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UK: Getting the glasshouses ready for planting

Mid-November through to December, signals the autumn turnaround; the annual glasshouse cleaning and the time to start planting next season's pepper crops at Tangmere Airfield Nurseries.

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 they have finished at Tangmere, they 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.

Recycling and reducing waste
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. Then a point in the turnaround process is reached where they 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, the team considers what further opportunities there are to reduce waste and to improve the way they manage production from beginning to end. To help with this, they use the results of trials to decide which varieties and products to carry forward. Every pepper they grow has first been trialled in a special research glasshouse.

Young plants start at 30cm and grow up to 3 metres, so strings are needed to provide support. Following extensive trials, they 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.

You can watch the behind-the-scenes video here to see how Tangmere prepares the glasshouses for the new growing season.

For more information:
Tangmere Airfield Nurseries
The Old Airfield
City Fields Way
West Sussex PO20 2FT
Tel: +44 (0) 1243 533696
Fax: +44 (0) 1243 753210
Sales: +44 (0)1243 753220

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