicy berries in late mid-season, which is usually late spring and early summer, depending on your geographic region. These are the best

variety for preserving. Ever-bearing strawberries produce a big crop from spring flowers, set light flushes of fruit through summer, and then bloom and bear again in late summer and fall. Perfect for large containers or raised beds, where you can give them attentive watering and regular feeding. Bonnie Plants, available at most garden retailers, offers a good selection of strawberries including the “Ozark Beauty.” This ever-bearing variety produces high yields of large, very sweet fruit from late spring until frost, with concentrated fruiting in summer and again in fall,

and is ideal for jam, preserves, or desserts. The plants are cold-hardy, send out long runners and are great for containers. “Quinalt” — the most popular ever-bearing variety, offers large, soft, deliciously sweet fruit, ideal for preserves or fresh eating. June-bearing “Allstar” produces high yields of very large, sweet, extra juicy berries in late mid-season, which is usually late spring and early summer, depending on when summer arrives in your area. As a June-bearer, the harvest season is concentrated over a few weeks, making it a good choice if you want

While most fruit trees take several years to begin bearing, you can harvest your own strawberries the very first summer. Courtesy photo

to freeze or cook with a lot of berries at one time. Remember to plant so the crown is just above soil level. Timely tips to ensure strawberry success : * When planting strawberries, be sure the crown is above soil level and the upper most roots are 1/4 inch beneath soil level, buried crowns rot and exposed roots dry out. Strawberry plants should be placed approximately 14 to 18 inches apart from each other in neat rows that are separated by 2 to 3 feet each. Let runners fill in until plants are 7 to 10 inches apart. * Use mulch to keep berries clean, conserve moisture and control weeds. * If you want to keep it simple, plant strawberries in a container. Just remember that container plantings need much more water than inground plantings, usually once a day; and if it’s hot, twice. Strawberry pots are the obvious, best container choice for growing strawberries. You can fit several plants in one pot; just make sure whatever type of garden pot you use has good drainage. Strawberries have a relatively small root ball and can be grown in containers as small as 10 to 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. However, the smaller the container, the more frequently you will need to water. Synthetic and light colored pots will keep the roots cooler than dark colors and natural materials that conduct heat.

* Strawberries like well-drained fairly rich soil, so be sure to add compost or other organic matter when preparing the pot or patch. * Strawberry plants need full sun, 6 to 8 hours per day, and frequent, deep soakings. They will grow in all zones and should be fed twice a year — when growth begins and after the first crop. You’ll need to feed them with a plant food like Bonnie Plant Food, this natural herb and vegetable plant food has nutrients and growth stimulants that your strawberry plants will love. * Control slugs and snails by handpicking them off plants and prevent theft from birds by covering your patch with netting as the first berries ripen. Strawberries are one of the easiest and most delicious home garden fruits to grow. Try growing them with kids, plants produce fruit throughout the summer and children will love to pluck them right off the plant, wash and eat! If your kids have yet to plant and care for a fruit or vegetable, strawberries are a perfect choice for their first gardening experience. Kids can help create a delicious strawberry desert too, using super sweet, delectable strawberries picked right in the backyard. Kick off this gardening season and get growing strawberries! For more info on growing strawberries as well as vegetables and herbs, visit bonnieplants.com.

MARCH 24, 2017


T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

Could citrus citrus Could disease be be in in disease your backyard? backyard? your

The Asian citrus psyllid lays its eggs on new growth, where small, yellowish orange nymphs feed and develop. Photo courtesy CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org

disease,” said Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. “It has laid waste to vast amounts of citrus production in Florida.” Currently, there is no

By Jamie Higgins


t may only be the size of an aphid, but the Asian citrus psyllid spreads a fatal disease that has had a huge impact on Florida’s citrus industry. The disease has been discovered in Southern California, putting local citrus trees and the region’s citrus industry at risk. There’s a lot at stake. Eighty percent of fresh market oranges come from California, according to California Citrus Mutual, a nonprofit trade association for the citrus industry. Huanglongbing (HLB) is an incurable bacterial disease that kills Orange, Grapefruit, tangerine and other citrus trees. The Asian citrus psyllid lays its eggs on new growth, where small, yellowish orange nymphs feed and develop. The disease, also called “citrus greening” eventually kills the tree. “HLB is a devastating

Controlling the pest is the best way to control movement of the disease.” Eric Larson Executive Director, San Diego County Farm Bureau Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, and others are worried that the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease could get a foothold in San Diego County because so many people have a lemon, lime or orange tree in their backyards. Courtesy photo

cure for HLB. Once the tree is infected, it eventually dies. About 35 trees in the residential communities


of San Gabriel, Hacienda Heights, and Cerritos were found to be infected and had to be destroyed. Fortunately the disease has not been discovered in any commercial production areas, according to Larson. However, Larson and others are worried that the disease could get a foothold in San Diego County because so many people have a lemon, lime or orange tree in their backyards. If left unchecked, backyard citrus trees could become breeding grounds for the disease. Larson says that San Diegans can play a critical role in saving local citrus. The best way to protect against the disease is to find the insect and stop it from spreading the disease. Residents should regularly inspect their citrus trees for Asian citrus psyllids. Photos of the insect and the disease can be found at CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org.

“Controlling the pest is the best way to control movement of the disease,” said Larson. “There are some very good pictures online of what infected leaves and fruit look like.” The disease won’t reach our community on its own. San Diegans need to be extra careful not to bring citrus plants, plant material or fruit in from other areas. “It is critical that citrus trees or budding wood not be brought here from out of the state or from out of the country,” said Larson. Larson also suggests that citrus trees that are in poor condition or are not being regularly cared for be removed by homeowners because they can become a host to the insect and serve as the point of infestation for a whole neighborhood. Residents concerned about their trees can call the pest hotline at (800) 491-1899 for assistance.

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T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

MARCH 24, 2017

A year’s worth of tips for optimal home maintenance


ome maintenance can seem overwhelming. With so much to keep track and take care of, it helps to have an annual calendar to keep your home organized, in shape and safe. With the help of local expert Gregg Cantor, we have compiled a list for your home maintenance of tasks you should complete annually as well as seasonally. Cantor knows a thing or two about homes, as he has been in the home business for 42 years. He is president and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Rebuild, Remodel in San Diego and is the cohost of The Approved Home Pro Show. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Cantor said. His extensive experience and a passion for helping people make him the consummate home improvement expert, which is a role he enjoys. “It’s

about educating people, answering questions and equipping people,” he said. Murray Lampert was started by Cantor’s grandfather as a home improvement company. When Cantor took the helm around 1990, they decided to expand. “It was a great opportunity to take us to another level, be more design/ build focused,” he said. “We do more whole house projects and more expansive custom remodeling jobs.” Over the last five or so years, the company has evolved even more in the design part of the work. “We have actually added interior design,” he said. “We meet with people, we find out their lifestyle, their functional needs, their design taste.” Being involved in so many aspects of the home industry contributes to Cantor’s “expert” status. From what to do

Summer The heat is on! All this good weather makes it prime time to not only do some exterior maintenance, but also prep for the leaves of fall. 1) Outdoor repairs. Do a check to see if any sidewalks, driveways or stairs need repairs. 2) Clean your gutters! “The trees will be shedding, so that’s when your rain gutters fill up with leaves,” Cantor said. 3) Fire safety. As we head into fire season, make sure your yard is free of any debris and that you have a clear path for escape in case of a fire on your property.


and when, following are tips for North County homeowners. Annual home maintenance Some people like to celebrate their birthday month. When it comes to annual home maintenance, make it easy by choosing one month of the year and get the following tasks handled and then you can rest easy for the next 11 months. 1. Clean out your dryer duct. “It’s a simple matter of sliding the dryer out and vacuuming out the hose,” Cantor said. “Clogged ducts affect the efficiency and shorten the life of your machine. And if it’s really clogged, it could cause a fire.” 2. Have your furnace and AC inspected.

3. Have your roof inspected. 4. Flush your water heater system. Tankless water heater owners should follow manufacturer instructions to flush out the system. 5. Replace batteries. The batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced at least once a year. 6. Check your water shut-offs. Inspect your hot and cold water shut-offs by turning the main valve of every fixture on and off. Seasonal home maintenance Just as the fashion runways are always one season ahead, it’s best to begin prep for each season in the months leading up to it so that you can be ahead of the changes in climate.

Winter We’ve gone so many winters without any good amount of rain, that many were caught off guard by this year’s winter storms. Here are some good ways to be efficient and make sure you aren’t caught off guard by Mother Nature ever again. 1) Check your area drainage. “With all the rain, water backs up,” Cantor said. “A lot of homes in San Diego have a crawl space underneath, and in some of those homes the drainage isn’t great and water builds up under the house. There are pumps you can buy for about $35 if water ponds up and you can drop the pump in there and it pumps water out with a garden hose.” This is especially important as standing water can leak up into the walls and cause mold and dry rot. “A bad situation could undermine the foundation too,” Cantor cautions. 2) Prep for rain water harvesting. If you plan on harvesting rain water, now is the time to purchase any equipment you might need. Search online for DIY rain collection systems that are inexpensive and effective. 3) Upgrade your sprinkler system. “A really good upgrade outside is a time on your sprinkler system,” Cantor said. “They have ones that have a moisture sensor that automatically turn off if it’s raining.”


As the leaves begin to turn, it’s time to focus on making your home ready for colder weather.

As spring approaches, “spring cleaning” comes to mind for many. But what else should you be doing this spring to take care of your home?

1) Check your heater. “You definitely want to have an inspection on your heater,” Cantor said. “Older heaters have a heat exchange area that will crack over time and become dangerous. They can cause carbon monoxide or catch on fire. Before you turn your furnace on, you want to check that.” 2) Weatherize and seal. “Make sure everything is weatherized and sealed,” Cantor said. “Having good quality windows makes it so you don’t have to run your heater as much.” 3) Change furnace filter. “Replace your filter in your furnace,” he added. “I recommend buying a box of filters and having them on hand.”

1) Get energy efficient. Make energy efficient home upgrades that will also save you money. “People will want to run their AC,” Cantor said. “If it’s more than 12 years old, it might be time to upgrade. The systems now are so much more energy efficient. If you have old equipment or old windows you can do a lot of these improvements and save money in the long run.” 2) Paint the exterior. “One of the highest return on investment things to do is painting,” Cantor said. If your exterior is in need of a paint job, this is the best time to do it. “First of all you have good weather, and things are going to be dried out and you will get a better paint job,” he added. “In the coastal areas, you should repaint your exterior every three to five years.” 3) Plant produce. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests this is the time of year to plant your melons, eggplant, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, spinach and more.

For more tips on home improvement and maintenance, catch Gregg Cantor at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on the CW Network on The Approved Home Show.

MARCH 24, 2017


T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden

Family gardening provides more than a bountiful harvest By Melinda Myers

Gardeners know digging, planting, harvesting and even viewing a garden is good for the mind, body and spirit. It improves strength and flexibility, lowers blood pressure and elevates our mood. And this is true for all members of the family from the very young to the more seasoned. Plan on sharing these benefits with yours or a friend’s children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews this growing season. Children, and even adults, who grow their own vegetables, are more likely to eat them. But gardening does even more to help our children. Research shows children exposed to the outdoors and gardening are more focused, have less issues with attention deficit and score better on tests. Girls exposed to gardens and green spaces are more confident and better able to handle peer pressure. Here are a few ways to make gardening with

Research shows children exposed to the outdoors and gardening are more focused, have less issues with attention deficit and score better on tests family more fun and memorable. Involve the whole family when planning the garden. Talk about the flowers everyone wants to grow and vegetables you all like to eat. Then break out the paper, old catalogs, scissors, crayons, pencils and rulers. Young children can cut out pictures of their favorite vegetables and flowers and glue them on the paper. Older children can draw the garden to scale on graph paper and plot their choices in the garden. Make your own plant markers. Once you decide on the plants you want to grow spend a rainy afternoon creating plant labels for the garden. Paint the name or a picture of the flower or vegetable on a flat rock, slat from a discarded mini blind, paint sticks or oth-

more than 20 gardening books, including “Small Space Gardening,” and the “Midwest Gardener’s Handbook.” More details are available online at melindamyers.com.

Gardening can be a great family activity and children exposed to the outdoors and gardening are more focused, have less issues with attention deficit and score higher on tests. Courtesy photo

er recycled items. Consider giving everyone his or her own garden space. Let them pick their own plants and be responsible for its maintenance. Design individual plots or divide larger beds into smaller sections. Or give each family member his or her own container. This is a great option when planting space and time are limited. And just about anything can be planted. An old 5-gallon bucket or washtub with holes drilled into the bottom, recycled nursery pots or a colorful raised planter make great gardens. Direct fast moving, small feet down the path and away from plants. Fun edging materials, mulched pathways or slightly raised beds help delineate pathways from gardens. This helps to keep children from trampling the plants. Grow some quick-maturing plants like radishes and lettuce that are ready to harvest in 30 to 45 days along with slower growers like watermelon and tomatoes. You will keep everyone interested if there is something growing, blooming and good to eat throughout the season. Reduce the risk of mistakes. Kids, like so many gardeners, suffer from “more is better” syndrome. Avoid damage from overfertilization by using a low nitrogen organic fertilizer like Milorganite (milorganite. com). It’s safe and won’t burn your plants even if the weather becomes hot and dry. And enlist my favorite “Pluck, drop and stomp” pest management strategy. Teach children the difference between the good and bad insects and then have them burn off some excess energy as they implement the process. End the season with a harvest party. Use your homegrown produce to prepare a picnic or fancy dinner for family and friends. And be sure to use some of those beautiful flowers you grew to decorate the table. Gardening expert Melinda Myers is the author or

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Worms turn waste into wealth for gardens By Jamie Higgins

Do you hate throwing out that overripe banana, wilted lettuce leaves or the avocado that you didn’t get around to eating? Instead of feeding it to a landfill, feed it to some hungry worms. Worms are nature’s recyclers and will turn your “trash” into a rich treasure for your gar-

MARCH 24, 2017

den and landscape. Worms love to eat fruit pieces and peels (their favorites are bananas, melons, and avocados), vegetable pieces and peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells and shredded newspaper. Ve r m i c o m p o s t i n g (composting with worms) is pretty simple. Worms eat your food scraps and

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Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is pretty simple. Worms eat your food scraps and leave castings (commonly known as poop). Worm castings are a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that improves the health of your soil and plants. Courtesy photo

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leave castings (commonly known as poop). Worm castings are a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that improves the health of your soil and plants. Your garden and landscape will thank you. Encinitas resident Diane Hazard began vermicomposting when a friend gave her worms as a birthday present. Twenty-five years later, Hazard has turned composting into a career. Hazard, who has a degree in biology, is a Master Composter, and is a graduate of the UCSD Extension Sustainable Business Practices program, is director of education at Solana Center for Environmental Innovation in Encinitas. She manages a staff of

environmental educators, who spread the gospel of composting throughout San Diego County. For beginners, Hazard thinks vermicomposting is a great introduction to composting. You don’t need much space and it’s contained, which also makes it a great option for people living in urban areas, in condos and apartments. “ Ve r m ic o mp o s t i n g is very easy (particularly if you live in areas where (temperature) ranges are not extreme (like Encinitas), not labor intensive, and you get an amazing end product,” said Hazard. Food scraps are valuable organic material that can be recycled to replenish the earth. Vermicom-

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posting allows you to recover those nutrients and prevents organic waste from being sent to a landfill where it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It isn’t just eco-friendly — it saves money. You won’t need to buy expensive fertilizers and it could even lower your water bill — compost retains water by acting like a sponge. Vermicomposting can also be fun and educational for the whole family. What kid doesn’t like worms? Although composting is an ancient agricultural practice, it can be a fairly new concept for urban people. People are often afraid that composting will smell and attract flies and rats, according to Hazard. She said that vermicompost should just smell, well — earthy. “It doesn’t smell when done properly. That’s the first thing I ask folks to do — smell the worm bin. They are always tentative and then draw back and exclaim, ‘Oh, it smells like dirt!’” When trying anything new, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Overfeeding is a common mistake that people make initially, according to Hazard. “I did it myself when I first started vermicomposting,” said Hazard. “My worms loved pumpkin, so post-Halloween I gave them a whole pumpkin. I fully toxified the environment and killed all my worms.” She added, “I live with that tragic memory every day.” Another option that Hazard recommends is an in-ground free-range vermicomposting system. Your worms can fertilize your garden for you. “It’s basically a 5-gallon utility bucket, drilled with many quarter-sized holes, topped with a gamma lid and buried in the

ground of your veggie garden or near the dripline of your fruit trees,” said Hazard. Ready to get started? You’ll need some worms — red wigglers, are the best. You’ll also need a worm bin, some shredded newspaper or coconut coir and some basic info. Solana Center’s main office in Encinitas has everything that you’ll need. Encinitas residents enjoy a deep discount on worm bins, thanks to the city. Solana Center also offers free composting workshops throughout San Diego County and a composting hotline called the “Rotline” for questions. When you’re ready to take your composting know-how to the next level, Solana Center offers a five-week Master Composter course that provides in-depth training in the art and science of composting. The course includes lectures, demonstrations, and a field trip. For local farmers — San Diego County is home to more small farmers than any other U.S. county — composting is particularly beneficial. It improves soil health, crop output and water retention. Solana Center is offering a mid-scale composting presentation series called, “Solutions for Organic Waste Diversion” from noon to 5:30 p.m. April 9 at their new Composting Center located at Solana Center’s Eco Learning Lab, standing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Infield Farm. The site is the only place to see side-by-side working examples of various types of composting techniques, including black soldier fly larvae, aerated static pile, in-vessel composting and vermicomposting solutions. To learn more about vermicomposting workshops and resources, visit solanacenter.org.

MARCH 24, 2017


ucts that will wear out soon and be troublesome,” he said. “That is why it is a good idea to get some qualified advice before purchasing a product.” He cited examples of products that consumers should research before buying. “There are some flood control devices that look easy to install and are very inexpensive, but they are poor quality and don’t work very well,” he said. “And, there are some intercoms that are easy to install and of high quality, but there are others that are high quality but very difficult to install.” Shultz said navigating the world of automation can be tricky. “Put these systems in place to enjoy your life and add more time to your day,” he said. “You don’t want to work at it, you want it to work for you.” Looking Ahead n the horizon is fiber optics, which will be available soon for greater


bandwidth making home automation even more reliable. “The networks are going to get faster,” Shultz said. “If people are considering a remodel, they should consider network wiring to handle the faster speeds that are coming at us soon.” Kerr says home automation is becoming easier to use and install and more and more devices are becoming internet controllable. Whereas at one point in time it was exciting just to be able to open your garage remotely, current capabilities have upped the ante. “Never come home to a dark house that is smart enough to know when to turn certain lights on automatically based on when the sun sets each day or when you open your garage door,” Kerr said. “It’s very nice to use a remote control for your TV, but it’s just as nice to turn on your A/C from your car on the drive home on a hot day or have a smart phone notify when your children get home from school. It’s all about awareness that smart homes are here and easy to make happen.”

post. You use that compost in your garden. It’s free fertilizer.” Ecology Artisans plans to host workshops, helping residents to create their own coops.

It is considered cleaner than water from kitchen sinks, dishwashers and toilets, as it doesn’t have high levels of organic contaminants or fecal matter. Another bonus is that the county offers some graywater rebates for both simple and complex systems.

Water: Rain and Gray Muno recommends people tie rainwater systems to their landscapes and gardens. “It’s low maintenance, so people don’t have to constantly be out there with a garden hose,” he said. One idea is to plant fruit trees so that they can be watered directly from roofs. “We try to integrate as much passive water as possible and minimize water from outside sources,” he said. The benefits are twofold. “We are putting less demand on city systems and preventing storm water runoff,” he added. Rain barrels are another inexpensive way to capture rainwater and reuse on your property. Kits are available at home improvement stores, or there are DIY videos available online. With the amount of rain we have had this winter, rain barrels are an easy way to reduce your water bill. Graywater can also be recycled, with innovative systems like laundry to landscape. “You can save 24,000 gallons of water a year for a family of four,” Muno said. Graywater includes water from washing machines, showers, bathroom sinks and tubs.

Composting Introducing composting can be a very simple sustainability practice. “On a smaller scale, it can just be a worm bin,” Muno said. “It’s a really good way to do composting.” He said there is also a larger two-bin system, which means you have two areas that you rotate and turn the compost from one to the other. Depending on the size system you are interested in, the ingredients of your compost and the intended end use, the options available are endless. Muno looks forward to Ecology Artisans’ upcoming workshops so that he can spread the word about the benefits to composting as well as show residents how to set themselves up in their own homes. Muno is excited about the future of sustainable living in North County. “It makes us a more resilient, robust and fun community,” he said. “We think Encinitas could be a hotbed for this.” For more information about Ecology Artisans, visit ecologyartisans.com, call (858) 769-9058 or email info@ ecologyartisans.com.




T he C oast News - S pring Home & G arden



brand-new book,” Baldwin said. “Just wait until you see the photos! Luscious.” In the meantime, if you’re new to succulents or would like to refresh your knowledge, Baldwin’s “Succulents Simplified” gives a good overview of the plants’ care and uses, as well as her top 100 favorite succulents — all of which thrive in North County gardens. While these plants may like it dry, Baldwin’s writing style is anything but. “My goal is to share words and images that are as entertaining as they are enlightening,” she said. Not one to let grass grow under her feet (pun intended), she’s continually writing articles, updating her website, and creating videos

Colorful succulents include variegated Aeoniums (upper right), Crassula ‘Calico Kitten’ (lower left) and Crassula ‘Campfire’. From Debra Lee Baldwin’s book “Succulents Simplified.” Photo by Debra Lee Baldwin

dedicated to succulent varieties, cultivation and design. “I’m primarily a communicator, and I believe the most efficient (certainly the most popular) way

to convey information is by video,” she said. Evidently the public agrees — her YouTube channel has had more than 2 million views. Baldwin also recommends books by long-time

succulent expert and designer Jeff Moore, available at his nursery, Solana Succulents, in Solana Beach. Learn more about succulents and Baldwin at debraleebaldwin.com.

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MARCH 24, 2017

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