Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Hairy House

Morning all,

A taste of winter at last. Not quite as cold as expected over the last few days but still a bit of a shock after such a mild winter so far. Just about the right level for the plants to start with, a nice cooling to get them used to it rather than shocking them too much with monster changes. Having seen the forecast we succumbed and turned on the central heating on Friday, just a couple of radiators downstairs but what a difference. Just a bit anxious now that we will struggle to turn it off again especially with the lure of super cheap heating oil again, but just think of all that carbon released. Oh the torment of living with an environmental conscience. The electric consumption on the nursery has leapt with the turning up of the frost protection heaters in all our various shacks and heating the office and coffee shacks over the last few days. Probably something I wouldn’t have noticed 10 years ago before becoming a daily meter reading nerd. It is up by about 60 units a day which is about 25%, it looks a lot on my graphs but actually only costs between £3 or £7 a day depending on whether the turbines are generating or we are importing the power so it’s not going to break the bank. It’s also far cheaper than having to unfreeze or repair burst pipes.
Big decision made on Monday after many years of wishing we could replace the nursery mess-room porta-cabin. We have been hanging on until we could make enough money to justify our existence and the investment in such a decadent non-productive cost. However, a long series of replacement plastic sheet roofs, plywood patches on the floor and walls, slabs supporting the failing floor joists, corex boards filling in the broken window, door adjustments allowing closure in the shape-changing door frame and wide ranging collection of rare fungal colonies on various wall patches, forced our hand on Monday when we decided we can’t wait for those elusive good days we have to act now. Executive decision made, we have ordered up a very well insulated, double glazed, environmentally sympathetic eco structure, slightly smaller than the original but with a pitched roof (no more flat roof leaks) and ‘easy’ self construct design. Yes we have ordered a shed. It’s due in a couple of weeks, I’ll let you know how we get on. I can’t believe what a relief it is to see an end in sight for that porta-cabin, and not just for me. Bring on The Wendy House.
I set aside my Jive evening on Tuesday to attend a meeting organised by AHDB (used to be the HDC) to discuss the future direction of the organisation who take a big chuck of our turnover as a compulsory levy. I’m not really into this sort of thing, we are too small and industry politics have always been a bit of a turnoff, I struggle with the establishment element, I need to plough my own furrow. Anyway my main reason for attending was to bump into other nursery folk and having a bit of a social while eating bacon butties paid for out of my levy, I could slip away early and still get a jive session in, to round off the evening. There have been a series of these meetings held around the country to help push AHDB expenditure in the direction the levy payers needed, so quite important you would think. Unfortunately for central southern England I was the only representative for the entire horticultural sector, so not just ornamentals but fruit, veg, glasshouse, trees, landscape the lot. The rest of the audience were farmers from all sorts of sectors. Unfortunately I had been
identified as the only horticulturist present by AHDB representatives and any chance of an early exit were scuppered. If the AHDB research suddenly lurches into Wendy Houses you will know who to blame.

Minimum delivery reduction for the winter.
As the winter arrives our range falls away with the many deciduous varieties withdrawing into the relative warmth of the compost, but we still have a few evergreen hardy sorts doing their thing. I know it can be tricky putting together a minimum order of a full trolley (21 trays) at this time of year so if you fancy a few trays but can’t get to 21 we are happy to reduce the minimum to 12 trays for local drops and 15 trays for a bit further afield. Drop us a line and we will try and put together a few orders to make it work for everyone.

Availability highlights
Dainty flowered hardy Cyclamen coum are in colour/bud now, including the silvered leaved form too, They should flower from now until April. Not the face full of flower of the pot plant types, but a continuous classy show of hardy blooms. The mild winter, so far, has encouraged the Pulmonaria’s and Erysimums into bud and some are even showing some colour too. They are nice chunky plants with lots of potential and if the weather doesn’t go drastically cold there are more to follow. The Tulips and Alliums are poking through nicely with roots bursting through the pot sides, if anyone needs a few bulbs.

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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