Well that’s the annual hols out of the way for another year, St Ives lived up to all expectations again, great seas, plenty of fresh air and few light meals. Set a few new records, Caroline found her first Mesolithic flint on the coast path, spotted the first Dalmation Pelican seen in the UK (been here since May and has an 11ft wingspan so difficult to miss if you are in the right place!) and managed 2 weeks with only breakfast eaten in. Now carrying a substantial energy store for the winter ready to fuel all those winter projects. Hoping that the scales read just now I have trimmed my nails.
Back on the nursery we are catching up with all the progress made during our absence, lots of construction/maintenance jobs have been done or started and things are looking good, we should go away more often. The replacement lab store has arrived and is nearly all treated in advance of its construction and the old cold store is stripped out ready for demolition. Hoping to salvage a bit of timber for the wood burner and bag up some of the fibreglass insulation to reuse around the new cold room as we progress, to reuse some of the waste. Looking forward to getting this one up, the excellent insulation levels and small internal cold room should be way more efficient than the old one and the extra storage space in the other end will give more production space in the growth room which will be a huge help in the peak season. We only use the cold-store in the colder 6 months, which might sound daft but that’s how it works in the microprop lab production cycle, so we are attempting to make it convertible to use as an extra growth/rooting room for the rest of the year which again will be a useful change and more efficient use of the facilities.
While we were away an interesting and potentially devastating change to business rating policy came to light. A change in interpretation of some very old definitions of what qualifies as an agricultural business/building means that anyone producing young plants for sale before ‘maturity’ or not in a finished state, could be subject to rates on their whole covered production area. That applies to glasshouses and similar buildings, so for young plant producers in the UK that could make them instantly uncompetitive with most imports in a major way. We had a NBIS meeting last week (in Cornwall luckily) where it became very apparent how serious this was in a business where margins are already being squeezed very tight. The loss of young plant producers is the last thing we should be contemplating as the risk of importing foreign pest and diseases is ever increasing already and we should be encouraging more uk production not less. Horticulture has always been classed as part of agriculture in the past and the development of more efficient specialist young plant producers has benefited the whole industry immensely with introductions of new lines and keeping production costs down. We will be supporting the NFU in their efforts to get this new threat to UK production sorted, if you get the chance please do voice your support to keep us UK growers going.
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. The Hellebores are 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. 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.