Gardening Tips

From the Vineyard to your Backyard: Applying Lessons from Fetzer Wines’ Sustainable Practices At Home

What you can do at home:

• Create compost to feed your soil: Compost your grass clippings and leaves to supply the soil with a rich source of favorable bacteria and to help retain moisture in the garden.
• Use natural fertilizers like animal manure to provide plant nutrients and favorable bacteria. Manures are available from dairy farms, riding stables, poulty farms or your local gardening shop.
• Plant cover crops (Crimson Clover, Garden Pea, Alfalfa, Oats or Buckwheat) to revitalize the soil and suppress weed growth.
• Weed Control: Control garden weeds by cultivation with a hoe, shovel or rake. Garden mulches of peat moss, bark, sawdust, compost or straw are also used to help control weed growth.
• Repel pests naturally, with flowers: Plant marigolds, chrysanthemums, dahlias, or clematis vines in and around your garden. These aromatic flowers are natural bug repellents. Also nasturtium flowers act as a trap crop for aphids. Planting garlic and onions may help to ward off certain pests as well.
• Control insects naturally with helpful birds and good bugs: Birds, ladybugs, lacewings and spiders are the gardener’s best friends when it comes to insect control. Birds can be encouraged into the garden by feeding, hanging a birdhouse providing a bird bath or by planting plants with berries. An adult ladybug may consumer up to 50 “bad bugs” a day. Learn how to spot these “good bugs” and protect them by avoiding chemical pest sprays, and by providing habitat for them.
• Non toxic methods of pest control: If insects such as aphids or ants become problems and are not controlled by the beneficial bugs in your garden, then try spraying them with soapy water in a spray bottle, rather than using chemicals. If you have a problem with slugs, you can “bait” and trap them by putting beer in a small plastic container; slugs usually are attracted to beer more than your plants!
• Save and recycle seeds from existing vegetables or plants in your garden rather than buying dried seeds.