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The Kit

Dot Appleby –
April 27, 2023


After we had put the smother in place to clear the ground we turned our attention to the growing. To be environmentally friendly here is complicated. There are compromises to be made between our ethical ideals and the tight budget.

We are entirely peat-free, but we simply don’t have the capacity to make all our compost in-house, so we buy some compost in.

We try to use council-recycled waste schemes and local horse manure to save money whilst trying to reuse waste products. Here we have to think carefully about what we are bringing onto our site, there have been cases of nasty chemicals hanging around in municipal waste for years and infecting land that it’s used on. There have also been issues highlighted recently surrounding what is fed to horses and therefore passes through them. Nice thought, I know. It’s always a balancing act.

When it comes to propagation, we do use black plastic pots and trays, but have endeavoured to go for the 10-year life plastics to reduce our waste and we are trialling the use of soil blockers. Some have worked better than others, there’s nothing more frustrating than a flimsy module tray that only lasts a season.
In the polytunnel we don’t have any heat, indeed the field itself has no electricity. We have to settle for a natural pace of germination and progression. We really struggled with the autumn sown annuals from 2022, in a consistent period of minus 10 Celsius we lost thousands of seedlings. I’m still undecided about what to do with the autumn showings this year. Believe it or not though, our main issue is usually that it’s too hot in the tunnel, we do have ventilation but it’s amazing how much warmer it is in there throughout the high summer. It is necessary to irrigate in the tunnel during this time and we have invested in ground drip irrigation. This is the most efficient way to irrigate, delivering the water directly to the roots of the plants and therefore it’s the least wasteful method we could find.

Our 30m commercial tunnel has a huge roof surface area, as such, the rain runoff is substantial and we have recently managed to add a guttering and water collection system to catch and store the precious rainfall. This is a wonderful new addition to the site and I’m sure it will soon be worth its weight in gold. It’s easy to forget the droughts of last summer when you’re in the middle of a spring downpour! See our guttering blog guide for more details.

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Field 216 FAQs

Anyone! Just ask for what you need and i’ll see if I can help!

They are all different. It depends on what you want, how many and when? If they are not displayed in the shop then please ask and I’ll always help if I can.

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We don’t use anything nasty, no herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals but we are not accredited as ‘organic’

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