Sylvia Eaton said her vegetable garden did not produce much last year, so she sought advice to prevent a repeat of last year.
"I planted jalapenos, zucchini, squash and tomatoes," said Eaton, a legal secretary whose hobby is working in her backyard garden at her residence in northeast Clovis. "About the only thing that came up was the tomatoes. And I didn't have very many tomatoes."
Eaton said she picked up useful tips and pointers on gardening at a free gardening seminar Saturday morning at Clovis-Carver Public Library.
Guthals Nursery owner Charles Guthals held the annual meeting to share gardening information with citizens who strive to maintain healthy lawns and gardens.
Guthals discussed topics such as growing fruits and vegetables, trimming trees, combating insect problems and diseases that affect lawns and gardens.
More than 30 attended the seminar, which is in its ninth year. Guthals, dressed casually, spoke standing next to a table displaying raffle prizes — a watering pot and four plants of various sizes.
During a short break, visitors conversed about gardening and picked up free vegetable seed packets and copies of the 2013 Farmer's Almanac from a table at the rear of the room.
Eaton said she picked up sufficient knowledge from Guthals without asking one question.
"I got some good tips like to use the compost correctly," Eaton said. "Also to start (gardening) now by doing the preliminary things that need to be done. I'm going to start today.
"My garden is going to be pretty this year," Eaton said with an air of determination.
Eaton said she would start tilling the soil and pulling weeds from her garden, which is about 15 square feet. She plans to use Guthals' advice especially when planting tomatoes, jalapenos, squash and cucumbers.
Guthals stressed the importance of reading and understanding the effects of all chemicals used in fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. He advised visitors to treat gardens and lawns preventatively rather than curatively.
Guthals provided information on dealing with pests such as ants and grub worms that often harm gardens and lawns and talked about detecting and dealing with bug infestations early on.
"People were here because they have an interest in what they grow in their yard," said Guthals, whose nursery will hit its 69th year of business in May.
"It's (gaining knowledge in gardening) especially important now because of our water shortage. It's not just Clovis. It's the Southwest. We talked about the various aspects of using water wisely and planting plants that use less water."
Guthals pointed out that garden work can be done in the fall and the winter to prepare for the spring.