Sustainable Agriculture in Action
We recycle pots: We wash, sanitize and reuse unbroken pots and containers. They must be sanitized for healthy plants. We have to throw away broken containers and are not allowed to use pots with other brand names.
We are big believers in beneficial insects. We rarely spray chemicals, and when we do, it is something mild like insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. We’re delighted that mainstream agriculture is adopting practices we’ve always believed in. Organic methods require that we pay close attention to what’s going on with our plants, but we believe it is well worth the effort.
Hoverfly larvae attacking aphids on a pepper leaf.
We use natural fertilizers. We have always used composted manure in our gardens, but using it in container plants can be tricky inside greenhouses. Fish emulsion works but the potted plants may have an odor. We are happy to have found Daniels Plant Food, a natural seed extract that in many ways works even better than chemical fertilizer.
We minimize our use of fossil fuels. We use wood pellets for our primary heat source. Our greenhouse pellet stoves are a compact, portable commercial model made in the U.S.A. We have found them rugged and reliable.
We cool with natural ventilation. Greenhouses build up a lot of heat on sunny days. Without ventilation, the plants (and people) would cook! Our roof vents were expensive to install, but they use minimal electricity compared to exhaust fans, and they are much quieter. We believe the plants prefer natural ventilation, too.
Our watering methods reduce waste and runoff. Our water is very pure. Our greenhouses use the same water as our home. The source is a nine-foot dug well, which is why we don’t grow mums—a very thirsty crop during the late summer—the droughty season. Our watering methods—mats under the potted plants, dripper lines into the hanging baskets—conserve water.