Mid-November through to December, signals the autumn turnaround; our annual glasshouse cleaning and the time to start planting next season's pepper crops.
With the last of the British peppers picked, you might expect a lull, a time to go away on holiday maybe, but no, the reality is as soon as we have finished, we are busy again, getting ready for the new growing season.
The nursery becomes a hive of activity with all of the glasshouses being emptied then cleaned rigorously. The team effort needed to manage this operation, followed by the planting of 825,000 new pepper plants in an area which covers nearly 75 acres (60 football pitches) is immense. We are so grateful to our hardworking team and thank everyone for the role they play in making it all come together!
As the old crop is cleared away, it’s chopped up for composting and collected by local farmers who use it to enrich their soil. We then reach a point in our turnaround process where we have the exciting feeling of a ‘blank canvas’. The glasshouses are clean and ready to plant, and it’s time to implement new plans.
Each year, we’ll consider what further opportunities there are to reduce waste and to improve the way we manage our production from beginning to end. To help with this, we use the results of our trials to decide which varieties and products to carry forward. You may be surprised to know that every pepper we grow has first been trialled in our special research glasshouse.
Young plants start at 30cm and grow up to 3 metres, so strings are needed to provide support. Following extensive trials, we have made the decision to switch from using traditional plastic clips and twine to biodegradable alternatives that will support our entire pepper crop.
These new plants will be nurtured through the winter months, so you can enjoy UK-grown peppers from spring 2019.
You can watch our behind-the-scenes video here to see how we prepare the glasshouses for the new growing season.