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GRANADA HILLS GROWER MAY BE THE EXPERT ON BERRIES.

Byline: Joshua Siskin

Granada Hills resident Richard Mueller could be the king of Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.  strawberry growers. He recounts his success as follows:

``About 20 years ago, I bought about 20 plants of the Sequoia variety and have been propagating them ever since. I get varying amounts of berries all year round, from several berries to several boxes per day. This year, I separated and transplanted over 200 plants and gave away another 100.

``As for growing problems, I occasionally get aphids or mites, mildew, rotten fruit (even while they are still green), sow bugs, earwigs, slugs, snails and bird damage - not to mention the neighbor's cats digging up the garden.

``To control the aphids and mites, I make a contact spray out of dishwasher detergent, mixing 2 teaspoons per gallon of water. I also use snail pellets and diazanon granules Granules
Small packets of reactive chemicals stored within cells.

Mentioned in: Allergic Rhinitis, Allergies
. I put out bird netting when the birds become bothersome.

``I don't bother with any kind of mulch to keep the fruit off the ground. Instead, I make sure the fruit is either suspended in midair or growing on one or more strawberry leaves. I move the green fruit to better positions as I pick the ripe ones.

New plants in two months

``Before planting (actually, transplanting) in a new area, I spade to a depth of about 8 inches and mix homemade compost and steer manure into the soil. Then the plants are placed about 8 inches apart. Before planting, the new plants - which have been produced on runners of the older plants - are dug up and soaked in a mixture of Miracle-Gro and water. After transplanting, it takes about two months for fruit to appear on the new plants.

``I originally used the `square-foot' gardening method, but found that the middle of a 4-foot-by-4-foot garden was too difficult to reach. So I rearranged my garden into 3-foot-wide strips, about 20 feet long, that can be easily accessed from both sides.

``Once or twice a month, I spray on Miracle-Gro to keep the plants growing.''

The strawberry is classified as a false fruit. The edible part is, in reality, the highly developed tip of a flower stalk, known as the receptacle. The true fruits of the strawberry are achenes, those tiny raised specks on the surface of the fleshy fleshy (flesh´e)
1. pertaining to or resembling flesh.

2. characterized by abundant flesh.
, edible receptacle. Each achene achene (əkēn`), dry, simple, one-seeded fruit with the seed attached to the inner wall at only one point. Achenes are indehiscent, i.e., they do not split open at maturity.  contains a single seed. The strawberry shares its false-fruit categorization with the apple, the pear, the quince quince, shrub or small tree of the Asian genera Chaenomeles and Cydonia of the family Rosaceae (rose family). The common quince (Cydonia oblonga  and the loquat loquat (lō`kwŏt), small ornamental evergreen tree (Eriobotrya japonica) and its fruit. It belongs to the family Rosaceae (rose family) and is probably indigenous to China. , whose edible portions are also, in large part, receptacles. For a beautifully illustrated and down-to-earth explanation of plant anatomy, consult ``The Visual Dictionary of Plants,'' published by Dorling Kindersley.

The etymology etymology (ĕtĭmŏl`əjē), branch of linguistics that investigates the history, development, and origin of words. It was this study that chiefly revealed the regular relations of sounds in the Indo-European languages (as described  of ``strawberry'' is detailed by M. Grieve in her classic book, ``A Modern Herbal'' (Dover Publications). She rejects the accepted wisdom on how the strawberry got its name. ``The common idea that the word `strawberry' is derived from the habit of placing straw under the cultivated plants when the berries are ripening ripening

said of meat. See curing.
 is quite erroneous.

What's in a name?

The name is older than this custom and preserves the obsolete preterit pret·er·it or pret·er·ite  
adj.
Of, relating to, or being the verb tense that describes a past action or state.

n.
1. The verb form expressing or describing a past action or condition.

2.
 (verb tense) ``straw'' of the verb ``to strew strew  
tr.v. strewed, strewn or strewed, strew·ing, strews
1. To spread here and there; scatter: strewing flowers down the aisle.

2.
,'' referring to the tangle of vines with which the strawberry covers the ground.''

The strawberry plant has a number of unpublicized side benefits. Nicholas Culpepper, who catalogued the medicinal uses of plants 350 years ago, considered the strawberry ``singularly good for the healing of many ills.'' A tea made from its leaves will cure an upset stomach. These same leaves, according to Sir Francis Bacon, create `a most excellent smell' when they begin dying on the plant. The strawberry's red juice will supposedly remove dental discoloration dis·col·or·a·tion  
n.
1.
a. The act of discoloring.

b. The condition of being discolored.

2. A discolored spot, smudge, or area; a stain.

Noun 1.
 when left on the teeth for five minutes, and it will take away sunburn's sting when rubbed into the skin and left there for half an hour.

If you're driving to San Diego this summer, you might want to stop at Weidners' Gardens, a one-of-a-kind nursery in Encinitas, just east of the 405 Freeway. Evelyn Weidner is the first grower in California to introduce dwarf pot gingers, which have just been hybridized in Hawaii.

These gingers are not fragrant, but they bloom abundantly in July and August and are especially meant for the patio or balcony. Weidner sells several cultivars - with white, pink or orchid-colored flowers. These so-called ``Jungle Jewels'' (Globba winitii) have pendulous pendulous /pen·du·lous/ (-lus) hanging loosely; dependent.

pendulous

hanging loosely; dependent.


pendulous crop
see pendulous crop.
 flower clusters beneath handsome green and maroon leaves. The plant goes completely dormant during the winter, but comes back reliably from its tubers each spring. It also produces bulbils at the base of its inflorescences, which can be planted to increase your collection of ``Jungle Jewels.''

Weidner is also introducing a nonvining, compact Pandorea cultivar cultivar

Any variety of a plant, originating through cloning or hybridization (see clone, hybrid), known only in cultivation. In asexually propagated plants, a cultivar is a clone considered valuable enough to have its own name; in sexually propagated plants, a
 with pink flowers called ``Southern Belle.'' As long as it is protected from hot sun, ``Southern Belle'' will bloom from spring to fall in any bright or partial-sun locations.

Tip of the week: During the summer, a lawn requires at least five times more water than a bed of perennials. Cut wide swatches out of your lawn along the edges, where it meets house, driveway, sidewalk or street and convert these areas to perennial beds, if you want to save water and money in the months ahead.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 27, 1998
Words:860
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