Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hairy Demolition

Morning all
January gone already and still not got all my jobs done. The days are filling up with quite a few orders going out and all the cutting back and plant tidying well under way. We managed to give our despatch area a spring clean, getting all the work stations back in there right place all kitted up with the right tools all ready to hand. I lashed out on a few new wheelbarrows to replace those beyond further repair, so hopefully no more ‘discussions’ over who pinched who’s and we can get back to ultra materials handling efficiency!
Big job this week was clearing the old mess room porta-cabin in preparation for the arrival of the new wooden cabin replacement. Unfortunately we were unable to avoid send quite a bit of the wreckage to landfill, it was in a dreadful state. We stripped out a load of the chunkier wood for the wood burner and the majority of the metal for the scrap man, all of the lighting and electrics was separated and broken down for suitable recycling/disposal, but the rest will end up in a hole.
The new building will be so much more sustainable, with virtually all of it being recyclable, reusable or used as a carbon neutral fuel. I am hoping it will outlast us anyway but at least the following generation will not have the waste disposal guilt that we have. The dismantling went really well, far less dirty and difficult than I had imagined. With us all kitted out in full PPE garb it probably looked a bit OTT but you never know with these things. After removing the windows the vertical metal legs, that in theory held everything up, simply pulled away from the structure with the smallest of wiggles. The gentle persuasion of a sledgehammer to remove the end walls was all that was needed for a very controlled folding of the remaining shell. Luckily I had checked the clearance for the fall, as option one looked ok, but actually could have ‘nicked’ the base of the despatch tunnel. A little push in the opposite direction ensured a gentle plop by the loos and all the excitement was over.
The new cabin is here and being treated before erection to ensure maximum life from those bits which we hope not to see again after construction. Just a bit more to treat later today and we should be ready to roll on the construction side. Just need a bit of time and the right weather. It does look massively complicated with so many pieces but the instructions look comprehensive and we have some very practical bodies on site so I’m sure it will be a breeze. Insulation levels look great with solid insulation board all round including 70mm between the twin walls and double glazing, so hoping for a cosy place for tea with a much lower energy input. The main plus point though will be a whole new level of comfort, hygiene and convenience for all the hard working crew who really deserve a little bit of luxury after a really challenging few years. You wouldn’t think it was too much to ask to be able to make a cup of coffee in a clean and comfy place these days, but to us I think it could be quite a big psychological step on the road to more positive outlook for plant production. We have many challenges still ahead of us with the Living Wage introduction adding a lot of pressure and the gambles we take on production levels with the vagaries of the weather etc, but it will be good to start the season on the front foot.

Availability highlights
Still early days yet, but there are a lot of early signs of plant activity, many not quite ready for the list but it won’t be long if the weather doesn’t take a dive. The relatively 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 will be more to follow.
The Tulips and Alliums are poking through nicely with roots bursting through the pot sides, if anyone needs a few bulbs, Fritillarias are nicely showing now, it will be a little while before buds show but looking full of promise.
Evergreen Liriope muscari looking verdant, definitely the best crop of these we have ever grown, always a tricky one to get leaf and roots both doing well at the same time! We have changed the production process completely and although a bit longer and more effort the results are really satisfying.

Minimum delivery reduction for the winter.
During the winter our range of available stock is limited by the lack of enthusiasm of a lot of stock to show their face in the cold, but we still have a few evergreen hardy sorts doing their thing and a few early season show offs too. 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.

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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