Sustainability

Over the past 10 years Growing Spectrum has made a concerted effort to move toward environmental sustainability. Significant attention has been given to the following areas:

Pest control

Recognizing that man-made chemicals can have severe side effects on our environment we have implemented an integrated pest management system. Our goal is to maintain a natural balance of pest populations, not total eradication with harsh chemicals, which eliminates both good and bad predators.

All production team members have completed the Growsafe course to Approved Handler stage and all despatch team members have been taught to recognise common pests and diseases. We have found this early detection of a problem can minimise the spray required.

A regular Trichoderma spray programme has been in place for 4 years. This uses naturally occurring fungi that are antagonistic to bad fungi while improving the health of the plant.

For insect control we have had great success using predatory mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis) on susceptible crops. In conjunction with these beneficial mites ‘soft’ sprays, such as oils and Delfin are proving effective in maintaining our natural balance.

With concerns for the health of our staff, safer options are continually being explored.

We are fanatical about full safety equipment being worn by staff applying spray. Harder chemicals are used as a last resort and then only for spot spraying of problem areas.

Herbicide usage

Herbicide usage is kept to a minimum. The nursery employs dedicated weeders whose priority is to remove weeds before they set seeds. This keeps the weed problem in the container area at a minimal level.

In the field mulching is used between rows to minimise weed growth and hand weeding is carried out on a regular basis by the production team.

Waste management

We are constantly looking at options for the management of waste in the nursery. All plastic pots that are damaged or of poor quality are returned to the manufacturers for recycling into new pots.

We are also trialling biodegradable pots, made from coir fibre and peat in our growing on line areas.

Waste potting media and green waste is removed from the site for use on agricultural land as it is deemed to be too depleted of goodness for reuse in our production.

As in any nursery there is some wastage with unsold product. Our quality control measures at each stage and increased forward indenting of crops means minimal unsaleable end of lines. Excess plants are donated annually to community groups and charities for fundraising.

Water Management

Water usage is constantly monitored as the nursery is on town supply water. In the short term we will be looking at implementing a water recycling plant to catch and recycle our run off water to reduce costs.