Monday, 11 December 2017

Hairy Wafting

Morning all,
Time is flying by and all those winter office jobs I’m sure I’ll get through are piling up. I will have to make some more lists so I can tick some off, that’s yet another job created. Distractions from risk assessment reviews and written bio-security summaries this week included fixing a replacement cover over the heated microprop weaning tunnel, replacing a rotten tunnel side rail, digging more drainage channels, attending an update session on vine weevil control methods and recent peat-free compost developments and repairing a faulty grow light to get the whole prop tunnel fully illuminated (it’s like Christmas in there). Monday was mild and still so we grabbed our window of opportunity by whipping off the damaged old tunnel cover from the heated prop tunnel. It’s a heat saving twin-skinned design with both skins attached to the structure together, but loosely, so that they can be held blown apart by a little fan pushing air between them. That sounds simple enough but you try pulling a new sheet over a slightly damp existing one on a 45m x 8m tunnel. Having released both sheets to get the old one off we sensibly tacked the inner sheet in position so it wouldn’t move while we pulled over the new one. Then we spent a very frustrating and exhausting couple of hours wafting and pulling to get the top sheet in dragged over and into position as they constantly stuck together with slight dampness between the sheets. It was one of those occasions when once you started you had to finish no matter how much you wanted to give up, the very valuable crop underneath would suffer badly if not successfully recovered. We got there in the end only to realise that a couple of the tacks that held the underneath sheet had come out and that had shifted over about 6 inches. Not a lot but that sheet was already cut to the perfect size so needed to go back in exactly the same position as it was before. Back to mega wafting and a lot of huffing and puffing (we’ll forget the effing and blinding) and despite my worst fears of not getting it fixed before dark it all suddenly came together and all was well. Looking back it was really good exercise, I ached for days after, I obviously haven’t done much wafting recently.
Postman has just been and delivered some exciting new label samples. We are still on the lookout for even more sustainable bits and bobs for the nursery and the colour labels are still an area we would love to improve on. At the moment they are made of 100% recycled plastic and recyclable themselves but now we have a couple of new materials to test out, one is a plastic made from plant ethanol which unfortunately isn’t very biodegradable but is still recyclable and the other is card based with a bio-coating which is all completely biodegradable. The trouble with the biodegradable one could be that it disappears too fast, although the fact that ours are threaded onto a skewer and so not in full contact with the compost might make them work. I’ve cut them up to fit the skewers and they are now outside stuck in some plants starting their initial practical testing. I’ve tried a sheet running through our label printer and that went perfectly so we could also print our own labels for the short production runs we sometimes produce. Now we just have to wait and see.

Winter delivery minimum orders
For the rest of the year and until sometime in February we are able to drop the minimum order quantity generally to 15 trays and possibly, at a push, to 12 trays if you are very local to Winchester. The range available will obviously slip away as most lines go into dormancy but we have a few lines to provide a bit of winter interest and colour, should you be looking for some hairy input.

Availability highlights
Autumn and winter flowering Cyclamen are looking great. The Cyclamen coum Cyberia series flower from now until April, showing short and dainty flowers and bud. There are still plenty of flowers on the remaining silver leaved autumn/winter flowering hederifolium types too. The Helleborus range is ready to roll as winter approaches, no bud yet but nice plants. We have a few of the old fashioned hardy Primula Wanda in bud and flower. We haven’t grow this one for donkeys years but thought we’d give it a run out as our winter sales are steadily building and it’s nice to add another bit of colour. The Euphorbias are looking good as well, they will retain a good show of foliage through the winter months before bursting  into flower in early spring. Despite the bitter temperatures of last week the Erysimum Bowles Mauve is still in bud and showing splashed of colour. Another evergreen spring flowerer currently looking smart are the Bergenias in three varieties. Bright variegated leaves of the short tufted grass Carex Evergold are looking very neat and smart.

Wooden box returns
We have collected the majority of our wooden boxes up now but please do drop us a line if you would like us to pop in and collect any more up. We aren’t about quite as much now but you will be in our thoughts and on the list. Thanks.

Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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