The narcissi bulbs are lifted from the ground every four years. Usually this involves waiting for a warm and dry spell of weather and a panicked flurry of activity before the rain comes in. However this summer we have been spoilt for choice with the long spells of settled sunshine. This combined with our new farm machinery has made the bulb harvesting process the most efficient yet.
Our new bulb lifter lifts the bulbs from the ground two rows at a time. Previously we were only able to lift the bulbs one row at a time, meaning the time it takes to complete this job across all of the fields has been halved.
Once the bulbs have been lifted, they then need to be picked up from the ground. We now have a new bulb harvester to help complete this task. This involves two tractors driving side by side, one of the tractors picks the bulbs up and the harvester then shoots the bulbs into a wooden crate carried by the second tractor. The new harvester has been the biggest improvement in farm efficiency. In the past the only way we could pick the bulbs was by hand. This involved a team of people heading to the fields to spend hours picking up bulbs into buckets, returning with very dusty faces!
Finally the bulbs are cleaned, sorted and bagged in nets. Our new machine combines all three of these jobs in one. Watching the outdoor team at work on this machine is quite a sight to be seen!
If we didn’t lift the bulbs every four years (at least) this would lead to them splitting. Although this would result in an increase in the narcissi yield, the quality of the narcissi would decrease. Along with this problem, there is also the danger that the bulbs would harvest pests and diseases. We have always been dedicated to growing the best quality scented narcissi, however we can now carry out the processes involved with greater speed and efficiency.