By some minor miracle, we are very pleased to report that our polytunnels on the farm have survived what was probably the worst winter on record for storms. And now that spring has sprung, we’re turning some of our attention to getting ready for summer.
Not only do paint sales on Scilly go through the roof as everyone spruces up their holiday lets, but here on Churchtown Farm, it’s also a time for us to strip out old scented pinks and plant some new younglings. This year, we have made a major investment in our pinks by replacing our current polythene-wrapped peat-based grow bags over with Coir filled tubs. We’ll complete this over the next two or three seasons. Being a non-renewable source, we have wanted to move away from using peat as well as reduce our plastic wastage, and Coir has proven to be a great environmentally-friendly alternative. It’s lighter and less carbon hungry and, of course, we can re-use the tubs year on year, helping us to reduce the amount of plastic waste on the farm at the end of each 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.
Last week our farm team was busy breaking up the coir bales and filling the new tubs. Once watered, the coir is soft enough and light enough for the “plug plants” (which have already been seeded for us) to be potted easily. That process will kick off in the next couple of weeks and then, before we know it, Mother’s Day and Easter will have been and gone; the narcissi season will be over, and we’ll be out there picking pinks.