Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The joys of modern technology. Just when you want everything to run smoothly for a couple of weeks it all goes bonkers. Part of the phone system is misbehaving and after several engineer visits and replacement bits, the blame moves from the phone system to an erratic power supply upsetting the system. This means buying a special bit of kit to even out the supply and cover any power drop outs which naturally isn’t cheap. So onto the internet to source the kit and order it up for next day delivery so we can install it ready for my Mum to use when she is in the house next week. Ordered a special power cable to connect it all together and what happens, the cable arrives but without the unit! Good job I paid extra for quick delivery. I’m not even convinced myself that it will solve the issue but what do I know.

Project Colditz continues apace, with wire netting and traps all over the place trying to reduce the pest population. We have secured the site from incoming rabbits unless they start sneaking in on the back of the lorries, we just need to catch the resident set to relocate them elsewhere. Carrot is the current bait of choice but we are open to other suggestions if anyone knows any better attractants. Just the one rabbit so far, but plenty of mice lured to an early meeting with their maker. The anti pigeon wiring at the tunnel ends looks good and that should be finished over the next week or two if all goes well.

The lean management training is gradually bearing fruit as we get together and spot things to improve around the nursery. Had a good go at despatch this week and made some useful tweaks here and there to make things run more smoothly with less waste and more efficiency. Hopefully by the spring we will have had a close look at lots of areas and completed our improvements to get things moving more smoothly. We already have a long list of jobs to do, some quite big and some tiddlers. We took a saw to the despatch work benches this week removing an annoying little design flaw that gave us all a couple of extra inches to work in, which doesn’t sound much but when you process thousands of boxes of plants it all adds up. The nice thing was it only took a few minutes once the issue was identified to get it done. If only all the solutions were that simple.

Sustainability promo

Just put the propagation heating on for the winter which always hurts. Heating oil has got so expensive. We have just reinsulated the tunnel, getting all the bubble plastic and seals repositioned. It is a double glazed tunnel with a little fan inflating the space between the sheets which works well until you get a major leak which we found and repaired this week. We have also readjusted the pipe temperatures and mixing valves to further reduce any heat waste and now just need to get a bit more pipe insulation to keep all the heat inside until it is really needed. It is only on frost protection at the moment but it is always a tricky balance with plants and heat conservation. To keep the humidity from getting out of control we have to compensate for the heat retention and sealed environment by forcing some ventilation through from time to time when the weather allows. Running a fan periodically to ventilate at quite low temperatures in the winter seems odd but it does pay dividends.

Insulate, insulate, insulate.

Ok, office temperature has dropped below 10C time, to go.

Things to do, pubs to visit, so no burblage next week, so hang onto this if you might want some plants the following week. If you need a fax list please let us know, pick it up from the website or alternately send an email address.

Have a good week, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries