Friday, 6 January 2017

Hairy New Year to all

Morning all,
Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas break, fully refreshed and ready to roll in 2017.
I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear we had a great time, the usual huge Turkey (and nut roast) lunch with lots of family down on the farm and plenty of games to follow. Also squeezed in the annual friends and family hockey day (15 a side) a couple of days later, then all back for lunch and more games. Luckily a only simple chilli and baked potatoes to cater for. Nearly all the leftovers are gone now other than the vastly over portioned veg chilli which we have been eating up over the last three days, that’s a lot of beans! The last of it is now in the freezer for emergency use later when the wind eases off.
Managed to slip down to the nursery several times to press on with the new wooden insulated lab store. The cold room in, it was fitted on the Tuesday before Christmas but unfortunately they mistakenly installed a freezer unit rather than a chiller (-15C rather than +4C) so they are back in the new year to swap over. Meanwhile I have managed to refit most of the shelving and LED lights in it ready for the plants and even part filled it with stock to make some space in the growth room. Very pleased with the result so far. Quite excited that not only is the new store far more energy efficient, but more versatile too. When it is not in use as a cold-room in the winter months we can adjust the heating/cooling to use it as an extra growth room in the summer. In the winter the chiller unit deposits its waste heat into the rest of the store to save a little on the heating input. The rest of the store is temperature controlled so we can store a lot more of the agar media ready for micro- propagation which saves room in the main growth room and gives us the chance to weed out any contaminated agar should any contaminants start to grow in it before it is planted up.
We got the first phase of the new nursery drainage network laid before the break which should mean less tunnel flooding and a safer work environment now that the previous open ditch arrangements are all filled in. A slightly frustrating job as it was really hard work to put in and then we buried it all so not much to show for all that toil!
The new structure we erected over the lab work and growth room has worked a treat, no more leak complaints and everything is looking nice and dry. Another big job but at least we can see it, even if it doesn’t contribute a huge amount to the margins, something that just had to be done.
Managed to fit in the Christmas decoration installation late on Christmas eve. I’m afraid we don’t add much to the coffers of the local decor sellers, my homemade chains have been going for years and still plenty of life in them yet. Started on the beer a little too early, should have decorated first. In my rush climbing on and off the chair I dismounted slightly off balance and stepped onto the paper chain pile causing some major flattening of the decorative family heirloom, still it could have been worse I could have crushed me baubles.
Availability highlights
We have a few winter performers 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. Helleborus niger Advent Star is a very early flowering form and has plenty of flower and bud showing already, so don’t miss out on that one. We have a great new range of orientalis with several colours and forms (singles, doubles and spotted). We have already spotted the occasional bud, so hopeful of some good sales to come there, They are certainly looking strong at the moment.
The ever popular Erysimum Bowles Mauve are already in bud, it will be a while before the colour shows but the plants are strong, hardy and bushy. The other varieties look good too, but it should be a few weeks before bud appears on those. The Pulmonaria are coming one well with a little bud beginning to appear on a few. Blue Ensign is the most forward and the variegated Opal is looking smart.
Our own saved seed of local wild primrose from the farm wood are looking chunky and not far off flowering, the odd bud has opened already. Ajuga have attractive evergreen foliage and look good through the cooler months, we have a good range ready now. The other varieties we have listed are looking green and full of promise, many staying evergreen despite the cold. Although they may look sad for a while after a hard frost, they perk up again if left to recover in their own time. Ideally they benefit from a bit of protection from the harshest conditions to keep up the good looks, but try to avoid too much warmth. Wooden box collections
We have been collected up lots of wooden trays in recent weeks, 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 year and week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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