How we grow our plants

Ever wondered how your plants are grown? Here we take you behind the scenes, at our nursery based in Jersey, so you can see how your plants are grown...

Sowing

This is the first instalment of our behind the scenes...

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1. Seed Arrival

The container in this image holds approximately 2 million seeds. On arrival, the seeds are checked and logged then stored in a secure temperature controlled environment until we are ready to start sowing.

2. The Hopper

When sowing starts, the seeds are placed into the hopper which vibrates to ensure the seed is evenly mixed. Next, the seed is placed on the seeding plate a vacuum behind the seed plate holds it in place.

3. Seed Plate

We have different sized seed plates for different sized seeds. Here you can see the seed in place on the seed plate, each tiny hole uses suction to hold a single seed. These small green seeds are geraniums.

4. Shredding Compost

All our compost is delivered tightly compressed in large bales. We break the bales into manageable chunks and these are added to the shredding machine.

5. Tray Filling

The compost needs to be finely shredded before the seeds can be sown. To sow, the plant trays roll through the conveyor and when they arrive at the correct point are evenly filled with the shredded compost.

6. Dibbling Unit

When the dibbling unit is in the correct position over the plant tray it is then lowered down to the tray and makes a small impression on the shredded compost in the centre of each cell of the plant tray.

7. Seed Sowing

The Hopper that has evenly distributed the seeds and ensured their correct position on the seed plate is then manoeuvred into place to deposit a single seed in every cell of the tray, which you can see here.

8. Vermiculite

The final stage of seed sowing is to add a fine layer of vermiculite over the top surface. This layer helps hold the seeds in place and also keeps the humidity high as vermiculite is able to retain water.

 

Germination

This is the second instalment of our behind the scenes...

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1. Germination Preparation

Once the vermiculite has been added, the trays are moved on benches to the glasshouse. The high humidity in this section assists in the breaking down of the seed dormancy.

2. Fogging the seed trays

Here you can see the fogging in progress. The fine spray combined with the high temperature provides the perfect environment for the seeds to germinate.

3. Germination

It takes between 3 and 10 days of careful nurturing (depending on variety) in the fogging section for the seed to reach this stage. Getting this part exactly right is essential to the quality of the plant and its eventual performance so great care is taken in the control of this particular environment.

4. Final stage of Germination

Once the seeds have germinated and are at the stage shown they are moved into the gapping section of the glasshouse, fogging is no longer carried out in this section. 

 

Nursery Gapping

This is the third instalment of our behind the scenes...

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1. A healthy plant in every cell

When the plants are between 2 to 4 weeks old, we carry out the gapping procedure. Each tray is meticulously checked by staff to ensure that there is a healthy plant in each cell.

2. Recycled Tooling

If a cell is empty or the plant does not look healthy it is removed. We use a small piece of plastic with a central grove to remove the unseeded plant. The tool is one that we have adapted and made ourselves, recycled from old guttering.

3. Filling the gaps...'Gapping'

Here you can see a healthy specimen being replaced into an empty cell. This is what we call 'gapping'. As you can imagine this is a job that needs steady hands and good eyesight.

4. Quality & Value for money

Although this is a time-consuming procedure it is an important part of our quality control and allows us to guarantee more plants giving great value for money. The end result ensures that all our trays contain a healthy plant in each cell.


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