The spectacular weather this summer has helped to produce a bumper crop of scented pinks. However the outside team have not only been busy picking and tending to this year’s crop, thoughts have already started moving towards the plans for next year.
The soil we have on the islands is very poor, in fact Ben describes it as no more than dirty sand. Therefore we have traditionally used peat bags for growing our scented pinks. However Ben has been on the lookout for an alternative to using this method for some time as peat is not a renewable source. An alternative has presented itself in the form of eco- friendly coir fibre tubs. The coir has ecological benefits as well as increasing efficiency on the farm by reducing the man hours needed for the preparation of the pinks season.
Coir is a natural fibre taken from the husk of coconuts. As well as being free from bacteria and fungal spores, the coir fibre can be ploughed into the soil used for growing narcissi once the pinks season has ended. The tubs that the coir comes in can also be reused, reducing the waste the farm produces in comparison to the plastic bags that are left over from the peat.
Our outdoor manager Jon began experimenting with growing the pinks in the coir tubs last year and just to check it wasn’t beginners luck, continued the experiment this year. The results have once again been very successful. Ben is now planning on rolling out this method of planting across the whole of next year’s crop.