Monday, 24 October 2016

Hairy mumurings

Morning all,

Things are quietening down now on the sales front as much of the stock starts to go into hibernation, but the jobs on the nursery just keep on rolling out. We have had a hectic couple of weeks with loads of exciting projects getting underway. Deliveries have started to arrive with materials accumulating to get going on all the new winter tasks. The bank manager looks like being helpful so we have plunged into a fair bit of site investment. No real single big job but several smaller developments which have been waiting in the wings for a while.
The new roof structure to erect over the rather leaky lab and growth room is already more than halfway to being completed. A giant jigsaw, the guide being an A4 diagram with part numbers shown for instruction and with none of the parts labelled, it has taken a bit longer than I planned! A couple of parts were missing which hasn’t helped and the cover is not big enough but we’ll get there. The main structure is up, square and solid with not too many bits left over, just the fine tweaking, cleaning and cover to go on, so good job done there.
A few tunnel sides had rotted away over the years and the covers were only just hanging on, so a couple of us have been removing the old timber and replacing with new while the covers are still in place. It’s a tricky job but with one tunnel complete and another well on the way the results are very impressive, nice tight covers and the net sides neater than they were before we started.
The first batch of LED lights for the growth room arrived last week and I’ve used the weekend while the lab is empty, to get started and fit a few. With 120 units to fit I should have the first 18 up by this evening. It’s nearly as frustrating as those plug and play computers that don’t. The units are really neat, easy to hang and plug in, but taking down the old units, changing the shelf support structures and all the wiring to make them fit is monstrously time consuming. Good job it’s my cheap labour doing most of the work. Everything is on tight shelving and there is loads of unscrewing and refitting of bits that are just out of reach or on the borderline. It’s a good job there is no CCTV recording the colourful dialogue in there as yet another nut slips from my fingertips and drops down the back never to be seen again. The first bank is lit and looks great, there’s loads more working height on the shelves and 65%+ less electric used, so well worth it in the end.
We had two new company’s visit us with regards to our wind turbine maintenance, as our original installers are no more. One used an ultrasonic tester to check all our foundation bolts, just in case, and found all ok which was reassuring for the insurers and the new servicing company who came this week for the annual check and greasing. Natural Energy are the new team and they have certainly made a good impression so far. Very detailed reports, reduced the slight blade whistle on the one slightly noisier turbine (if you get up close) and no extra costs on top of the quoted rate which was very competitive.
On the birding front we have been graced with an expanding starling roost in our wind break this autumn. What started as 50 or 60 is now several hundred and if the weather is right we get a nice little murmuration in the late afternoon. They create quite a racket as they settle down for the night, a raucous alternative to the summer chatter of the house martins and swallows but evocative none the less. 16 Wood Sandpipers last weekend but had to rough it on Tresco for that one.
Availability highlights
We have a few winter performers still on offer and if anyone would like to make up a smaller order we will do our best to get it to you asap. Ideally a 15 tray minimum is best but we could stretch to 12 trays if you are fairly local or we are passing by. Still a few Asters looking great with bud and colour showing. We have several new varieties, many mildew free/resistant (ageratoides and frikartii types). The large intensely purple flowered but compact Purple Dome and the taller strong growing deep pink Andenken an Alma Pötschke are both carrying masses of bud just beginning to burst open. The little hardy Cyclamen coum are just getting started now, with a few flowers open and loads of bud to come. This range flowers from now until April, a real winter star.
The Hellebores coming on well and a few are ready to roll. We have a great new range of orientalis with several colours and forms (singles, doubles and spotted). They should be flowering from their first winter, in fact we have already spotted the occasional bud, so hopeful of some good sales there, They are certainly looking strong at the moment. There is a very pretty fresh crop of Tiarella in flower at the moment, should look good for a few weeks yet. Lamium and Ajuga are have attractive fairly evergreen foliage and can look good through the cooler months.
Wooden box collections
We have been collected up lots of wooden trays in recent weeks before things get too damp and cold, so if you have any needing collection just drop us an email and we will add you to the list of destinations.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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