We grow plants without any excessive heat and light.
The tunnels and greenhouses are only air heated to give frost protection to either very young or tender plants.
Reason – More environmentally friendly and it helps produce a stronger plant which results in a healthy and smooth transition to your home and garden.
Our propagation house is heated to a minimum. Air heaters are supplemented with under soil heat cables which gently warm the germinating seeds or rooting cuttings.
Only daylight. (WE DON’T USE ANY GROW LIGHTS)
Reason – Although sometimes it is tempting to use artificial lights to speed growth, greenhouse grow lamps are not always energy efficient or cost effective. We think it is better to just use the sun! Cloudy Norfolk days can sometimes be a problem during the short, dark days of Winter but we would prefer a longer growth time than wasting too much electricity. Not only this but plants are, again, generally much stronger grown without artificial lights and one can avoid the annoying problem of buying a plant with very ‘soft’ foliage which immediately collapses when reaching a more normal environment!
Update April 2022. The rise in the energy cap will hurt all of us. Here at Norfolk Herbs, our electricity bill is high as we do bottom heat rooting cuttings and seed germination. This is done in as efficient way we can and please note that we still don’t force….We don’t germinate Basil in February for example. We have had to put up prices inline with inflation but decided to start production that little bit later this season to save money and energy. Therefore, we havent put the increased energy prices onto the customer. The knock on effect is that plants are available a week or so later than normal but hopefully you can see this as being a positive. Yes, our competitors may get those early sales but I am sure they will be forced to do the same. Plant prices across the country will go up but try and source from small independent nurseries as these are the businesses that are the most affected. Most of these businesses also source plants locally and grow their own too!
Pest and Disease Control:
We grow as naturally as possible.
Reason- Certain artificial chemicals can upset the balance and harm the environment by leaching into the soil and waterways and entering the wildlife food chain. We have always been alarmed at how a previously ‘safe’ chemical for use on edible plants etc can be subsequently banned when a side effect is ‘suddenly’ discovered. So we use natural pest control methods. Sticky traps, biological predators, hand held vacuum cleaners and even a paint brush are our tools for insect pest control. Other nuisances, such as slugs and snails, are controlled by hand (night time torch patrols!) or by rehabilitating hedgehogs from the local R.S.P.C.A. hospital. Mice, shrews and voles can also be a problem – but owls and buzzards keep them away!
Plant diseases are prevented by using specialised watering techniques and providing a good fresh air flow around the growing plants. We believe that prevention is better than cure and we endeavour to provide our plants with the correct compost, feed and watering levels with containers large enough for a healthy root system. Most diseases etc exist naturally in the environment but a healthy plant should be more resistant to them. Given the proper care, a plant can thrive without the use of too many unpleasant artificial chemicals.
Plastics and the Environment
We are all very aware of the concerns with plastics, especially single use. We have always followed the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle regime. We do our very best to do what we can for the environment. We reuse all the plastics we have on the nursery so in the rare event, you receive bubble wrap, air bags or polystyrene in your box, this is becuase we are re-using packaging we have been sent. You will see that we use newspaper or shredded paper where we can. We have a commercial recycling bin for compost bags, cardboard and any other recyclable materials that we can’t reuse and they are collected for recycling. Old pots are re-used and then given to charity or community groups. However, although we do so much, we have to rely on what manufacturers can provide and at a sensible cost. We have already started using the new range of pots that can be recycled by roadside collections and we hope that all our pots will be like this soon. We have made so many enquires for compostable plastics but suppliers are not yet stocking what we need. WE are confident that they will be very soon! We also made enquires to make any packing material that our customers are not likely to reuse, out of compostable material. The costs were extreme but we are still asking the question. For now, we rely on packaging made out of recycled materials such as 100% recycled PET which is also fully recyclable
From 2019, we moved over to Peat Free compost and have been using it since.
If you would like any more information, we are very happy to provide it.